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Letter: Walker's cuts hurting education

9:10 PM, Apr. 2, 2013  |  Comments

When it comes to funding public education Wisconsin is in quite the rough patch. In Gov. Doyle's last term $250 million was cut from school aid. Gov. Walker topped that by cutting $1 billion. In his proposed budget, Walker wants a two-year freeze of funding for our children's education. The optimist will say this is a move in the right direction because funds are not being cut.

Common sense will lead you to realize that since things like fuel cost more every year this freeze is just a cut in sheep's clothing. How are schools supposed to deliver a quality education in the face of such cuts? How are schools supposed to deal with new unfunded mandates from the state with no new money? For example, things called RTI, PBIS, Common Core, and ACT Suite are being mandated and will require considerable resources and money.

If you ask Gov. Walker, he will tell you not to worry because he has given schools the "tools" they need to deal with massive cuts in funding. In Sheboygan (which is where I work) using the tools means we are serving the same number of students as five years ago, but doing so with 100 fewer teachers. Using the tools means larger class sizes from elementary through high school. Using the tools means programs like foreign language are forced to teach multiple levels in one class of 40 students. Using the tools means the closing of a neighborhood school.

If every district is facing similar issues related to the cuts in state aid, why are we not hearing more about it? Districts are wary of discussing what opportunities for students they are removing for fear that parents will school choice their children to a different district. The bottom line is Gov. Walker's continued cuts in funding are hurting the children of Wisconsin.

Tony Johannes

Kiel

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