Art Rainwater’s Monthly Column: Current School Finance System Needs to Change: “Advanced Courses May

Madison Schools Superintendent Art Rainwater:

School districts across Wisconsin are preparing to begin the yearly ritual of reducing services to their students. Under the current revenue caps there really is no choice for most of us. For most districts the easy choices were made long ago. After twelve years of revenue caps there are only choices left that harm our children.
At the same time that educational research is showing us more effective ways to ensure that all children learn, inadequate school finance systems are ensuring that we do not have the resources to implement what we know.
Or, the choice this year for some may be the reduction of the advanced courses (emphasis added) that allow our state’s students to be competitive with students globally, thus limiting the availability of the highly educated work force that our state needs to be competitive.

There are many budget posts on this site, including those that discuss health care costs, reading recovery, business services, state funding, local property taxes and a different point of view on school funding. Personally, for many reasons, I don’t see the current situation, modest annual budget growth, changing much. The more we yearn for additional state and federal dollars, the more we become dependent upon the political spaghetti associated with that type of funding. Having said all that, I do agree that the current model is a mess. I just don’t see it getting any better. We simply need to spend our annual $329M in the most effective, productive way possible.
I’m glad that Art is putting his words on the web! I look forward to more such publications.

One thought on “Art Rainwater’s Monthly Column: Current School Finance System Needs to Change: “Advanced Courses May”

  1. Indeed, it may be time to lobby for a change in the way that schools are funded, at the same time insuring that our district is functioning as efficiently as possible WITHOUT reducing options for arts, athletics and other activities as well as advanced courses. Each of these is crucial to at least some of our students. For many, those items mentioned are the essential connection to school for individual students. Any MMSD counselor will say that it is crucial to connect students to school through activities which keep them engaged. I note that a reduction in advanced classes is listed by Mr. Rainwater, but wonder. . . why can’t these classes be maintained as an option for those students who need or wish to take such courses?
    This option could be especially beneficial to low income students. Why would advanced courses cost significantly more to teach than other courses if offered as one option for students to choose? This morning’s paper identifies a plan that will be proposed by Gov. Doyle this evening. This plan will support students who make a commitment to studies, including taking college prep courses. College prep and other advanced courses (AP?) may be essential to some students and, apparently may be the key to assistance in college funding. Let’s be sure that MMSD students have all those advantages offered to students from other districts!

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