Cuts Coming to Salem

sheetmusic1

“We All Love Our School”,  written by 4th grade Salem students in 2007, performed by 2nd and 3d grade students in 2008-9. Click to listen or download.

We All Love Our School

written by 4th grade Salem students in 2007

Salem is Great. It’s the biggest in the state. We all love our school!
White and blue our colors true. We all love our school!
At Salem we’re having fun.
Salem we’ve just begun
Salem students are the best.
We’re a cut above the rest.
A-round every turn, there is some-thing to learn. We all love our school!
A peaceful place puts a smile on your face. We all love our school!
At Salem we learn and grow.
Salem out to recess we go.
Falcon is our name and learning is our game!

Referenda in six districts failed on Tuesday.  That means each of these districts must to scale back their plans in ways that do the least harm to their students.  This is all part of business as usual under Wisconsin’s broken school funding system.

Here is a preview of what is in store for Salem.  The headline in the Kenosha News promises “Deep Cuts,” 17 layoffs and reductions in music and art.  The story offers further details

Cuts approved Thursday include eliminating band for children in fifth and sixth grade, cutting down on the number of gym classes children take each week, cutting back on art, and reducing reading specialty programs. All after-school sports and clubs would be eliminated, and class sizes would climb in grades three through eight. There were cuts in support staff and the administrative staff as well.

The source of the problem is also explained:

Salem has been facing budget shortfalls as it grapples with state school funding regulations that cap the amount of revenue schools can receive. The district has been covering its operating deficit using savings, but faces a deficit of more than $1 million next school year.

Two board members voiced the lament familiar to many around the state:

“This is killing me,” board member Shane Gerber said during the vote, the names of teachers who are targeted for layoff were read off. In the audience, teachers began to cry as names were read off and some walked out of the meeting.

“We as a board are now faced with cutting programs we know are good for kids,” said President Patty Merrill. “We have attempted three referendums, all three failed. The cuts must be made.”

If you haven’t already, listen to the song at the top and then try to convince yourself that  slowing the bleeding via band aids and reshuffles is the best we can do for the children of Salem and Wisconsin.  When you are done, contact the Governor and your legislators and tell them they need to listen to voices of children also; tell them that these children deserve music and art and reading help and all the other components of a full education.  Sign on with the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools and the School Finance Network while you are at it.

Thomas J. Mertz

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Filed under "education finance", Best Practices, Budget, education, finance, Local News, Referenda, referendum, School Finance, Uncategorized

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