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Maple Grove petition is ready

Maple Grove petition is ready Maple Grove petition is ready

Spokesperson says residents have collected sufficient signatures

Maple Grove School in Hamburg may soon be be one step closer in its attempt to secure a better future.

School defender Peter Fromm Wade expects town of Hamburg residents will soon file petitions, possibly still this week, to detach Maple Grove School from Merrill Area Public School (MAPS) and attach it to the Athens School District beginning in the 2021-22 school year.

The rural K-5 school, which started in 1904, has survived threats of closure for decades. MAPS is experiencing financial problems and wants to close Maple Grove School to save money. Athens School District would welcome the addition of more students.

Marathon County circuit court judge Michael Moran dismissed a Merrill school board complaint that Maple Grove School violated its public charter school contract, but the decision won’t guarantee the school’s future past the present school year.

Anna Story from Mueller Communications, the public relations firm representing Maple Grove School, said on Monday Maple Grove School supporters have collected signatures of property owners representing more than 75 percent of the property value in the school district. She said 50 percent is required to petition the state for a transfer to a new school district.

In 1952, Maple Grove School transferred out of the Athens School District into MAPS because it offered students the opportunity to attend high school. Maple Grove School is currently pursuing a transfer back to the Athens School District in a fight to stay open and continue to offer post-secondary education to its students.

Fromm Wade believes a $3.5 million Mabel and Walter Fromm scholarship fund, created from the family’s legendary fox farm and ginseng business, would transfer to the Athens School District. The scholarship has provided college dollars for graduates of Maple Grove School over the years.