State Superintendent Tony Evers focused on the importance of funding schools in remarks to last week’s State Education Convention.
Meanwhile he responded, in a separate public statement, to new projections of a surplus in state revenue. “The state has an opportunity to make an investment in our kids and their schools that will have a substantial impact on student learning,” he said.
The State Education Convention is organized by the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators, and the Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials.
Evers said he’s “tired of hearing,” from every single district he visits, that “additional funding would unlock new opportunities for them.”
For example, he spoke about three divergent districts he visited recently:
- Herman-Neosho-Rubicon School District (HoNoR Schools), formed this school year after three neighboring communities made the tough decision to consolidate “to maintain and improve the education opportunity they provide for their kids;”
- Hortonville, where exemplary collaborative mental health services will eventually run out their initial grant; and
- St. Croix Falls, where community support has passed referenda, building many programs that help students excel.
Evers urged participants to use his Fair Funding for Our Future plan as “a ready-made blueprint ... in your discussions with your communities and legislators.”
Fair Funding for Our Future is “based on the idea of transparency, fairness in distribution, and protecting all districts during the initial years from losing money due to the change.”
Governor Walker and legislative leaders have started to voice support for increased school funding, and Evers credits that change to pressure applied by local communities -- through continued referenda, discussion, and engagement with community groups.
Evers closed with a number: $38,000.
“That’s the average per pupil amount our recent presidents have spent on their own kids’ schools.
“We’re not asking for $38,000 a kid – we’re asking for a reasonable, sustained commitment from the state.”