Legislative Democrats demand action on a school funding system in crisis. It's in the form of a resolution , calling on lawmakers to change the way Wisconsin funds public education. Representative Sondy Pope-Roberts of Middleton said the current system with its spending cap, pits neighbors against neighbors in a seemingly endless round of referendums to raise money for school districts. "This is a totally inadequate way to fund public education," Pope-Roberts told an audience of parents, students and educators which packed the Capitol's Assembly Parlor on Thursday.
Ruth Page Jones is a Waukesha School District parent who wants lawmakers to "stop the nonsense," and stop putting schools at risk. The current funding formula, she said "is simply a going out of business plan, " noting the Waukesha district faces elimination of all sports, music and after school programs next year. Madison Student Senate president, Jacinth Sohi of West High, said schools and textbooks are deteriorating. "If the repercussions are being felt this strongly now, one can only imagine how horrible the situation will be for students five and ten years into the future." While his embattled school district has managed to remain open for another year, Florence School Board President Brereton said the struggle is not over. Brereton says the Florence Schools are still in the same "perfect storm" that put them in financial crisis, and that now more districts around the state are being enveloped in that storm.
The resolution from Pope-Roberts and Senator Roger Breske does not specify how schools should be funded, only that the Legislature should put a new system in place by July of 2009, which Pope-Roberts said is the soonest that could happen.Pope-Roberts said there are at least three funding plans being developed by lawmakers, but she noted that previous ideas have succumbed to partisan politics.