Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Walker education cuts damaging places that voted for him

It's clear that the "tools" that were part of Act 10 aren't near enough to handle Scott Walker's budget cuts, and a huge amount of school district officials testified to that effect to the Joint Finance Committee today in Brillion. These district officials said that Walker's budget is a debilitating blow that comes on top of numerous hits that district funding has taken over the years, and an example of the type of concerns voiced to the JFC members was this testimony from Shawano School District's Business Manager, Louise Fischer.
Using the current budget numbers with zero increase in the revenue limit, Shawano’s structural deficit amounts to over $600,000 for fiscal year 15-16. In addition, the per pupil categorical aid was totally eliminated in year one. This categorical aid was implemented in the last state budget to address the small increase on the revenue limit worksheet given districts then. In a nutshell, our structural deficit ballooned from a difficult $600,000 to an inconceivable $960,000.

As 3/4 of our budget is comprised of personnel costs, it can be assumed ¾ of our budget reductions need to be in personnel. Our administration team compiled a list of potential budget reductions that will impact approximately 25 personnel. I speak for my administrative team when I say the process was gut wrenching when determining whose lives these decisions impact, not only in staff layoffs but in student achievement.

It has been reported the budget in its current form will save the taxpayer $10-15. Honestly, are any of us going to hold this budget, the Governor or you in high regard because it saved us the cost of a Friday night fish fry? This $10 is insignificant to the taxpayer and devastating to a school district. I cannot comprehend how cutting public school funding this deeply benefits anyone.

The voucher system takes money from public schools. My personal contention is private schools, when receiving my taxpayer dollars, need to be held accountable, adhering to all the same standards, including open records that public schools need to adhere to and accept ALL students, no matter their needs, that wish to attend private school.
And Shawano's hardly a liberal part of the state, as Shawano County gave 65% of its vote last November to Scott Walker. Wonder what the locals think about that decision today?

And they are far from the only red-voting areas who are seeing their schools in major danger of severe cutbacks. The pro-Walker Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel had a long, front-page story this week talking about the numerous struggles around the state, including Walker's own home district in Tosa, and numerous districts across the Baggerland of Waukesha County. And these problems are directly related to Walker's pander decision to restrict state aid increases to property tax relief, alluded to by Ms. Fischer in Shawano, which disallows the schools from using extra funding for services or paying staff.
On top of that, the budget eliminates a special $150 per pupil aid payment that Wisconsin school districts received over the past two years. That appropriation was added by the Legislature in the last budget as a way to give a bump to schools without raising property taxes.

Walker has proposed returning the aid payment in 2016-'17 at $165 per pupil, but over the two years, the net effect is $135 less per pupil than what schools received in the last budget.

"We are very concerned about the lost aid," Wauwatosa Superintendent Phil Ertl said. "We are looking at approximately $900,000 in lost aid this year."

The Waukesha School District is projecting nearly $2 million in lost aid, which would result in a projected $3.7 million deficit for the coming year, officials said. The Oconomowoc Area School District would lose nearly $800,000. Menomonee Falls projects a loss of almost $600,000.
And hate to tell you guys in Waukesha County, but no one's living in Cooney or the Falls due to the swinging night life. So if the schools go downhill, your community becomes a ghost town that can't attract anyone under 50. Maybe you should have thought about that before you voted for Walker based on racist AM radio hate his "low-tax fiscal conservatism."

Let's see if the members of the Legislature (who actually have to face the people, as opposed to our absentee Governor) will try to lessen and/or eliminate the education cuts that are part of Walker's budget. But as mentioned previously, there are a ton of stretches to hold the budget together as it is, even with all the cuts. Where are they going to come up with the extra revenue to pay the schools (and the UW, which GOP legislators indicated today would also see their cuts reduced), especially when it seems more likely that the state budget will still come up short once we see the new revenue figures in May.

And with Walker being beholden to the Grover Norquists of the world (check out how Walker spokesmodel Laurel Patrick insists "there are no tax increases" despite the LFB's report this week that the budget raises $48 million by closing tax credits and raising some fees), don't bet on Walker allowing any type of tax increases to pay for this restored funding. Sure makes you wonder what form that rabbit is taking inside of that Mad Hatter headgear Walker and the WisGOP Legislature has been wearing. We'll find out soon enough, and I bet it won't be anything that plays well in Shawano....or anywhere else that gives a crap about Wisconsin's quality of life.

PS- Well, we definitely know the Walker people didn't listen to the Department of Public Instruction when it came to putting together their budget request for schools, as this expose from PR Watch shows. Is there any doubt these people are working for the scumbags in the voucher lobby, and that they could not care less who or what they leave behind in the process?

1 comment:

  1. I pray God this wakes up the Walker loyalists, or else we deserve to be 3rd world peons…