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,
Prairie Farm, WI