Wisconsin’s public education community delivered a strong message to the Legislature, April 20, 2011: “Budgets are value judgments, and the Governor’s proposed budget doesn’t reflect the values of our state. It’s time to find a better way.”
The message was delivered to a large audience at a press conference in the Senate Parlor by a coalition of education groups, parent, student, and religious groups. While acknowledging the fiscal challenges Wisconsin faces, speakers said the budget should not be balanced on the backs of children. The group also presented a host of funding sources that could be used to finance education if the Governor and Legislator wanted to take a different path than the devastating cuts already proposed.
“There is a better way,” said Beth LaBell, a mom and community leader in the Paris School District. Exploring alternative revenue options will fill potholes created by our crumbling school funding system. Supporting the ability of local communities to raise school revenue through maintaining existing revenue limits will control further damage until comprehensive school funding reform can take place.”
For over a decade, the state's proportion of the cost of quality education has declined leading to staff lay-offs, larger class sizes, cuts in programs and services, and rising property taxes. As part of the last biennial budget, things actually got worse when, in an unprecedented move, state aid was cut.
Our school-funding system is in crisis, and that crisis is leading to less education in our schools and higher property taxes on our homes. It is time to say, "Enough is enough.”
The Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools (WAES) is asking you to sign a petition requesting the State to raise Wisconsin's sales tax by one penny. "A Penny for Kids" will put about $850 million a year toward saving programs and services in our schools and holding the line on property tax increases. It only makes sense.
You can be involved in this important effort by going to the "A Penny for Kids" website at http://www.apennyforkids.org and signing the petition to tell your elected officials you want them to do the right thing.
Several hundred people showed up in Madison, Tuesday, to deliver a message to state government loud and clear: Enough is enough. It’s time to change Wisconsin’s school-funding system.
People from all over the state came together for the 10th anniversary of the Walk on the Child’s Side, an event first held in June of 1999 to draw attention to the effects of the way the state funds public education. At the time, walkers left Butternut and covered the 240 miles to Madison to build support for funding reform.
Between 300 and 400 school board members, parents, students, and educators walked from the University of Wisconsin Library Mall to the State Street entrance to the Capitol for a brief rally. The highlight of the noon event was the appearance by a handful of legislators that resulted in an ovation from the crowd.
Members of the School Finance Network Testify at Hearing
SFN seeks to improve school funding and meet the needs of Wisconsin schools
WAES members from around the state joined with other participants in the School Finance Network (SFN) to put a reform plan in the hands of the Legislature at a hearing of the Assembly Education Committee on April 21, 2009.
Since the present system was put into law, people throughout the state — spearheaded by WAES — have pointed out how the formula limits the educational opportunities of children and jeopardizes the security of communities around the state. This hearing was an acknowledgement by the Legislature that there is a better way to fund education.
SFN’s reform plan, two years in the making, was rolled out around the state during 10 press conferences early in the month of February. The plan was put together to hold the line on property taxes, be accountable to taxpayers and students, and to link revenue to the needs of students and their schools. See press release.