WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: More Wisconsin public school teacher will be paid according to their performance
More Wisconsin public school teachers will be paid according to their performance this fall. That's the apparent result of a new statewide teacher evaluation system which takes effect in the coming school year -- plus the near-elimination of collective bargaining as the state's Act-10 begins its fourth year. Wauwatosa was among the school districts approving the move toward the type of performance incentives often seen in the private sector. The Journal Sentinel says compensation in the 'Tosa schools will now be based on the leadership roles teachers take, the levels of their professional development, and incentive bonuses. Also, the district is flattening its pay scale by giving larger pay raises to less-experienced teachers. Act-10 has caused school districts to be less reliant on previously-negotiated pay plans that are based on mainly on experience and years of service. A few months ago, it was reported that some teachers were getting higher salary offers to move to other districts -- something often seen among talented pros in the private sector.
They were not acting. The six people who claimed in a Walker T-V commercial that they got jobs during the Republican governor's term actually did so. That was after the Walker camp refused to identify the workers, and state Democratic Party chairman Mike Tate called it a "phony" ad while wondering if any the workers' stories were true. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said it tracked down all four men and two women in Walker's campaign ad -- and they indeed found jobs in the Milwaukee region. The individuals, their employers, and public records were all used to check them out. Jobs are one of the hot-button issues in the governor's race, as Walker touts the 100-thousand-plus jobs created in the past four years while his challenger Mary Burke cites Wisconsin's slower-than-normal job growth. The paper said the six workers filmed the commercial at an advertising agency in suburban Milwaukee. The Democratic Party's Tate says he won't apologize. He said he was glad the six people in question found jobs -- but thousands of Wisconsinites do not share similar success, including over a-thousand workers who lost their jobs in mass layoffs in the past month alone.
The Mega Millions' jackpot is the largest since March 18th. It's at 160-million dollars for tomorrow night, after nobody won the top prize on Friday night and nobody from Wisconsin claimed the one-million-dollar second prize. The jackpot is the largest since players in Maryland and Florida split a 400-million dollar Mega Millions' prize on March 18th. Tomorrow's cash option is 95-million dollars for a single winner who takes the whole prize now instead of in yearly installments. In Powerball, the top prize is at 60-million dollars for Wednesday night.
Wisconsin is on a pace to have record agricultural exports this year. According to state officials, companies exported one-point-nine billion dollars in farm-related products during the first half of this year. That's 17-percent more than the same time a year ago. Dairy derivatives and other dairy exports increased by 30-percent from the year before. Wisconsin had the nation's highest exports in bovine genetics, whey, processed sweet corn, ginseng, and mink fur skins. The state ranked second in the exporting of cheese and processed cranberries. Wisconsin ag products went to 128 countries in the first half of the year. Canada is the state's top customer, buying 934-million dollars worth of products -- 17-percent more than the previous year. Purchases from Mexico jumped 36-percent, to 160-million. China was the third highest, followed by Korea and Japan. Wisconsin ranks 12th in agricultural exports among the 50 states. Ag exports nationally rose 12-percent to around 88-billion dollars.
Southwest Airlines is investigating a possible mechanical issue on a plane that landed in Milwaukee yesterday. Flight 663 from Orlando landed as scheduled around 10:15 a-m at Mitchell International. Media reports said the crew declared an emergency, so the plane could be moved up on the landing order and hit the ground faster. One-hundred-27 passengers and five crew members were on board. The aircraft was supposed to go to Los Angeles after that, but another aircraft was brought in for that.
Traffic was backed up for three miles late yesterday on Interstate-90-94 at Wisconsin Dells, as folks were heading home from their weekend trips. The backup was caused by a two-vehicle crash. The State Patrol said a mini-van hit a car and then overturned about 5:20 p-m near the Highway 12 exit on the Interstate. One person was taken to a Baraboo hospital with injuries. The State Patrol also said a second crash occurred in the traffic that was backed up. No one was hurt there.
Clean-up crews are returning today to the Milwaukee County Safety Building, where a faulty water pipe broke during the weekend. Sheriff's deputies have been assigned to provide security during the clean-up -- and to protect files that have sensitive information for court cases. The work is expected to continue through tomorrow. A county employee first noticed flooding in the sheriff's department about seven o'clock Saturday morning. Officials said there was heavy damage to the carpet, ceiling, and computers in the deputies' roll-call room. The department's administrative offices were not affected -- and neither were the court staffing, traffic, and communications' areas.