School superintendents from northern Wisconsin urged lawmakers to restore K-12 funding, during a public hearing held Monday in Rice Lake by the legislator’s budget panel. Governor Scott Walker’s proposed budget cuts some $127 million dollars in public school funding next year.
Stephen Schiell, Superintendent of the School District of Amery, read from a letter he sent to district parents.
“The school district of Amery has remained fiscally responsible in respect to the investment local taxpayers make to support our schools,” Schiell told members of Joint Committee on Finance. “Over the past four years we have juggled expenses and made cuts to the budget in the amount of $2.79 million dollars.”
Schiell said even per pupil aids of $150 were put back in the budget, Amery faces a projected budget shortfall of more than $1.6 million, and that the budget’s promotion of voucher school expansion is also a problem. “This expansion will send the money away from our school district . . . to private schools.”
“It is well documented that the quality of public education in the state of Wisconsin is second to none, and I would hate to see that change due to a lack of resources,” said Prairie Farm Schools Superintendent Patrick Olson. “In the end, the Joint Finance Committee will be charge of making decisions that will affect thousands of students across the state of Wisconsin. Before you make a recommendation, please ask yourself that all important question, ‘is this what’s best for students'”
The day long public hearing was held on the UW Barron County campus.