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Your Letters: July 27

4:06 PM, Jul. 26, 2013  |  Comments
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Budget harms public schools

There is a striking contrast between the July 3 Advocate front-page headline: "Budget cuts state aid to Door Schools," and the page A2 headline: "Bies happy with new state budget." Sadly, the just-signed budget reflects misplaced priorities of Representative Bies and Republican colleagues. The budget represents a continued attack on what should be our highest priority, a first-rate public school system preparing our youth for productive 21st century careers.

Door County schools will lose $677,027 in state aid in the 2013-14 school year. Tom Olson, Sturgeon Bay Schools business manager is quoted: "It's kind of troubling because more money will be coming from the taxpayers."

Taxpayers will also have to support statewide expansion of the voucher school program. Voucher schools are private schools that receive taxpayer funds to pay for tuition for students transferring from the public school system. Originally conceived as a choice for families in Milwaukee's (and subsequently, Racine's) troubled school system(s), voucher schools can now spread statewide.

What is wrong with voucher schools?

1. They are not subject to the same accountability and transparency requirements as public schools, such as:

? Participation in the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) report card system.

? Participation in standardized reading assessment.

? Requiring that teachers be licensed by DPI.

? Requiring background checks of all staff.

? Requiring special education staff if pupils needing such services attend the school.

? Requiring voucher schools to conform with DPI graduation requirements.

? Requiring a due process procedure when determining expulsion.

2. They don't work.

? Multiple studies demonstrate that voucher students perform no better, and even worse than their public school peers.

? The voucher program was created to give poorer, low-achieving students better educational op-portunities, but most children leaving voucher schools and returning to public schools are these same students.

? Most students transferring back out of voucher schools realize significant achievement gains once back in public school.

? Voucher schools less often identify and assist students requiring special education.

3. They force taxpayers to subsidize private and religious schools.

? In 2010, Milwaukee taxpayers paid more than $50 million in taxes for vouchers to private and religious schools.

? Voucher Schools will receive state aid (taxpayer funded) up to $7,856 per pupil in 2013-14.

? Door County schools survive by passing frequent referendums, and may now need to add the cost of voucher school(s) to our taxes.

While only one of many misplaced priorities in the state budget, expansion of the voucher program is one of the worst. The apparent cap of 500 students in 2013-14 and 1,000 students in 2014-15 is likely to be raised by future legislation.

Further fueling the drive to privatize our education system, those who pay private school tuition up to $10,000 per pupil will be able to deduct the cost from their income, thus shifting costs of state aid to education to the rest of the taxpayers.

So much for local control.

William Perloff

Liberty Grove

Trees are not the killers

A well-written editor's view (July 16) about country roads. This former Fish Creek/Ellison Bay resident, now an autumnal visitor (Go Pack!) for the last 30 years, has been scratching my head as to the local governments' "need" to cut down trees on Isle View, Cottage Row and Garrett Bay Road. I know and am fond of these roads.

It was probably in 1973 that my old neighbor veered off the road (Wisconsin 42) north of Carlsville, struck a tree, and unfortunately "paid the debt of nature." If my memory is working the way it should, I remember the county clear-cutting all of those mature, majestic, maples on both sides of highway 42 in response to the accident. Take that, you killer trees - Maybe it was a good thing my neighbor died, because she would have been aghast that HER actions had forever marred that landscape. Those tree stumps looked like gravestones to many of us for years.

I forgot about that loss because of the more egregious/recent debacle that was the southern portion of State Runway 42 . I wouldn't mind that scar if upon landing at Green Bay's Austin Straubel International Airport we could stay in our seats and kept motoring all the way to Sturgeon Bay. There is room ...

No longer living in the Midwest, I have leased vacation homes on both Isle View and Door Bluff roads (off of Garrett Bay Road) and never had a problem with trees jumping into the middle of the road, even after late dinners with friends at Husby's or The Mink River Basin.

While reading The Advocate online, I saw an article about a car taking out the "Welcome" sign in Carlsville (that's rich) and another about a skirmish between an automobile and some mailboxes somewhere near Baileys Harbor. Hmmm, why don't we remove ALL the cute little welcoming signs and mean mailboxes, as THEY are the quantified dangers, not the trees. Those Door County Sheriff's cars are too close to the roadside; please remove them, also. It would be safer and indeed, their absence would make us "cheerier" than your cute welcome-type signs.

Clear-Cut Door County,

Andy Byrne

Park City, Utah

State is moving backward

In my childhood, I went along with my friend to her parents' summer place in Wisconsin. I thought it was heaven - staying in a cabin, the forest, wildlife, lake, canoeing, swimming. As an adult, my own family and I became regular Wisconsin tourists - urged by my memories - and eventually residents. My kids grew up from babyhood on Wisconsin summer trips, across the north and to Door County.

Vacationing spread to extended family and farther. This is what happens with places you enjoy. And tourism economy grows. But a new Wisconsin disheartens us: politicians and hostile bear hound hunters taking over wildlife management, the entertainment of needlessly killing wolves (not depredating livestock or habituated to humans), brutal hound hunting, trapping and hunting in almost all state parks, mining (poisoning waterways and ancient land), failure to uphold tribal treaty rights, armed security in forests. All this where we vacation.

Thus the present Legislature supports destructive natural resource practices; Wisconsin moves backward, growing in disrepute. Hard to smother, corruption has a cost; only courts and elections could help fight unjust laws and officials neglecting the public, true democracy, and ethics.

To this administration, someone like me is invisible. Insignificant. Unknown.

We spent hours deep in the woods, hoping to catch glimpses of the beauty of living wildlife- especially the elusive wolf. Gov. Walker nonsensically said a wolf hunt "eases the burden" on "visitors." We were these visitors. We are tourists. The wildlife viewers: the majority. Wolves attracted me - not repelled or afflicted - unlike current political policy.

Shirley Clements

Fond du Lac

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

Retrieving results.
Watching practice is fine.(Your vote)
15%
575 votes
I'd rather watch a scrimmage.(Your vote)
23%
856 votes
I don't want to pay to watch practice.(Your vote)
27%
1015 votes
It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
34%
1271 votes

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