From Marjorie Passman (excerpted in the Capitol Times, full version below).
Where is the Outrage? Where is the Anger?
Has anyone noticed the education budget proposed by the State Assembly? If so, where is the outrage, where is the anger?
Because of the Republican promoted revenue controls on school districts, Madison schools have been compelled to reduce services by roughly 60 million dollars over the past dozen years. For the first time they have increased class size in elementary schools; the opposite of what should be occurring to promote increasing quality education, and next year’s budget cuts will reach into every curricular and extra-curricular area – there is nothing that will be left untouched. So how does our State Assembly plan to help? It proposes to fund our schools at $1200 less per student than the national average. Wisconsin should be THE leader in public education, not less than average. Our children deserve better.
According to the Wisconsin’s Department of Administration, rough estimates of revenue limit reductions under the Assembly 2007-09 Budget Plan seem to indicate that MMSD will be reduced by $4,932,419, and we will lose 66 teachers as a result. In fact, all school districts will suffer. Ashland’s total revenue loss is $444,902 with 6 fewer teachers, the Green Bay area will see a $4,008,270 loss with 54 fewer teachers, and Chippewa Falls will be down $966,865 so 13 teachers will have to be released.
Lest parents think that they can move out of Madison to nearby school districts, think again. The combined losses of the McFarland, Middleton-Cross Plains, Monona Grove, Oregon, Sun Prairie and Verona School Districts comes to a whopping 5 million dollars with a corresponding decrease of 59 teachers. There is nowhere to run.
And don’t fall for the claim that more money is actually going into education. More money may be going into the general fund for tax property relief but it is not earmarked for education. We all know by now that such undirected spending never finds its way into our children’s classrooms.
No longer can anyone claim that our state spends big bucks on education, that government spending must be brought under control by slashing taxes. It is certainly time to bury these old misconceptions, and to end this stubborn impasse on educational spending. The new school year is upon us. Shouldn’t the citizens of our state know what their school budgets will be before classes begin?
Our children deserve better than this political nonsense.
There is a lot of outrage in our house, and from groups like, Take Back the Assembly. Now we just have to keep spreading the outrage!
Thomas J. Mertz