Disagreement Over Merrill School Symbolizes Rural Elementary Closure Trend In Northwoods

Ben Meyer:

Charlee Krueger finds her backpack and coat, and her mother Renee scrapes ice from the windshield of their car.  By 7 a.m., they’re ready to go.

Charlee is a second grader at Maple Grove Elementary School in the Merrill Area Public School District.

She’s one of just 80 students enrolled in the far-flung school about 15 miles from the city.  She could be one of the final 80 to attend school there, as Merrill contemplates closing it before next year.

The Kruegers used to live on a farm in the country near Maple Grove.  They just moved closer to Merrill, but Charlee still takes a special bus every day to get to the rural school that’s more than just a school.

“If it was necessary, I would find a way to provide transportation to Maple Grove.  It’s that important to me,” Renee says.