Act today to increase K-12 funding is Wisconsin

If you care about K-12 education in Wisconsin, it is time to act today. The State Joint Finance Committee meets tomorrow to vote on increases in K-12 funding. Governor Ever’s budget had strong support, and major increases were recommended by the bipartisan Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding. These potential increases would have a significant positive impact on small, rural school districts like Prairie Farm. Below is an email I sent to all members of the committee along with all their email addresses. Please feel free to copy, paste and voice your opinion.

Here are the emails of the committee members:

Sen.Darling@legis.wisconsin.gov; Rep.Nygren@legis.wisconsin.gov; Rep.Loudenbeck@legis.wisconsin.gov; Sen.Olsen@legis.wisconsin.gov; Sen.Tiffany@legis.wisconsin.gov; Sen.Marklein@legis.wi.gov; Sen.Stroebel@legis.wisconsin.gov; Sen.LeMahieu@legis.wisconsin.gov; Sen.Erpenbach@legis.wisconsin.gov; Sen.Johnson@legis.wisconsin.gov; Rep.Born@legis.wisconsin.gov; Rep.Rohrkaste@legis.wisconsin.gov; Rep.Katsma@legis.wisconsin.gov; Rep.Zimmerman@legis.wisconsin.gov; Rep.Taylor@legis.wisconsin.gov; Rep.Goyke@legis.wisconsin.gov

Here’s the letter I sent to the members of the Joint Finance Committee, feel free to copy and paste whatever works for you.

It has been my pleasure to participate in the future of our community as a member of the Prairie Farm School District Board of Education. As evidenced by our district voting to approve referendums, our community, as do many others in our great State support increased funding for K-12 education. As you prepare to vote on the K-12 education portion of the state budget, please consider the following:  

  • Please support at least a $200 per pupil revenue increase in each year of the biennium.  With the cost of inflation and the increasing challenges facing our schools, it is critical that schools in our state are able to at least maintain programming.  
  • Our schools need a substantial increase in special education funding.  In our district, over the past school year our special education population has increased by 19 students (19%). However, they were not present for the 3rd Friday count in September which leads us to provide services for 19 additional special education students based on funding which does not account for them. The increase in students and the trend of under funding special education for many years has caused our district alone to draw $454,922 from our general fund to cover special education costs in the past year. This as you can imagine has a significant impact on not only our special education students but also the general education population, staff and building operations.
  • Declining enrollment is also important to many schools regardless of size.  A five-year rolling average for declining enrollment would be much better then the current three-year rolling average and would have an impact for us.  
  • Additional school funding must be spendable.  While the complexity of the school funding formula has made it difficult for some constituents to fully understand Wisconsin school finance, people are catching on to the clever tactics of using the public’s support for funding schools to provide property reductions.  School levy credits and increases to general aid without a corresponding revenue limit increase do not provide any additional funding to schools for supporting the educational needs of children.  I understand the desire to hold the line on taxes; however, the funds that the public thinks are intended for schools should be provided to schools in a spendable manner.  Wisconsin taxpayers deserve the truth, and schools need sustainable funding from the state that can be spent on our children.  With the recent efforts to provide funding through state grants, the competitive grant process often promotes more red tape, greater inequity between school districts, and a less efficient use of our state’s limited resources.  New funding should be made available through the revenue limit formula and/or per-pupil aid adjustments so Wisconsin taxpayers can realize the greatest return on our state’s investment.      

Your upcoming votes on K-12 education funding are critically important to the future of our state, our schools and our children! 

Thank you for your consideration,

Ken Seguine
Prairie Farm, WI

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May Membership Meeting “Organizing to Win in 2020” May 22, 2019 at 6:30 PM – 8 PM Menomonie Public Library

Join us! At this meeting, we will discuss our 6-month plan for building an organized grassroots foundation in Dunn County to prepare for the 2020 elections. We will discuss the unique position Dunn County plays in the presidential election and the important roles for local volunteers to have an impact. John Calabrese will provide an update about the activities of Dunn County elected representatives in the Wisconsin legislature. We hope you can make it! Everyone is invited.

Calvin Christianson passed away on May 12

Long time Dunn County Democratic leader, Cal Christianson died in Menomonie on Sunday, May 12, 2019. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Olson Funeral Home and from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, both in Menomonie. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at the church. Burial will be at a later date at Mamre Cemetery, Menomonie.

A remembrance of Cal from Margaret Breisch

Cal could be depended on to help whenever asked.  He would drive long distances to pick up signs we had ordered.  He was the one we depended on most to find places to put up our large signs.  He would find places for signs and also arrange to have them put up.  He would volunteer at our offices.  As a member of the Dunn County Fair Board, he helped us get the best locations for our booths.   He helped us through the difficult transition of leadership after the 2016 election. Although he did not want to serve as chair, he did eventually agree to serve as a co-hair with Bob Salt. When Bob Salt resigned as a co-chair, he stepped aside to allow Dale Wiehoff become chair.  Cal was very willing to help when needed, but also knew it was important to let others grow in leadership roles.  I recall many times riding to conventions with Cal. He was always willing to drive. I never heard his say an unkind word about another. He was pleasant to be around.  He was a strong union supporter. He was always willing to serve. He will be missed.