Governor Scott Walker has proposed a budget for the next two years that offers nothing new to Wisconsin’s public schools. If we don’t do something─and the budget passes as presented─private schools will receive your tax dollars to expand in communities throughout the state. And our already underfunded public schools will get NOTHING.
If you think this is wrong some members of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee are going to give you a chance to speak up. Seven additional hearings have been scheduled:
- April 20 in Milwaukee — Milwaukee Public Schools Administration Building, 5225 West Vliet Street, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- April 22 in Wausau — UW Marathon County, 518 South 7th Ave., 4 to 7 p.m.
- April 23 in Madison — Black Hawk Middle School, 1402 Wyoming Way, 4 to 7 p.m.
- April 24 in Wisconsin Rapids — Wisconsin Rapids City Council Chambers, 444 West Grand Avenue, 5 to 7 p.m.
- April 25 in Appleton — Fox Valley Technical College, D.J. Bordini Business and Industry Center, Room 103, 5 Systems Drive, 4 to 7 p.m.
- April 27 in Rice Lake — Barron County Courthouse, 1420 Wisconsin 25, 10 a.m.
- April 29 in Eau Claire — Chippewa Valley Technical College, 620 West Clairemont Avenue, 4 to 7 p.m.
Budgets are supposed to reflect the priorities of Wisconsin’s citizens. Quality education and fairness should be at the top of the list. This budget is neither fair nor good for children. Legislators need to know three things: (http://wisconsinsfuture.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Talking_points.pdf)
- Expanding the unproven voucher program to communities around the state is bad public policy. At the very least it needs to be taken out of the budget and debated separately.
- Second, the budget must be fair. In the Governor’s proposal, no new resources would be sent to the state’s 872,000 public school children, yet students in the voucher program would get up to $1,400 each.
Finally, the Legislature must provide an increase in aid that supports the state's constitutional obligation to fund public education.
And, don’t forget to let them know that once the budget is finished it will be time to reform the funding system that has taken hundreds of millions of dollars of opportunities away from our children over the last two decades. Remind them that State Superintendent Tony Evers’ “Fair Funding for Our Future” proposal is ready to go and a step in the right direction. Tell them you will hold them accountable for doing the right thing.
Most importantly, we hope you can show up and tell your story about the value of the public schools in your community. Make your presence felt on behalf of your children. Not everyone has to speak. You can submit written testimony and register in opposition to the budget. Bring others, or even a crowd. If one or two people want to speak, the others can stand and lend support. This is a numbers game and it’s important to show the majority of Wisconsinites support their public schools.
Bring your children and invite students to attend the hearing …. let the legislators know what’s at stake by telling personal stories. Make sure your school is represented. Wear your colors or a school shirt. Bring signs, wear buttons, or wave pennants (at least outside of the hearing room). Look for opportunities to talk with the media.
If you have any questions, please contact Tom Beebe at 920-650-0525 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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