From Ruth Page Jones, Project ABC (Waukesha)
Thanks to those who wrote or called our Assembly representatives about the budget. Unfortunately, they didn’t listen. But we must continue to share our views with them.
Some of you received responses like this:
Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know your thoughts regarding this important issue. By way of information, the Assembly Republican budget expected to be passed today actually increases K-12 funding by $464 million dollars over the last budget. Rest assured, I will be certain to keep your support for even greater funding at the forefront of my considerations as budget deliberations continue.
Here’s what they really did. I have submitted this as a Guest Editorial to the Waukesha Freeman.
When the Assembly passed their budget this week, the Republican majority voted to short-change children in the classrooms of our public schools. Dept. of Administration analysis indicates Waukesha schools would endure an additional $2.6 million revenue loss, and the firing of 35.4 more teachers over the next two years. Elmbrook would suffer losses of $1.3 million, Muskego-Norway and New Berlin $.9 million, Kettle-Morraine $.8 million and Pewaukee $.4 million. Waukesha’s losses are in addition to the $3.5 million cuts made this spring and projected again for next spring.
In the Freeman on July 9, Rep Bill Kramer implies their plan will benefit schools:
“Although the proposal lists an $85 million cut in public education, Kramer said, the money is directed more at classroom initiatives and spends more than Doyle’s plan”. However —
-“directed at classroom initiatives” really means it takes money from students and classrooms.
-“spends more than Doyle’s plan” really means they put more state money into property tax relief, not classrooms. The Governor included $100 million in tax relief in his budget. The Republican budget adds another $100 million to the tax levy credit for taxpayers, while taking away $85
million from students and classrooms. The extra money going for tax relief lets them say ‘the state is spending more’.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that ‘more state spending’ means more money into education! When the Assembly politicians talk about ‘the state spending more’- they refer to who is paying, not what we are buying. This is only about the 2/3 formula and what percent of school spending is paid by the state and what percent is paid by homeowners.
This has no relationship whatsoever to school budgets. If a school budget is $100, there is zero effect in the classroom when the state/homeowner share of costs changes from $55/$45 to $66/$34. It’s when they reduce the $100, which is what the Assembly did, that you will see an effect in the classroom.
Their Assembly revenue limit increase is actually less than the Governor proposed (Assembly – $200 per pupil increase vs Governor – $264 per pupil increase). It forces more budget cuts because it increases the gap between state-dictated school revenue and state-mandated inflation costs. They also cut money in a special fund, not subject to revenue limits, that would have helped us.
If this budget actually passes, the school district will be cutting again before school starts, after we already cut the $3.5 million this spring and after teacher renewal contracts have been signed. Cuts needed for this fall would have to come from aides or non-teacher expenses. Teacher’s make up 85% of the budget – what is there to cut?
Simply put, with this Republican Assembly budget, schools get less, the state pays more, some homeowners get a little tax relief, and the politicians get to claim they ‘spent more money on schools’. It’s all about taxes and politics and nothing about supporting public schools.
These politicians are going to work hard to convince the public that their budget is good for schools. IT IS NOT!!! ” Their budget is a shell game of taxes and politics, at the expense of our children’s education.”
Make the case to properly fund schools to our elected officials, to your friends and neighbors, and on the editorial page of the local newspaper. Grassroots outrage on the immigration bill changed the outcome in Washington. Grassroots outrage is the only thing that can change this outcome. The future of Wisconsin depends upon it.
Advocates for a Strong School System in Waukesha
Project ABC, Advocating on Behalf of Children
Ruth Page Jones, President
PO Box 1994, Waukesha, WI 53187-1994
Posted by Thomas J. Mertz (Thanks to Deb Gurke, ABC Madison: ABCMadisonschools@yahoo.com)