School Funding Update

I received the following email update from Tom Beebe ( on school funding:
Exciting week for school-funding reform advocates
Florence High School is newest school to join Youth ROC
Baraboo brings WAES school district partnerships to 41
Two more school-funding forums held
WCCF analyzes Governor�s budget
Still not too late to tell the Governor to veto AB58

School-funding reform calendar
The Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools (WAES) is a statewide network of educators, school board members, parents, community leaders, and researchers. Its Wisconsin Adequacy Plan — a proposal for school-finance reform — is the result of research into the cost of educating children to meet state proficiency standards.
Exciting week for school-funding reform advocates
For those rooting for school-funding reform─especially as a partner in WAES─it�s been an exciting week.
Governor Jim Doyle has started to release more of his 2005-07 budget. In addition to $850 million in property tax relief � by increasing state aid to public schools � the governor also included $90 million in new money in the form of additional categorical aid. Although it accounts for only modest increases, they are significant and signal the need for more revenue.
Most recently, the Governor talked about $30.9 million in transportation aid over the next two years. If approved, it would be the first increase in 15 years. To see the press release and the increase for selected districts, go to To see the project transportation aid for all districts, go to .
Equally as exciting, 74th District Rep. Gary Sherman, a Port Wing Democrat, says he will be introducing a bill to radically change the way Wisconsin funds its public schools, starting with the cost-out recommended by WAES. According to Rep. Sherman�s press release (, �the bill requires a study of the costs of providing an adequate education under the widely varying circumstances throughout the state.�
Florence High School is newest school to join Youth ROC
After taking part on the losing side in a bitterly fought referendum to keep their school district running, Florence High School students have regrouped and stepped up their commitment to school-funding reform by joining Youth ROC.
Youth Reclaiming Our Communities─or Youth ROC─is a statewide program for high school students who are committed to building a youth movement around school-funding reform.
Florence, located in northeastern Wisconsin, is in danger of losing its schools because of the state funding system. �If our community loses its school,� said junior Sadie Wendt, we lose everything. People won�t want to move here anymore. Florence would turn into a ghost town.�
With the addition of Florence, the Youth ROC organizing team now numbers 51 students from nine schools in six districts, with dozens more involved in local school clubs. To join the student coalition or learn more, go to
Baraboo brings WAES school district partnerships to 41
The Baraboo School District in central Wisconsin is the newest partner in the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools. It becomes the 41st school district in the diverse, statewide, and broad-based coalition and the 89th organization. To see all of the WAES partners, go to
WAES partners believe in four core principles ( schools need additional resources; the new funding system needs to be a foundation system based on the needs of all students; local control must be maintained and expanded; and new revenue cannot come from property taxpayers.
Learn how you can join by going to
Two more school-funding forums held
Two more school-funding reform community forums were held recently, one in Kenosha on Feb. 19 and the second, March 3, in Stevens Point. The next forum will be held tonight, March 7, at Fall River High School.
Tonight’s forum is being co-sponsored by the Columbia-Sauk County League of Women Voters the school districts of Beaver Dam, Columbus, Fall River, and Marshall; and the Columbus Education Association. It begins at 7 p.m. at the Fall River High School (150 Bradley Street). The agenda includes presentations from WAES, the Governor�s office, and the Department of Public Instruction, as well as a discussion by panel members including students, teachers, school administrators, and parents.
Over 100 people attended the March 3 forum at the Charles White Library in Stevens Point. It featured Dean Ryerson, superintendent of the Wisconsin Rapids School District and a member of the Governor�s Task Force on Educational Excellence ( Rep. John Lehman, Democrat from Racine and the 62nd Assembly District, and 22nd District Sen. Bob Wirch, a Democrat from Pleasant Prairie, headlined the Racine-Kenosha forum in late February. You can read more about both of them at .
WCCF analyzes Governor�s budget
Governor Jim Doyle�s budget has a significant impact on children and families, not just through public school-funding changes, but also through many other public school related issues.
The Wisconsin Council of Children and Families (WCCF) has done an excellent job of breaking the budget, now known as AB100, down and showing its impact in an understandable format. It can be found at
WCCF is nonprofit, multi-issue child and family advocacy agency.
Still not too late to tell the Governor to veto AB58
While Governor Jim Doyle�s budget protects public school funding, the majority party’s answer, Assembly Bill 58, freezes taxes and could actually further reduce public school aid (see for a comparison of the two).
AB58, passed by the Assembly and the Senate, has not been sent to the Governor, yet. He said he will veto it, but, according to press accounts, the majority party is hoping a ground swell of opinion will convince him to sign the freeze legislation.
We can’t afford to let that happen. Contact the Governor now and urge him to veto AB58. Supporters of the freeze are sending out mass answering machine messages. You need to do your part in countering this ploy.
You can e-mail Gov. Doyle at, call him at 608-266-1212, or fax him at 608-267-8963.
School-funding reform calendar
March 7 — Columbus area “School-funding reform community forum” in the auditorium at Fall River High School (contact Ken Bates at or 920-623-5950)
Postponed … March 10 — School-funding reform presentation sponsored by Project ABC in Waukesha at 7 p.m.
March 11 — School-funding reform presentation at Edgewood College in Madison
March 12 — School-funding reform presentation at the AFT-Wisconsin conference in Superior
March 16 — School-funding reform presentation in Wausau for Marian College education program
April 14 — School-funding reform presentation in Baraboo
Please feel free to share your copy of the WAES school-funding update with anyone interested in school-finance reform. Contact Tom Beebe ( at 414-384-9094 for details.

Thomas S. Beebe, Education Outreach Specialist
Institute for Wisconsin’s Future
1717 South 12th Street
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53204
414-384-9094 (voice)
414-384-9098 (fax)
920-650-0525 (cell)