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Budget Letters from Wisconsin School Districts

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

An ever-expanding group of Wisconsin school districts have passed resolutions or sent letters to legislators, parents, and other community members, urging changes to the proposed state education budget. The DPI is compiling these materials at

“The proposed state budget for education threatens to undermine [our district’s] child-centered values,” writes Elk Mound Superintendent Ronald Walsh, on behalf of his school board.

“If passed as proposed by the governor, this budget will take us back to where we were about six years ago in funding.”

After closing a facility, trimming benefits, and taking other measures, the Black Hawk School District “has run out of options to make cuts and still afford our students a quality education,” superintendent Willy Chambers and Board President Kerry Holland write.

The Black Hawk administrators also object to “the shift to funnel tax dollars to private voucher schools,” noting public schools’ “budgets will suffer, our referenda amounts will be forced higher, and our local students will not benefit.”

The Black Hawk letter links to further background materials and provided contact info for local legislators.

A consortium of districts in the Fox Valley urged five priorities: a single assessment system, ungraded school report cards, funding to keep up with inflation, funding for cost of living increases to staff, and stopping the siphoning of public money to private schools through vouchers.

For the Fox Point-Bayside School District, a significant issue is the governor’s proposed elimination of Chapter 220, “the state’s first parental choice program,” which allows students of color to choose to attend mostly white schools outside their district.

Superintendent Vance Dalzin, School Board President David Smulyan, and other administrators asked legislators to restore the program, for “promoting racial and cultural integration options for parents and improving quality of life for all students” — and also to correct a certain “unintended consequenceand also to correct a certain “unintended consequence.” Fox Point-Bayside is one of the state’s 46 districts that serve students from kindergarten through eighth grade. Because of the wording of the governor’s proposal, Chapter 220 options would be cancelled when students switch districts for high school, meaning many Fox Point-Bayside students would be forced apart from their lifelong classmates on reaching ninth grade.