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John Scepanski

John Scepanski's activity stream


  • Report 2016: Wisconsinites Still Paying More for Healthcare than Minnesotans

    Report 2016: Wisconsinites Still Paying Far More Than Minnesotans for Healthcare

    For the 3rd year in a row, Citizen Action's Minnesota Vs Wisconsin Healthcare Report shows that Wisconsinites are continuing to pay far more for healthcare than their Midwestern neighbor. Click here to read the whole report.

    The findings in this report should be a wakeup call that state policy has a significant impact on health insurance costs, and that solutions should be near the top of the agenda in Madison.

    As in all the previous studies, this report suggests that the two states differing approaches to implementing the Affordable Care Act partially explain the gap in health insurance rates between the two states. The obsession of Wisconsin elected leaders on obstructing the Affordable Care Act has distracted them from taking common sense steps that could improve  the Wisconsin health care system and make it more affordable.

    Public discussion of Minnesota’s health insurance inflation has up to this point failed to include the impact of deductibles. This exclusive focus on premiums has distorted understanding of overall costs to consumers. For example, in Minnesota metro areas such as Rochester and Duluth, the overall cost to consumers of both premiums and deductibles together has actually gone down for 2016.

    Deductibles represent a major cost for consumers. Deductibles must be met before the insurer payments kick in for most medical services.

    Comparing full consumer cost, both premiums annually and deductibles, within major metro areas reveals dramatic and shocking regional differences in what consumers pay.

    Policy Proposals in this report

    • Wisconsin should increase its rate review authority, as has been proposed in a bill by Senator Chris Larson and Rep. Debra Kolste. In addition, Wisconsin could explore an “active purchasing” model to directly challenge high premiums and out-of-pocket costs
    • Wisconsin should immediately accept enhanced Medicaid funds to strengthen BadgerCare and begin to plan to accept “Basic Health Plan” dollars which can be used to return BadgerCare eligibility to 200% of poverty line for adults. Wisconsin should also explore federal waivers that can be used to ease health insurance costs for low income consumers.
    • Wisconsin should follow Minnesota, and end the sale of substandard non-Affordable Care Act-compliant health plans.

    Questions? Email Kevin Kane at Kevin.kane@citizenactionwi.org


  • posted about DeForest Area Progressives meeting notes for September 28, 2015 on Facebook 2015-10-01 18:14:48 -0500
    DeForest Area Progressives meeting notes for September 28, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives meeting notes for September 28, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives (DeForest Area Action Team?)

    Meeting notes for September 28, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, October 5, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hill neighborhood. 

     

    REMEMBER, AT THE OCTOBER 5TH MEETING CHIEF BOB HENZE OF THE DEFOREST POLICE DEPARTMENT will join us for a conversation about policing in DeForest, how police relate to youth, national and international issues in policing, drugs in DeForest, crime in DeForest, the Citizens Police Academy, traffic safety and driving under the influence, community policing philosophy and application, the “militarization” of the police in the USA, and anything else the group cares to discuss.  This is an excellent opportunity to meet with a consummate professional in his field and to educate ourselves on some important social topics.  Please try to be there.

     

    There were five people at the September 28th meeting.  Announcements included

    • Blues for Bernie Fundraiser at the Brinks Lounge October 20th
    • Robert Reich speaking at the downtown Madison library October 24th
    • Party to watch the Democratic candidates debate on October 13th at the Rodeside Grill in Windsor; there will be a cake, a trivia contest, and order off the menu for dinner; hosted by Dawn Fish
    • DeForest library used book sale October 15, 16, and 17
    • From Janet: Dane County’s multi-jurisdiction Special Registration Deputy training has been rescheduled to Wednesday, October 14, because the original schedule conflicted with Yom Kippur.  This event will be held in the Oak Hall of Fitchburg City Hall, 5520 Lacy Road.  Registration will take place between 4 and 5 p.m.  The Dane County Clerk’s Office will offer a voter registration training session from 5 to 6:30 p.m.  And participants will be able to receive Special Registration Deputy appointments from many Dane County clerks between 6:30 and 8 p.m.

     

    Do we want to hold an event for JoAnne Kloppenburg for Supreme Court Justice?  www.kloppenburgforjustice.com    Where can we hold it?  It is questionable whether or not the DeForest Library will allow events to promote political candidates in the public room.  When Ginny asked for one of the rooms to hold an event for Organizing Wisconsin [for Bernie Sanders], she was denied permission.

     

    www.prwatch.org is a good website to consult for Governor Walker transgressions.  It is maintained by the Center for Media and Democracy.

     

    JohnSki reported on his, Ginny's, and Dawn F.'s attendance at Progressive Partners' quarterly meeting last Sunday in Mount Horeb, hosted by Southwest Wisconsin Area Progressives (SWWAP – Tim White, emcee).  The affair was held at Mount Horeb’s 100 year old one-room schoolhouse.  Pre-meeting, we joined a sing-along in the front yard on a beautiful day with the Capital Singers and a band with song books full of protest songs and union songs.  Brats were served along with soft drinks and chips.  A rousing time was had by all, and candidate for Wisconsin Supreme Court, JoAnne Kloppenburg, joined in.  Besides the 100 year old schoolhouse, the band leader noted that 2015 is the 100th anniversary of the song “Solidarity Forever” and the 100th anniversary of the execution by firing squad in Utah of union organizer Joe Hill.

     

    JoAnne Kloppenburg spoke at the meeting inside the schoolhouse.  Be sure to visit her website at www.kloppenburgforjustice.com.  February 16,2016, is the primary to vote for JoAnne.  April 5, 2016, is the general election.

     

    About thirty people at the meeting heard reports from seven local progressive groups represented: SWWAP, Oregon Area Progressives, Middleton Action Team, GROW of Waunakee, Stoughton Action Coalition, DeForest Area Progressives, and SPARC of Sun Prairie.

     

    Mike McCabe of Blue Jean Nation spoke.  www.buejeannation.com   “The influence of our values on public policy has been in decline,” Mike said.  Blue Jean Nation has joined forces in a coalition with the Wisconsin Grassroots Network and Wisconsin United to Amend (formerly Wisconsin Move to Amend).  The coalition wants to make local grassroots groups more muscular, more successful.  There is going to be a November 7th workshop in Madison and a conference in Oshkosh in February.  We have formed some habits that disempower us.  We must create tools we can use.  Who is on top and who is on bottom in America?  Roger Springman noted that we must formulate “vertical conversations” along the lines of what Mike talks about in his book, not left versus right horizontally along political lines, rather the one percent “royals” at the top versus the rest of the “commoners” in America.  We must learn to appeal more to emotions and use fewer numbers and statistics the way Democrats have gotten used to.

     

    After Mike McCabe, Sondy Pope, state rep for the area, spoke to us and answered questions.  She expected Governor Walker to be even more emboldened by his loss of the presidential nomination and return to Wisconsin.  We are now being led by a “desperate” person, she said.  Among the subjects she expects him and his cohorts such as Senator Fitzgerald and Rep. Vos to pursue are these:

    • Privatize the Wisconsin Retirement Fund
    • Change the Constitution so that the Superintendent of Public Schools is appointed by the governor not elected by the people
    • Bury the move to change the way we redistrict voting
    • Change the Government Accountability Board into a politically appointed body

     

    “There’s nothing to stop them,” she said.

     

    Ron Biendseil spoke about income inequality and wondered if Progressive Partners members wanted to have an event to educate people on it around the appearance of Robert Reich in Madison on October 24th.  Is there interest in a follow-up event?  What concerns, such as the misuse of TID’s in some communities, should be addressed?

     

    This land is your land,

    This land is my land


  • posted about DeForest Area Progressives meeting notes for September 14, 2015 on Facebook 2015-09-20 16:23:59 -0500
    DeForest Area Progressives meeting notes for September 14, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives meeting notes for September 14, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes from September 14, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, September 21, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hill neighborhood.  Agenda will include announcements, modify agenda, reports on recent activities, old business, new business, adjourn, post-meeting update on Bernie Sanders campaign.

     

    There were six people at the September 14th meeting. 

     

    Announcements included Fighting Bob Fest, September 24th SCGA meeting, September 27th Progressive Partners meeting, change in SRD training to September 23rd, October 20th Blues for Bernie at the Link Lounge in Madison, October 24th Robert Reich appearance in Madison.

     

    The meeting and conversation with DeForest Police Chief Bob Henze was re-scheduled to October 5, 2015.

     

    John the Elder reported on the last meeting of the South Central Grassroots alliance meeting, most of which was devoted to work on a training program for new and aspiring grassroots groups.

     

    Karen reported that $352 worth of buttons and bumper stickers had been sold at Madison Labor Fest.

     

    Marcia reported on the latest news about the incorporation of Windsor referendum coming up this fall.

     

    Sorry for the late and short report this week.  See you tomorrow.          JohnSki

     


  • published DeForezst in DeForest Area Progressives Blog 2015-09-20 16:22:17 -0500

    DeForezst

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes from September 14, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, September 21, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hill neighborhood.  Agenda will include announcements, modify agenda, reports on recent activities, old business, new business, adjourn, post-meeting update on Bernie Sanders campaign.

     

    There were six people at the September 14th meeting. 

     

    Announcements included Fighting Bob Fest, September 24th SCGA meeting, September 27th Progressive Partners meeting, change in SRD training to September 23rd, October 20th Blues for Bernie at the Link Lounge in Madison, October 24th Robert Reich appearance in Madison.

     

    The meeting and conversation with DeForest Police Chief Bob Henze was re-scheduled to October 5, 2015.

     

    John the Elder reported on the last meeting of the South Central Grassroots alliance meeting, most of which was devoted to work on a training program for new and aspiring grassroots groups.

     

    Karen reported that $352 worth of buttons and bumper stickers had been sold at Madison Labor Fest.

     

    Marcia reported on the latest news about the incorporation of Windsor referendum coming up this fall.

     

    Sorry for the late and short report this week.  See you tomorrow.          JohnSki

     


  • posted about Here's another way they do it. on Facebook 2015-09-15 17:35:41 -0500
    Here's another way they do it.

    Here's another way they do it.

    SEP 15, 2015

    The right’s cynical, sinister shutdown plan: No one wants a shutdown — except demolition-minded wingnuts, who always get their way

    Shutdown politics in polarization era always benefit the GOP -- even when they get blamed

    DAVID DAYEN 

    I’m so old that I remember the last time Republican hard-liners in Congress used an unrelated pretense to shut down the government. It was two years ago. At that time, Ted Cruz led a charge to repeal Obamacare; today it’s more about defunding Planned Parenthood.

    The outcome is likely to be the same: a forced vacation for hundreds of thousands of public employees for a couple weeks, followed by a face-saving compromise that gets the GOP no closer to their stated goal. And some mechanism whereby that compromise lasts through 2016, because government shutdowns only happen as far away from elections as possible. It’s enough to make you think that shutdown politics are all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    But that’s not quite true. The shutdown of 2013 may not have accomplished anything substantively, but it certainly helped cement a picture in the public’s mind of a dysfunctional government that cannot do anything right. That, of course, fits with an enduring conservative narrative about bumbling politicians ruining the country for the rugged individuals out there. It’s a neat trick: make the government look feckless, and then point to that as an example of government fecklessness.

    The fallout from the shutdown can be seen in a Washington Post poll out this week. When asked whether “most people in politics can or cannot be trusted,” 72 percent said they cannot. When asked whether “the current political system in the United States is basically functional or basically dysfunctional,” 64 percent said it was dysfunctional.

    If Republicans in Congress have had any goal over the five years since first gaining back the majority in the House, it’s to create this impression. Their constant deadlines and ultimatums and false starts and showdowns may look like failures of leadership. But they also serve to alienate people from their government. And ultimately, that reflects poorly on the party that wants to employ government resources to solve problems, regardless of Democrats’ role in the dysfunction.

    Take the current potential shutdown, which will occur in just two weeks without some resolution. House Republicans lack the votes among themselves to extend any kind of government funding past September 30 unless the bill de-funds Planned Parenthood. But that’s just an excuse, a convenient topic on which to force a shutdown. If there were no selectively edited hidden camera videos relentlessly and misleadingly hyped in conservative media, the shutdown would be demanded for some other reason, from the President’s immigration executive order to the Clean Power plan for limiting carbon emissions to Obamacare to something even more obscure. The vehicle for shutting down doesn’t matter; only that it serves the shutdown purpose.

     

    Added into this stew is the fact that John Boehner could lose his leadership position if he attempts to pass some funding mechanism without the Planned Parenthood rider. The House will vote on stand-alone antiabortion measures this week, along with a bill that would cut funding to Planned Parenthood centers that perform abortions. But those aren’t going to pass the Senate, and the so-called House Freedom Caucus has vowed to not vote for anything that funds Planned Parenthood. So Boehner’s choice is to pass a budget extension with Democratic votes and threaten his speakership, or reject holding the vote and shut down the government.

     

    The public doesn’t want a shutdown by overwhelming numbers, according to a recent CNN poll. But the public doesn’t watch C-SPAN in large numbers. Their awareness of a government shutdown will only go so far beyond the surface, and even awareness that Republicans precipitated the fight will fade come next year. The residue that will remain is that government can’t get its act together.

    That’s the clear lesson of the 2013 shutdown. You might remember that it was supposed to ruin the midterm elections for the Republicans, putting their pointless irresponsibility on full display. But that didn’t happen, and eventually the shutdown became overshadowed by the bigger political story of the time – the early failure of the healthcare.gov website. In the end, Republicans won big in 2014, as political memories are fickle.

    We know already that a shutdown would be a second-order story, compared to the 800-pound gorilla of our never-ending presidential election. But it can be employed as a convenient tool for all 2,906 candidates, all of them pointing to nondescript “dysfunction” in Washington. To the casual observer, this creates a definitive hopelessness in government writ large.

    But only one party actually wants to use the leverage and power of government to achieve progress. At Liberty University yesterday, Sen. Bernie Sanders responded to an observation that the problem of racism is one of sins in our hearts by pointing out that lunch counters and schools only became desegregated through passage of a law. When you have government by crisis – and there’s more to come, with an imminent reaching of the nation’s debt limit by as early as next month – it feeds a perception that activist government is impossible and unwise.

     

    Therefore, shutdown politics in the modern era of polarization appear to always play to a conservative benefit, even if Republicans are blamed for the crisis. Turning people off from politics has been a core goal for conservatives for decades. “I don’t want everybody to vote,” said Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the Moral Majority, back in 1980, at a meeting attended by Ronald Reagan. “As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections, quite candidly, goes up as the voting populace goes down.” That’s not just about voter suppression, but deflating hope, crushing the promise of a government that acts on behalf of its citizens.

    Promoting disassociation from government works for people who want to limit it. Americans, do not appear to penalize the source of government dysfunction: they penalize the government as a whole. I’m not convinced of a strategy to counteract this, actually. But just assuming Democrats can point their fingers at Republican extremists and waltz to victory seems at odds with recent history.

     

    David Dayen is a contributing writer for Salon. Follow him on Twitter at@ddayen.

     


  • commented on Voting machines are old 2015-09-15 17:02:54 -0500
    Source is The Week magazine on line.

  • posted about DeForest Area Progressives meeting notes for August 31, 2015 on Facebook 2015-09-03 16:55:27 -0500
    DeForest Area Progressives meeting notes for August 31, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives meeting notes for August 31, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for August 31, 2015

     

    NO MEETING MONDAY SEPTEMBER 7, 2015, Labor Day.  At least five of us will be going to Labor Fest at the Madison Labor Temple to work on information tables, sell buttons and bumper stickers, and enjoy what the festival has to offer.

     

    Next meeting: Monday, September 14, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hill neighborhood.

     

    Be sure to mark your calendars for the September 14th meeting.  Our special guest will be DeForest Police Chief Bob Henze.  In an informal conversation, Bob will share with us his views on 21st century American policing, especially as it relates to the village of DeForest and surrounding area.  Bob encourages us to read the police department’s annual reports on the department’s website ahead of time, in order to acquaint ourselves with it and to formulate a few questions or comments.  You can access the police department website through the village’s website, http://www.vi.deforest.wi.us .  Even if you haven’t been to a DAP meeting in some time, please try to make this meeting so we have a good turnout for Bob.  It is a great opportunity to meet one of DeForest’s key government officials.

     

    There were five people at the August 31 meeting.  As of the end of July we had $345.94 in the DAP treasury.  Announcements:

    • Celebrate Science September 3rd at 12:30.  Meet at the King Street entrance to the Capitol.  More Information https://www.uppitywis.org/content/day-action-celebrate-science
    • Labor Fest  Monday September 7th at 12:00--5:00 
    • Blues fans for Bernie Fund Raising Event: October 20th at 6:00--9:00 pm at the Brink Lounge, 701 E. Washington Ave.
    • Robert Reich speaking on October 24th at the Madison Public library
    • Martha Laning, new chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, will be the featured speaker at the Firefly in Oregon on Friday, September 4, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.  (Laning has told our own John Stanley that she will not endorse any primary candidate before the general election.)

     

    We began the pre-meeting with a long discussion about primary election politics.  (No kidding, eh?  J )

     

    Ginny and JohnSki reported on their attendance at the recent transit meeting at the DeForest public library, hosted by several Dane County supervisors, including ours, Maureen McCarville.  Most of the discussion revolved around how to get buses in service from the outlying communities like DeForest and Windsor into Madison.  There was other discussion on rail and multi-modal or inter-modal, coordinated transportation in Dane County’s future.  Ginny and John sat with Ron Wolfe of Waunakee GROW.  Ron is interested in coming to one of our meetings to discuss rail, a subject dear to his heart and on which he is well informed.

     

    The DAP regular meeting ended and gave way to an ad hoc Bernie Sanders for President meeting.


  • posted about Meeting notes for August 24, 2015 on Facebook 2015-08-28 19:08:13 -0500
    Meeting notes for August 24, 2015

    Meeting notes for August 24, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for August 24, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, August 31, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hill neighborhood.

     

    Five of us met at Ginny’s on August 24th.

     

    Announcements:

    • August 26, Nancy Price on resisting the  TPP
    • August 28 – noon, Madison Central Park, America’s Journey for Justice Rally
    • September 3, 1:00 p.m., Celebrate Science (Clean Power/Health/Life) – meet at King Street entrance to Capitol & walk to DNR main office – sign up at bit.ly/CelebrateScience
    • October 20th , 6-9:00 p.m. – Blues Fans for Bernie Fund Raising Event at Brink Lounge, 701 E. Washington Ave.
    • Reminder: Robert Reich, Oct. 24th at Madison Public Library
    • Labor Fest, September 7th: noon-5 p.m., Labor Temple, 1602 S. Park St., Madison

     

    We discussed more about the movie we viewed last week, “King Corn.”

     

    JohnSki is to contact Chief Bob Henze of the DeForest Police Department to set a date for him to sit down with us for an informal discussion about his department and policing issues in DeForest and across the country.  (Done: September 14th, Chief Henze will join us at our regular meeting at 6:00 p.m. at Ginny’s house.)

     

    Karen reported on her attendance at the messaging seminar in Richland Center on August 22nd.  Scott Witkopf presented.  We should talk about values, not issues.  Values unite, issues divide.  Karen offered us other tips as well for good message construction such as, “Do not use negation.”  Negation such as, “Money is not speech!” just reinforces the frame you are trying to negate.  It is better to say something like, “Dark money outshouts our voices,” or “Save our freedom from money in politics.”

     

    Ginny reported on her attendance at the Bernie Sanders for president meeting on the 20th.  Nate is ordering bumper stickers.  Adam Dahl (sp?) paid for a bus to Dubuque to attend a Bernie Sanders rally there.  He made $1000 on t-shirt sales.  John Stanley is chair of the effort to organize Bernie for president in Wisconsin.  Ginny is vice-chair.  John hopes to get the Ho Chunk to hold a fund raiser for Bernie at their casino in Baraboo.  “Four-ups” for Bernie handouts have been developed, and Ginny passed around samples.  The four-ups have “Bernie’s Platform” printed on one side and other messages on the other side.  Marcia is going to translate them into Spanish.  We should all call 1-202-863-8000 to express our desire to have more candidate debates.  There is a trip coming up to Washington, D.C., in October for a 100k person gathering for Bernie on the Mall.

     

    On Wednesday, September 23trd, the Dane County Clerk will hold training for special deputy voting registrars in Fitchburg.

     

    Peter informed us that the Dane County budget comes out August 28th.  There will be public hearings before the board passes it.


  • posted about DeForest Area Progressives meeting notes from August 17, 2015 on Facebook 2015-08-21 16:20:34 -0500
    DeForest Area Progressives meeting notes from August 17, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives meeting notes from August 17, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes from August 17, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, August 24, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hill neighborhood.

     

    At the meeting on the 17th, six of us viewed the movie, “King Corn” and learned a lot about how pervasive the product is in our American economy.  We enjoyed some good snacks, too, and each others’ company.

     

    The agenda for the next meeting will continue topics and reports from recent meetings.  Review recently past notes and agendas and bring your own ideas to share.


  • Meeting notes for August 10, 2015

    Deforest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for August 10, 2015

     

    NEXT MEETING IS MOVIE NIGHT!  We will view “King Corn” at Marcia’s house, 3953 Finch Trail in the Windsor Hills neighborhood.  Bring your own drink and a snack to share, if you wish.  “King Corn” is about the food industry, GMO’s, etc.

     

    Six of us met on the 10th.

     

    Announcements:

    • Janet wants to know if anyone is willing to sit at the Farmer’s Market to educate on the Windsor incorporation referendum coming up in the November election.    846-4472
    • On August 22nd there is a training in Madison to be voter ambassadors.  Participants will get much information on being a deputy voter registrar.
    • On September 23rd Scott McDonnel will be holding a training session for all municipalities for voter registration.  Paul Lindquist of GROW has further information.
    • Karen handed out a flyer she composed with Windsor and DeForest voter registration information on it.

     

    The conversation and Q&A with DeForest Police Chief Bob Henze is set for September 17, 2015, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the Jefferson Square Clubhouse, 717 DeForest Street in DeForest.  Now we need to publicize it.  JohnSki is to get topics to Karen for flyers and announcements.  We need to brainstorm more questions and issues to bring up and share the list with Chief Henze prior to the gathering.  The meeting is open to the public.  All should go to the police department’s website via the Village of DeForest website to learn much more about the DeForest Police Department.

     

    Marcia gave her third report on her and Karen’s attendance at Netroots Nation in Phoenix.  The next Netroots Nation conference will be in St. Louis next year to recognize the trouble in Ferguson, suburb of St. Louis.  Marcia talked with some native women at the conference who were being displaced off their land by a coal company for the coal under the land.  We talked about other examples of native exploitation too.

     

    Marcia continued on the topic of food trucks, based on an article she read in National Geographic.  The operators of the trucks (like food carts in Madison) tweet where they are going to be, so that customers can meet them.  Many of the food truck customers are millenials who depend on Twitter for a lot of things.  This is a way to go to where the people are and is worthy of consideration for our work of publicizing issues of interest.  Karen mentioned a technique of Tweeting called “piggybacking,” where you can put your tweet into another tweet and get into the stream.  We need more training and advice on how to use Twitter and other social media more effectively.

     

    Ginny reminded everyone of the movie next meeting (see above) and the Robert Reich event scheduled for October 24th in Madison, of which we are a sponsor and have offered to help.

     

    We discussed the redesign of our website.  Karen made the comment, “A website is like a sign in front of an office, saying this is where we are and this is who we are.”  The current cost for our website is $63 and is being borne by Marcia and Karen.  It includes $9 for the potential DAAT (name change to DeForest Area Action Team?) website.  The basic monthly cost of $54 includes voter data not being used.  Do we still want to get that data?  If we stop the data, the cost drops to $34 for a short time.  Another alternative is to “hang” our website on the WGN site for $9 a month.  Further discussion on this topic at future meetings.

     

    Ginny reported that the Media Summit in Stevens Point last Saturday, August 8th, went well.  Also there from DAP were Peter, JohnSt., and Marcia (did I leave anyone out?).  Doug Cunningham of Workers Independent News was there.  Others included Joyce Luedke (sp) of Middle Wisconsin, a grass roots organization based in Wausau that also puts out an electronic newsletter.  Mark Taylor said that something called Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative might be what the group is looking for.  There was much discussion on organization of the group for its purposes.  Peter noted that Doug C. mentioned that in Wisconsin, radio in barns is important and also at high school football and basketball games.  UW-Extension Continuing Education had a person there.  There were many other interesting people that Peter and the others met at the summit.  There was much more reported at our meeting, but I didn’t get it all in notes.

     

    We discussed having our own training among ourselves to sharpen our social media skills.  When should we do this training?  Late September?  October?  Where?  We need a place with computers or at least everyone with a laptop to use or share. 

     

    Who will volunteer to sell buttons at Labor Fest and Bob Fest?  See Karen.

     

    LET’S HAVE A GOOD TURNOUT FOR MOVIE NIGHT NEXT MONDAY !!!


  • Meeting notes for August 3, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for August 3, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, August 10, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hill neighborhood.

     

    There were five people at the August 3rd meeting.

     

    We were reminded of the Bernie Sanders organizing meeting August 6th at the Denny’s in Monona.

     

    Peter, Ginny, Karen, and Marcia are going with John St. to help with his Media Summit in Stevens Point Saturday, the 8th.

     

    Who has not seen and signed the petition to End Machine Voting in Wisconsin?

     

    Karen provided information on the hearings and informational sessions coming up on Waukesha’s efforts to tap into Great Lakes water.  There will be one on August 17th at Carol University in Waukesha and another August 18th at Zilber School of Public Health in Milwaukee.  We received an informational handout on it.  Contact Karen if you want more information.

     

    Karen provided an update on the Windsor incorporation issue.  The town has hired a public relations consultant to promote passage of the referendum.  Karen volunteered DAP to help if needed.

     

    Karen informed us that Sun Prairie community radio is on the air!  FM 103.5

     

    Marcia continued her report on her and Karen’s attendance at Netroots Nation in Phoenix.  She liked the giant room at the affair where people had tables with information and much conversation about their various organizations.  It was valuable to talk one on one and to learn and to get to know people.  There were many breakout sessions.  Marcia was enthusiastic about social media and how it can reach out to big pools of people with information that they do not often get otherwise but are nevertheless interested in.  Marcia especially featured Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

     

    We decided to host a movie night for our August 17th meeting. The film will be “King Corn” about GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) and a whole host of issues surrounding how our food is generated.  The showing will be at Marcia’s house, 3953 Finch Trail in the Windsor Hill neighborhood, beginning at about 6:00 p.m.  Bring your own drinks and a snack to share if you can.  Everyone is welcome!

     

    We decided to tentatively schedule September 17th at 7:00 p.m. for our talk with Chief Bob Henze of the DeForest Police Department, if arrangements can work out for that date.  JohnSki will reserve the Jefferson Square Clubhouse for that date.  Further planning will take place at the next meeting.  Members are encouraged to go to the police department’s web site to familiarize themselves with the department and generate questions for the chief.  Please put that date on your calendars and plan to attend and join in the conversation about our communities and the policing in them.

     

    We agreed to respond positively to Ron Biendseil’s request for support of Robert Reich’s appearance in Madison on October 24th at the downtown Madison library.  We will co-sponsor the event and do what we can to publicize it and help out in any way we are needed.  We will put it on our web sites, Facebook, etc., leaflets, posters, and letters to the editor, whatever is needed.  JohnSki will reply to Ron B. and ask what is expected of us.

     

    Ginny reported on the big response to the Bernie Sanders telecast and meeting at Denny’s in Monona.  There were around seventy people there.  It was a mixed crowd with at least ten college students, elderly on fixed incomes, middle aged, and young adults with families.  Similar gatherings took place all over the area, including Windsor, Verona, Middleton, Sun Prairie, and Madison, as well as many locations throughout the state.

     

    Marcia raised the idea of promoting bee keeping as a way to help the ecology.  There is a man in Madison who will place hives in peoples’ yards and maintain them.  We might see about getting him out to one of our meetings sometime.


  • Meeting notes for July 27, 2015

    Deforest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes

    July 27, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, August 3, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hill neighborhood.

     

    There were seven people at the July 27th meeting.

     

    JohnSki announced the Wisconsin Public Education Network Summer Summit, scheduled for Thursday, August 20, 2015, 12:30-5:00 p.m. at Kromrey Middle School, 7009 Donna Drive, Sun Prairie.  Go to http://goo.gl/forms/zgzml4cEfI for details and registration.

     

    A question arose about the DAP Facebook page.  Anyone can go to it to visit or post a message.

     

    JohnSki talked to DeForest Police Chief Bob Henze abut speaking and engaging in a Q&A discussion.  Bob said he would be glad to do so and would prefer a whole community gathering to just a DAP meeting.  The group thought late September might be a good time to hold it.  Where?  Library?  Community Center?  Jefferson Square Clubhouse?  Somewhere else?  Interested DAP members should go to the police department’s website (via the village website?) to read the annual report and other information.  Some of the topics of interest might be community policing, the Citizens Academy, stresses on the community such as minorities and poverty, crime, gangs, drugs, safety issues.

     

    The DAP treasury has had a little bit of deposit and a little bit of expenses lately.  JohnSki will bring in the next bank statement to report in detail.

     

    Frank expressed concern with the vast amount of development taking place in the Town of Windsor.  So much of it seems to be stretching right up to the edges of streets and roadways.  The excavation seems to be devastating to existing trees.  It would seem desirable to require developers to maintain at least one tree in the front of each lot and one in the rear, if not more trees and vegetation.  Are there landscaping requirements in town ordinances or in the zoning code?  Is this a community rights issue?  Should we appear at some town meetings to express our interest?

     

    Karen reported on the Town of Windsor incorporation issue.  There is a meeting tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. (Karen intends to attend) to discuss public education on the issue and another meeting on July 30th at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the referendum and town options.  The latter will be the fourth in a series of four listening sessions.  The wording of the referendum has not yet been composed.  State legislation permitting this referendum includes language that says that all existing agreements like boundary agreements must remain in force.

     

    JohnSt. has called Heather a couple of times to find out if DAP could join Wisconsin Public Education Network at a reduced rate less than the $100 usually charged, as DAP is too small to justify the $100 fee, even though we would like to belong and will support what WPEN does.  Heather has yet to call back.

     

    The Media summit scheduled for August 8th in Stevens Point is all set.  John St. is running it.  Ginny discussed refreshments arrangements.  Other DAP members are engaged in this project too, helping John out.

     

    Karen and Marcia (she’s back!) reported on their experience at Netroots Nation in Phoenix July 16-18.  They passed out copies of the schedule of workshops*, which was quite impressive.  Karen and Marcia have agreed to compose a strategic analysis of the conference for the Wisconsin Grassroots Network.  They will be writing up their notes for the sessions they attended. 

     

    We discussed the upcoming July 29th Bernie Sanders meetings at Denny’s in Monona, the Rodeside Restaurant in Windsor-DeForest, and two other locations in Dane County.  John Stanley and Roger Springman are organizing for Bernie in Wisconsin.  There is heavy Facebook communication for Bernie Sanders.  John St. has been very active in it.  There are local meetings like this scheduled in all fifty states.  A simulcast of Bernie speaking will be featured.  We had a long discussion on what is effective in organizing and campaigning.  Personal conversation is by far the best.

     

    John St. said that We Are Wisconsin is organizing a giant coalition of progressive groups, unions, political parties, and other organizations.  They are hoping to hold a convention soon hosted by A New People.  There will be a meeting at the end of August to decide the next steps.

     

    DAP should have another movie night soon.  Karen has a bunch of movies she has been collecting.  John St. said he is interested in learning more about GMO’s.  Marcia recommended Naomi Klein’s book, This Changes Everything about climate change.

     

    *Sample of titles: Love is a Revolutionary Act, Turning Young Activism into Policy, To Change Everything It Takes Everyone, Corporate Takeover Goes Local, The Ethics Studies Ban, Living in a Militarized Zone, The Progressive Grassroots Christian Movement, Creative for All: The Keys to Creating Compelling Content, Small Scale Facebook Campaigns, Facebook-Powered Growth, Guerrillarized Grassroots Advocacy, Twitter, NationBuilder


  • commented on Elaine Brown - The End of Silence 2015-07-18 16:17:58 -0500
    No, Karen, we don’t have to get guns to be men.

  • posted about DAP meeting notes for July 13, 2015 on Facebook 2015-07-18 16:12:35 -0500
    DAP meeting notes for July 13, 2015

    DAP meeting notes for July 13, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for July 13, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, July 20, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hill neighborhood.

     

    Six of us met on July 13th.

     

    We discussed several Bernie Sanders events, past and future.  Karen recommended a Celtic music duo coming to the Stoughton Opera House in November: Natalie McMaster and Donald Lakee (sp).

     

    Ginny reported on the 4th of July float in the DeForest parade.  She and John St. finished the float that Friday, the 3rd, then put on the finishing touches the next day before the parade.  The float – “Capturing Democracy” – was well received along the parade route.  Now we need storage space if we want to save some of the makings for next year’s float, if we have one.  Ginny also put in two hours volunteering to help with bingo, for which she credited DAP.

     

    What new project(s) can DAP start in our community?  One idea is to have the DeForest police chief come to speak to us.  Another idea is to have Ron Wolfe from GROW in Waunakee come to speak to us about transportation and especially rail transportation.  Are there any volunteer opportunities coming up in the communities?  There will probably be a river clean up sponsored by the Friends of the Upper Yahara River Headwaters.  There is a cleanup of the river through the Bollig property just purchased by the county.

     

    Further discussion of the possibility of having Chief Bob Henze come to speak found interest in what kinds of crime exist in DeForest, gangs? the depth of the drug problem, and the alleged militarization of U.S. police.  Should such an event be just us or for the whole community?  The police department has an annual report that can be found on their website.  If we open it up to the whole community, we should make it clear that this is non-partisan and non-political, so that we do not put off those who might object to the “progressive” in our name.  Peter recommended former Madison police chief David Couper’s blog.  GROW of Waunakee met with their chief and recommended the activity.  JohnSki said he would contact Chief Henze and discuss it with him.

     

    We discussed the Enbridge pipeline again.  Peter said the new state budget makes it difficult for counties to regulate pipelines.

     

    Peter provided a detailed report of the voter ID problem.  The Madison City Clerk’s office identified 8000 people who will need ID’s to vote.  Peter and others helped stuff envelopes with information to those people.  Peter had previously shown us the leaflets with information on how people can get the ID they need.  Peter said he had had a disappointing experience trying to register UW students.  John St. said he had just the opposite experience during the Walker recall affair.

     

    We talked about joining the Wisconsin Professional Education Network.  Cost is $100.  Most thought we had too small a treasury to make it worthwhile joining, as much as we want to back WPEN and what they do.  Education of kids must be a high priority.  John St. said he would contact Heather to see if we can belong on a lesser level than the $100 level.

     

    Karen added $11 to our treasury from button sales she had made.

     

    John St. briefed us on progress made toward the August 8th Media Summit he is organizing in Stevens Point.  We talked about logistics.  Ginny, Karen, and Peter volunteered to help John St. with the event.  John St. will email a copy of the flyer to JohnSki for distribution to Progressive Partners and the DAP email list.

     

    Both Peter and John St. have been working on the Bernie Sanders campaign.  They discussed various approaches different supporters are taking.  We had a lively discussion on how campaigns are run.  There is a big meeting of Bernie Sanders workers July 29th at the Denny’s in Monona from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., during which Bernie himself will be broadcast to similar meetings taking place all over the country.

     

    Karen updated us on the Town of Windsor incorporation.  The state budget recently passed and signed includes the incorporation.  The next step will be a referendum within the town on whether or not to pursue the incorporation as a village.  Karen does not know what kind of education campaign the town will put on, but if the town officials do not do such an education campaign, she – Karen – intends to do one herself.  Karen is a big backer of the town’s becoming a village and will work to see that the referendum passes.  Will DeForest campaign against the referendum? 

     

    John St. mentioned the Monona Water Walk that took place Friday and Saturday.  Leonardo went to hear the Bill Miller concert and said it was great, although poorly publicized and not well attended.  The rest of the Water Walk was well attended though.  John St. said he enjoyed and learned a lot from the other native American presentations. 

     

    John St. expressed an idea that we might want to pursue.  We can set up listening sessions in parks and other public places with signs that say, “Come Speak With me.”  Jeff Smith did that in Eau Claire with some success during his run for state Assembly.  We would have to do some training on how to do this for those who might be interested.  John thought this idea is a good alternative to the tired old door knocking and lit drops of campaigns.

     

    This is a long report from an interesting and worthwhile meeting.

     


  • posted about DAP meeting notes from June 22, 2015 on Facebook 2015-06-26 17:18:25 -0500
    DAP meeting notes from June 22, 2015

    DAP meeting notes from June 22, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes from June 22, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, June 29, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hill neighborhood.

     

    There were six people at the meeting on the 22nd.

     

    Most of the meeting was spent in conversation with Heather Dubois Bourenane, coordinator for the Wisconsin Public Education Network (WPEN).  Heather is also an active member of our sister progressive organization, SPARC of Sun Prairie.  The WPEN is a statewide organization that meets once a month and through its email network.  The purpose is to find some unity of message amidst the many assaults on public schools taking place right now.  Powerful lobbying groups like the American Federation for Children have influenced our legislature and governor to replace public education with a patchwork of private charter schools and voucher systems.  Even at the local school board level, some school boards now have members who actually oppose public schools!  WPEN believes that public schools are at the heart of our communities and democracy.

     

    The activities of WPEN are directed toward telling our legislators that their wrong policies do not reflect the will of their constituents.  The right wing agenda is to redirect public school money – tax money – to pay for private school tuition, reducing the finances available to public school districts.  If the state budget passes the way it is, some schools will close.  Rural schools will suffer the most.

     

    In Wisconsin, all of the schools that have applied to be voucher schools are religious schools.  Eighty-six percent of kids using vouchers have been in their private school the previous year, so the claim that vouchers will enable poor children to change schools if they see fit is fiction.  There are no state standards for private schools, no regulations.  Private schools can discriminate against students who apply to them and “cherry-pick” the best students and not have to take special needs students or troubled students.  Heather was quick to add that she is not intending to bash private schools.  The point is that public money should not be going to pay for unaccountable private schools, most of which provide religious instruction along with the other subjects, to the detriment of existing public schools.

     

    Heather suggested that those of us who do not approve of what this state biennial budget does to public education, should let our elected representatives know that if they support it we will not vote for them next election.  She also asked that we “like” WPEN’s Facebook page.  We shared much more during the discussion, but this is the gist of it.  Thank you very much, Heather, for your expertise and your work.  You can contact Heather at hlduboisbourenane@gmail.com or at 608-572-1696.

     

    Karen sold $25 worth of buttons for DAP at the energy fair in Custer last weekend.  She said she could have done better if she had been located at a different table.  The treasury reimbursed her $128 for ink cartridges.  Karen has plans for more button sales in the future.

     

    Fourth of July parade float building is progressing.  The theme is “Capturing Democracy” with a butterfly motif.  If you want to join in with the float project and ride or walk along during the parade, contact Ginny.

     

    Regarding the proposed name change of DeForest Area Progressives from that to DeForest Area Action Team, Ginny said she talked to Marcia about it and Marcia asked that we wait until she gets back to decide.

     

    Peter reported on much activity with the Dane County Democratic Party and voter registration.  He has been informed that 8000 Dane County voters do not have voter ID.  Peter said that Representative Ellison from Minnesota is starting a “Voters First” initiative.  Peter will look into it and report back.  The new Wisconsin Democratic Party chair, Martha Laning, is collecting stories about how the governor’s policies are affecting real people throughout the state.

     

    What new project(s) does DAP want to start?  Ginny would like to invite the DeForest police chief to talk to us, as she heard that Waunakee GROW had an interesting session with their chief. 

    John St. informed the group of a July 25th celebration being planned for Jeff Smith to present him with an award for his unselfish withdrawal from the race for DPW chair in favor of Martha Laning.

     

    John also requested assistance with the August 8th media summit in Stevens Point that he is coordinating.  If you can help John with publicity or logistics at the summit, contact him.


  • posted about Meeting notes for June 15, 2015 on Facebook 2015-06-20 17:53:41 -0500
    Meeting notes for June 15, 2015

    Meeting notes for June 15, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for June 15, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, June 21, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hill neighborhood.

    There were eight people at the June 15th meeting.

     

    Karen submitted $92 to the treasury from button sales and other sources.

     

    Heather from SPARC (Sun Prairie progressive action team) will be here next meeting to talk about education.

     

    Float building for the DeForest July 4th parade will take place at Ginny’s on Friday, June 19th at 10:00 a.m.  The theme is “Capturing Democracy” with a butterfly and net motif.  Thank you, Ginny and John St. for taking the lead on this.  (Five of us did meet at that time and got some work done.  Thanks for the pizza, Ginny.)

     

    We had s lengthy discussion on whether or not to change the name of DeForest Area Progressives (DAP) to DeForest Area Action Team (DAAT) or something else.  The issue arose out of a member’s alleging that the term “progressive” carries with it negative political baggage these days and that it might interfere with what we want to accomplish.  Others disagreed.  Some like being known by the term progressive.  Janet noted that we are known in the election database she works with as DAAT.  Some noted that we have become known as DAP among our peers and in the local community.  Karen reminded us that the Boy Scouts dropped out of our recent “What’s in Your Water?” program because of the political connotations of progressive.  Karen has spent some of her own money on procurement of the DAAT domain name for a website that she has already begun to establish.  She thought we had already decided on the name change.  JohnSki disputed that we had already decided, saying that his notes show that “no action was taken.”  Someone suggested getting Marcia’s opinion, since she had founded the organization to begin with.  We all agreed to continue discussion with no vote taken and no decision made on the name change yet at this time.

     

    Karen reported that buttons sold like hotcakes at the Democratic State Convention last weekend.  She is to be commended for her hard work on the button project.  Thank you, Karen!  She will be selling more at the Energy Fair in Custer next Friday.  She has ordered a big bunch of supplies for further enterprises.

     

    Karen and Marcia have signed up to attend the Networks Nation conference again this year in Phoenix in July.  It is very expensive for them to go, so Karen has started an informal “crowd funding” project.  She is accepting contributions, so get you money to her asap.  Send checks made out to her or Marcia to Karen Edson, 3953 Finch Trail, DeForest, WI  53532.  They have solicited groups, too, such as Wisconsin Grassroots Network and all of the groups in Progressive Partners, offering to attend whatever workshop the contributing group specifies.  Then upon return, they will give presentations to the contributing group as reports on the workshop attended.  In any case, Karen and Marcia will share everything they learn with as many people and groups as they can when they return.  Good work, Karen and Marcia and good luck!

     

    We had a long discussion on the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) convention attended by several of our members and associates last weekend in Milwaukee.  The upset victory of Martha Laning was made possible by Jeff Smith (Eau Claire) heroically stepping down and casting his support to Laning, a relative newcomer to the party.  Laning was nominated by Jeff and seconded by state Senator Kathleen Vinehout.  The election of Laning might signal a shift to more influence in the state party by the progressive elements in it.  The Friday caucuses were characterized by some shifty maneuvering outside the rules of the convention.  The Rural Caucus was of particular interest.  More than 200 people attended this year, compared to 60 last year.  Our favorite son, Nate Timm, was re-elected chair of the Rural Caucus in spite of the irregularities; however, Nate’s running mates for vice chair and treasurer did not win.

     

    Karen requested that anyone interested in the topics of clean water, Pipeline 61, or renewable energy contact her at kredson1970@gmail.com for new information.

     

    JohnSki reported on his and Peter’s attendance at the Progressive Partners picnic-meeting last Sunday, the 14th  ,  in Fitchburg.  There were about 17 people in attendance from about six groups.  We socialized and had some good snacks and drinks.  A discussion was held on peoples’ attendance at and participation in the Dem Party of Wisconsin’s convention.  Several people mentioned the irregularities in the processes, focusing on the Women’s Caucus, the LGBT Caucus, the Rural Caucus, and the Black Caucus.  There was some sentiment to form a new caucus, the Progressive Caucus, in order to promote the more progressive elements of the party and its platform, which, it was noted, is quite progressive if you read it.  JohnSki reported on DAP activities, followed by reports also from GROW of Waunakee, Oregon Area Progressives, Teal Team of West Madison, Middleton Action Team, and Active McFarland.  JohnSki also reported on the formation of South Central Grassroots Alliance (SCGA).  Other topics of discussion at this PP meeting were election integrity, voter ID and registration, the July 25th scheduled appreciation event for Jeff Smith, follow-up on what was done at the April PP meeting in Middleton, media task force of The Progressive magazine.  MAT and OAP are working on getting Robert Reich to do a special progressive oriented event in downtown Madison on October 24th in conjunction with the Madison book fair.  The next PP meeting will be September 13, 20125, in Mount Horeb, hosted by southwest area progressives.

     

    Also noted is the August 8, 2015, Media Summit in Stevens Point, hosted by our own John Stanley.  Various progressive publications and radio station people will meet to talk about organizing.


  • posted about Meeting notes for June 1 and 8, 2015 on Facebook 2015-06-11 18:16:37 -0500
    Meeting notes for June 1 and 8, 2015

    Meeting notes for June 1 and 8, 2015

     

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting Notes

     

    Next meeting: Monday, June 15, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hill neighborhood.

    As you know, there were no regular meetings on June 1st and 8th.  On June 1st, Bill, Frank, and JohnSki attended the annual meeting of the Friends of the Upper Yahara Headwaters.  On June 8th, six of us attended the rally in Sun Prairie to protest how Wisconsin education is being treated in the Republican biennial state budget.

     

    Next Monday, the 15th, among other things we will discuss the name change of our organization and preparations for the 4th of July in DeForest, including building the float for the parade.  Hope to see you there.

     

                                      John


  • Stoughton School District Administrator's letter to parents


    Stoughton Area School District
     Administrative and Educational Services Center 320 North Street Stoughton, WI 53589-1733 (608) 877-5000

    June 4, 2015

     

    Dear families,

     

    In recent weeks, you may have heard about or read about the state budget and how it could impact public education. Last month, the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee proposed a budget bill that has huge ramifications for Stoughton Area School District (SASD) as well as public school districts across Wisconsin. The bill still has to be debated by the full legislature, but we wanted to give you a summary of the proposed changes and how we believe they could impact our schools and community if enacted:

     

    Below the national average - This budget would drive Wisconsin under the national average in per pupil spending, according to Michael Griffith, a senior policy analyst for the Education Commission of the States. For the first time in history, the state budget will not provide for an increase per student in revenue limits (spending caps). Public school budgets are frozen in 2015-16 and will receive a $100 increase per student in a special aid in 2016-17.

     

    Athletics and extracurriculars - Home-schooled students, private school and virtual charter school students who reside in our district but do not attend Stoughton schools nonetheless could participate in any extra-curricular or athletic team our district offers. The WIAA is a private, non-profit organization composed of both non-public schools and public schools like SASD. The WIAA has come out against this budget provision as an “alarming precedent and an unacceptable over-reach” by the state government.

     

    Teacher licensing - The new law eliminates many standards for licensing teachers and, according to the SAA (School Administrators Alliance), “would position Wisconsin as having among the lowest entry standards for the teaching profession in the country.”

     

    New graduation requirements - A school district could not grant a student a high school diploma unless he/she passes a 100-question civics assessment. Additionally, there is a provision allowing up to ½ of a student’s credits required for graduation to be obtained via a learning portfolio. There is no guidance around how this process will work.

     

    ‘Apples and oranges’ assessments - School districts will not all have to take the same state assessment. That means parents likely will not have the information to make an “apples to apples” comparison of school districts’ academic performance data and be able to make fully informed decisions about where they send their kids to school. The budget bill also proposes a controversial five-star “rating” system for schools based on their performance on these assessments instead of the current system identifying how well schools meet expectations.

     

    State Aid - The Stoughton Area School District, and all public schools across the state, will have their state aid cut to allow for voucher expansion under this budget bill. Vouchers use public tax dollars to pay for a student’s private education, but studies have shown that voucher students perform no better than students in public schools, according to the School Administrators Alliance (SAA).

     

    Cost of vouchers - In year one, 1% of students from SASD could receive vouchers to attend private religious or secular schools. SASD would lose aid in the amount of $7,210 for an elementary or middle school student and $7,856 for each high school student to pay the private school voucher. In the first year, this could cost SASD approximately $237,000. Each year, the maximum number of students allowed to attend a voucher school increases by an additional percent (e.g. in year two up to 2% of students) and the state aid payment that the district loses for each student will increase. After 10 years, there would be no limit on the number of vouchers offered to students in our school district.

     

    Special education vouchers - Students receiving special education services could potentially attend a private school with a special education voucher. $12,000 per student would be cut from SASD’s state aid to fund each of these vouchers. Students enrolled in these private voucher schools would not be guaranteed the legal rights and protections afforded to them by federal law. There is no proposal to increase special education aid for public schools. The current budget proposal results in eight years without an increase in special education aid for public schools.

     

    These are just some of the provisions in the 40-page budget bill advanced by the Joint Finance Committee. The bill must still pass through the legislature before it reaches Governor Walker, but as is, we fear the current proposal erodes local control of schools, undermines school accountability and does not adequately fund our public education system. The district and our Board of Education will be sharing these concerns with our state legislators and the Joint Finance Committee, (listed below) but we wanted to keep you informed about how this proposal directly affects Stoughton Schools.

     

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Tim Onsager, District Administrator, Stoughton Area School District , (608) 877-5000

     

    Senate District

     

    13 Scott Fitzgerald (R - Juneau)

    Sen.fitzgerald@legis.wisconsin.gov

    15 Janis Ringhand (D - Evansville)

    Sen.ringhand@legis.wi.gov

    16 Mark Miller (D - Monona)

    Sen.miller@legis.wisconsin.gov

     

    Assembly 

    38 Joel Kleefisch (R - Oconomowoc)

    Rep.kleefisch@legis.wisconsin.gov

    43 Andy Jorgensen (D - Milton)

    Rep.jorgensen@legis.wisconsin.gov

    45 Mark Spreitzer (D - Beloit)

    Rep.spreitzer@legis.wisconsin.gov

    46 Gary Hebl (D - Sun Prairie)

    Rep.hebl@legis.wisconsin.gov

    47 Robb Kahl (D - Monona)

    Rep.kahl@legis.wisconsin.gov

     

    Joint Finance Chairs

    Senator Alberta Darling

    Sen.Darling@legis.wisconsin.gov

    Rep. John Nygren

    Rep.Nygren@legis.wisconsin.gov

     


  • posted about DAP meeting notes for May 18, 2015 on Facebook 2015-05-22 16:06:36 -0500
    DAP meeting notes for May 18, 2015

    DAP meeting notes for May 18, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for May 18, 2015

     

    There will be no meeting on May 25th, Memorial Day.  DAP members are encouraged to attend the ceremonies at DeForest Veterans Park at 11:00 a.m. Monday, May 25th.

     

    The meeting on June 1st will defer to the annual meeting of the Friends of the Yahara River Headwaters at 5:30 at the DeForest Area Community and Senior Center.  DAP members are urged to attend and join if you are not already a member.  There will be refreshments and a program with a featured speaker.

     

    The June 15th meeting will be movie night.  We will convene at 6:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, for a potluck dinner.  Bring a dish to share.  The movie will follow the potluck and will be “Citizens United: The Movie,” provided by Karen.

     

    Next regular  meeting: Monday, June 8, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hill neighborhood.

    Seven people attended the meeting on May 18th.

     

    JohnSki reported on a meeting of about 45 people he attended at St. Dunstan’s church on the subject of race relations in Madison.  The speaker was Brandi Grayson of Young, Gifted, and Black.  We discussed the subject along with the shooting of Tony Robinson, gun violence, and other related subjects.

     

    We discussed an article, recommended by Kathryn Scepanski, in the May 2015 issue of The Progressive magazine: “The Crucial Upper Midwest” by John Nichols about the importance of upper Midwestern progressivism to the Democratic Party in elections.  Peter has raised the issue several times at past meetings about how to influence the Democratic Party of Wisconsin to follow a more progressive agenda.

     

    Ginny asked for volunteers to help build the 4th of July float.  Peter, Karen, Leonardo, Frank, and JohnSki said they would help.  John St. is involved too.  Others are welcome, of course.  Ginny and John St. will shop for supplies.  Ginny will notify all DAP members when and where to show up to do the work.

     

    Ron Wolfe of GROW in Waunakee will be coming to a future meeting to talk about railroads.

     

    Karen said that Marcia will not be returning until the end of July.  She is busy with grandchildren in Washington state.

     

    Karen went to Syttenda Mai in Stoughton to hear Peter sing with the men’s chorus. She was impressed.

     

    Karen talked about the DeForest board’s resolution opposing Windsor’s incorporation as a village and its appropriation of $10,000 to hire a lobbyist to oppose it in the legislature.

     

    In reaction to some information on the costs of government services, Peter said it is important to educate the public on the costs of prisons, schools, and other government functions.

     

    Please review the information on upcoming meetings at the beginning of this memo and plan your attendance.


  • Active McFarland May 16, 2015

    Dear Friends,

     Here is the report for the May 16 Active McFarland Political Café. We will not meet on May 23 because of Memorial Day weekend, but will resume our café on May 30, as usual at 9:30 am at the McFarland House Café.

     Present for the May 16 café: Ron Berger, Jean & Denny Blackmore, Jim Lindemann, Dawn & Art Shegonee, Clair Utter, and McFarland High School students Brandon Delacy and Jessica Naze.

     Announcement: Thursday May 21, Active McFarland will host a talk by Mike McCabe, author of Blue Jeans in High Places, in the E.D. Locke Public Library at 7:00 pm.

     1) Dawn and Ron reported on the candidate forum sponsored by the Dane County branch of the Wisconsin Democratic Party at the Concourse hotel on May 13. Sheila Plotkin and Patrick Miles attended the forum as well. Five candidates are running for the position of chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party in an election that will be held at the state convention in Milwaukee on June 6. The grassroots community is somewhat divided between support for Jeff Smith and Martha Laning, with support leaning toward Smith. McFarland High School student Jessica Naze is interested in attending, and she is coordinating logistics with Dawn to make this happen.

     2) As usual, the discussion was wide-ranging, but included ironing out the publicity logistics for the May 21 talk by Mike McCabe (with Ron, Jean, Denny, and Jessica volunteering to work on the distribution of flyers), the challenges facing the public school system statewide, local policies affecting the Village of McFarland, the relationship between the Wisconsin grassroots community and the state Democratic Party, and the senatorial candidacy of Russ Feingold,

     3) Art initiated a discussion of youth involvement in movements of social change. Others suggested that McFarland High School political science teacher Matt Levin, who has been referring students to Active McFarland as a way to fulfill a class assignment, be contacted about being interviewed in the McFarland Thistle about these issues. Sheila Plotkin will be asked to pursue this idea with Matt.

     submitted by Ron Berger

     

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    Active McFarland: Exercising Democracy
    Email: activemcfarland@gmail.com
     
    A Grass Roots Organization made up of people from the McFarland area promoting democracy at all levels of Government