We Are Not Alone #6

Another in a series on school finance and referenda in Wisconsin. Unless you believe that mismanagement is endemic to public schools, I think it should be pretty clear that the budget problems in MMSD are not the result of bad or no decision making by our Board and administration. They are the result of bad or no decsion making by our legislatures and governors.

This is a round up of news from Western Wisconsin

Referendums Everywhere

Spring elections are less than a week away and many school districts are depending on your vote to determine whether they get more money to run the schools. If you think there are only one or two referendums in this area, think again.

15 school districts around Western Wisconsin are seeking referendums come April 3rd. One of those districts includes the Independence School District which faces a $70,000 deficit and is asking for $800,000 for 4 years.

School administrator Dave Leahn says they’ve already cut $750,000 in the past year to make ends meet, but they can’t make anymore cuts so now they’re asking for money to keep the school going, “district administrators, reading specialist, learning disability teachers, to custodians, to secretaries.”

Leahn and other staff are worried more cuts will only diminish the quality of education. He says more cuts will mean eliminating a whole program or even grades since the small school only has one section of each grade or program. Leahn and many other school administrators blame the budget problems on the state’s revenue system where the money districts receive are largely based on enrollment numbers.

“If you’re receiving approximately $100,000 in revenue and your expenditures were $200,000, it’s going to catch up with you.

That’s why Leahn says we’re seeing so many referendums coming Tuesday. Independence faces an $800,000 referendum, Eau Claire will have a referendum, New Richmond is seeking more than $2 million, Thorp as well as Lake Holcombe and Barron Area School Districts are also seeking money.

The budget problems are not only in Western Wisconsin but all over the state. Countless numbers of districts across the state are also seeking referendums.

Thomas J. Mertz

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Filed under AMPS, Budget, Elections, Referenda, School Finance, We Are Not Alone

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