Florence School District Likely to Close in One Year

In northern Wisconsin Florence County Schools Likely To Close. The local school board voted 6-1 to consider closing the schools.
Since 1998-1999 school year, Florence School District:
student population declined 15%
property tax share of school costs increased 16%
state contribution to school costs decreased 15.7%
cost to educate a child increased 23.3%
With changes like this coupled with the recent absence of meaningful discussions by the WI government on public education, more school closing/mergers are likely.
When are we going to have the discussion – what does it cost to educate a child? When will the WI government get down to seriously discussing the business of financing the public education of Wisconsin’s children and stop the unproductive rhetoric saying we’re spending more on schools than ever without having any idea of what level of investment is needed to fund public education? The state is happy to avoid the question blathering on about taxes and giving money to special projects all the while shifting the costs of education to property tax payers, an approach that won’t work much longer.
How many more school districts have to close? How many more kids have to be displaced?
School district leadership bears some of the responsibility of meaningful strategic discussions about the future of financing public education and examining different approaches. More on that topic in a later blog.
Immediate issue is a state government that is not seriously undertaking the issue of school financing but is giving tax credits to home and private schooling while avoiding important discussions about the financing of public schools, which is part of the state’s constitution. The United States is littered with examples of state governments who have avoided this responsibility – why does WI have to be one of those states?