Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pt. 2 - they wanted Fitzwalkerstani public schools, they got 'em!

Now let's talk about the Walker/WisGOP damage to Wisconsin public schools, with much of the defunding hitting right at the heart of Walker Country- Waukesha County. Look at this article where parents in Brookfield are complaining about Elmbrook Schools closing an elementary school due to budget cuts, leading to classes with 30 kids in them. This is doubly interesting because last September, the Elmbrook district was bragging about using Walker's Act 10 tools and making their teachers pay a lot more in pension and health care contributions.

Well, the communities in the Elmbrook district voted 73-27 on June 5 in favor of Scott Walker (with over 30,000 votes cast in the area!). So these people clearly decided to support Walker's budget cuts to education, as well as slashing the take-home pay of their teachers. And their reward? Elmbrook schools lost nearly 10% of their state aid for K-12 schools for this year, and the closing of that elementary school and larger class size is a natural result from those budget cuts, and the state's limits on raising property taxes to make up for those cuts. So how's that "Standing with Walker" thing working out for you now, eh, Brookfield? Eh, Elm Grove?

And Elmbrook is far from the only place in the 262 and other pro-Walker communities to have this problem. I wrote about this 2 months ago when the preliminary school aid numbers came out, and I noticed many suburban Milwaukee schools getting big K-12 aid cuts for this year. Even more sick is the fact that the bad news may not be over with, as those school aid numbers don't get finalized until October, when the "3rd Friday" attendance figures are determined. It could end up being EVEN LOWER.

But the 262 is not the only place that's having school funding issues in the age of Fitzwalkerstan. Just this week, there was an update on the Shawano district's plans to make big raises in property taxes to make up for a $1.75 million cut in state aid. Not surprisingly, the decision to jack property taxes by 12.43% hasn't gone over well, but as the article notes, state coverage of Shawano schools has gone from 2/3 of costs in the late '90s to 1/2 today, and the money has to come from somewhere. Shawano voted overwhelmingly for Walker on June 5, and now they're feeling that result.

And perhaps this defunding of schools and cuts in take-home pay to teachers and other school employees is showing itself in home values. Wisconsin property values were down 3.2% in 2012, and the Wisconsin Realtors Assosication shows a paltry 0.4% increase in statewide home sales prices in July 2012 vs. July 2011.

You can't even blame this one on the national economy, because the U.S. just had their largest year-over-year home price increase in 6 years, at 3.8%, so this stagnant and declining home price situation in Wisconsin goes directly to the situation here, and that includes the defunding and devaluing of public education.

So we'll see if the Bagger areas of Wisconsin start to wise up to the failures of Fitzwalkerstan as their schools fall apart, property taxes go up, and home values go down. Or people will just pack up and leave these areas as they descend into Idiocracy. Either way, you get the sense things aren't going to get better for these folks until they wake up and realize that voting for anti-education Republicans is the equivalent of cutting their own throats.

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