Friday, June 29, 2012

Many Milwaukee suburbs get a school aid shocker

As someone who went to grades K-8 in Brookfield and graduated from high school in Wauwatosa, I understand the draw that schools have in making families and others want to live there. Ok, Tosa at least has the Village and some older homes that are kind of cool, but there isn't any other reason for someone to live in Brookfield or much of Waukesha County other than good schools (well that and general gutlessness and a need to look down on lower-income people).

So this is why I can't help but crack a little smile at the Wisconsin School aid figures that came out today. Feel free to check out your own place on this list. This gives the amount of state aid a school district gets for the upcoming 2012-13 year, and compares it what you got the year before. And even more amazingly, the Journal-Sentinel jumped all over the fact that nearly twice as many districts will lose funds vs. the ones who will gain them. These cuts are on top of the big cuts that the Walker budget gave for last year, so it's a double-hit for places who lost funds.

Even more hilarious (to those of us with sick senses of humor) are some of the big losers for next year, as many of them are in the heart of Walker Country. Even a key Madison suburb got screwed.

Notable districts that lose state aid in 2012-2013
Kettle Moraine -15.34%, -$1,683,833
Middleton Cross Plains -15.25%, -$1,213,079
Menomonee Falls -15.14%, -$1,479,579
New Berlin -15.14%, -$960,162
Oconomowoc -15.14%, -$841,293
Ashwaubenon -15.14%, -$1,391,956
Brown Deer -15.14% -$797,122
Grafton -15.14%, $996,746
Hartland-Lakeside J3 -15.14%, -$679,873
Cedarburg -15.01%, -$1,524,267
Mukwonago -14.43%, -$2,899,552
Milwaukee -0.66%, -$3,490,149 (largest dollar amount)
Racine- -2.43%, -$3,033,333 (2nd largest dollars)

The New Berlin loss is very chuckle-worthy, because of an article that appeared in the Journal-Sentinel earlier this week. It mentioned that 50 of New Berlin's teachers had quit the school district since the end of the school year, and that up to a third may leave overall. Why the exodus?
New Berlin's departing staff members cite concerns that are difficult to quantify; most have little to do with paying more for retirement or benefits. Based on interviews with more than a dozen employees, the resentment appears to stem from feelings that their input doesn't matter, that the administration doesn't communicate well with them, that they aren't supported or appreciated by people in the district, and that changes meant to be good for kids are poorly executed and fail to improve teaching.

If the goal of the district is to build a more businesslike model, they ask, what successful business wouldn't be concerned by so many employees wanting to flee because of the way they were treated?

Further, Act 10 makes it easier for employees to move from one district to another, with the expiration of contracts that created financial incentives for employees to stay with a district to retirement.
The mass resignations might also have something to do with teaching in a community that had locals screaming obscenities at teachers and handing out pacifiers after being egged on by Vicki McKenna and other hate radio hosts. The inflamous incident occured at a school board meeting where the board not only used Act 10 to give teachers big take-home pay cuts through benefit cost-shifting, but also imposed a school handbook that forced the teachers to take on unpaid work, and pettily installed a dress code straight out of 1950.

Well now NB, you not only have to replace a huge amount of experienced teachers in the next 60 days, you have to do it with nearly $1 million less from the state than you got last year. Enjoy raising those property taxes in a Bagger town like that, and have fun keeping your home values up with your reputation for being anti-education (oh, and racist, too).

And the last Friday funny for you- check out some of the places that got more state aid vs. last year. A whole lotta blue towns, including the bluest and most over-ejukated of em all.

Notable districts that gain state aid in 2012-2013
Shorewood +31.08%, +$1,128,518
Madison +25.40%, +$10,990,471 (most dollars in state)
Greendale +16.62%, +$1,619,547
St. Croix Central +12.85%, +$1,213,628
Sun Prairie +12.47%, +$3,840,159
HartfordJ1 +12.24%, $1,078,959
West Allis +12.10%, +$4,333,321
De Forest +11.66%, +$1,567,183

That's right, us crazy union-thug loving folks in Madtown are getting nearly $11 million more in state aid, and nearly $12 million above expectations, apparently due to high enrollment in the district's new 4-year-old kindergarten. This may almost entirely remove a projected property tax increase of well over 4%, and a lot of the state aid is being transferred from the 262 suburbs who wanted to send us dirty hippies a message on June 5.

Great schools are the cherry on top of an awesome sundae of reasons to live in Madison, but is about the ONLY reason anyone would live in the 262. And now those 262ers are going to have to deal with funding shortages for those schools brought on by the budget of the Gov. Dropout that you voted for by more than 2-to-1, while we deal with a more-comfortable budget and better chance at affording the great quality of life that comes from living in the Capital City.

Karma's such a funny thing sometimes, don't you think? Yes, this post is quite a bit snarky, but after the way those suburban big-mouths have shot their mouths off about the superiority of their way of life and denigrated the places those of us on the side of intelligence and decency find dear, I think I can take a day to smirk.

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