School-Funding Update from WAES (WI Alliance for Excellent Schools)

Referendum soundly defeated in Phillips School District
Greendale voters support $14 million tax levy
North Carolina will use lottery proceeds for schools
Slot machine revenue not best bet for public schools
What’s new in the anti-TABOR toolbox?
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.

Referendum soundly defeated in Phillips School District
An $830,000, non-recurring five-year referendum for operation and maintenance was soundly defeated last week by the voters in the Phillips School District, with 851 people voting yes and 1,783 voting no ( ).
According to superintendent Jerry Trochinski, if approved, the referendum would have covered expenses in the 2006-07 school year and thereafter (
The official vote tally found the referenda going down to defeat in all 12 of the district’s voting locations, including the village and town of Catawba, home of the Catawba School which, according to Trochinski, may be closed along with staff and other cuts throughout the Phillips School District.
Greendale voters support $14 million tax levy
Greendale School District residents voted overwhelmingly at their annual meeting in support of a $14 million property tax levy for the upcoming school year ( The “yes” vote came despite strong opposition from the Greendale Taxpayers Group, who expressed concerns over high property tax bills in the village.
The budget was approved by a show of hands raised with green cards. No more than two dozen of those in the crowd raised their green cards to reject the budget. Hundreds of others raised green cards to approve it.
During the questin-and-answer session of the annual meeting, voters on both sides of the issue expressed a need for state officials to stop relying on property taxes to fund schools and, instead, suggested a new funding source, something WAES has been working on for several years. The Wisconsin Adequacy plan can be found at
North Carolina will use lottery proceeds for schools
After repeated failed attempts, North Carolina legislators have narrowly passed a lottery bill, the proceeds of which will be used to fund numerous school projects ( vhf Mpn aK%2BLo2WpfbrU ).
Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue cast the deciding vote in the state Senate to approve the controversial measure, 25-24.
The lottery is expected to reap more than $400 million annually, money that is slated for college scholarships, school construction, needy school districts, class-size reduction, and the state’s pre-school initiative.
Slot machine revenue not best bet for public schools
Although the revenue would be used to provide up to $1 billion in property tax relief (, not all the school district in Pennsylvania are thrilled with a plan proposed by Gov. Ed Rendell.
Only 111 school districts decided to take part in the program, known as Act 72, a 20-percent participation rate that was a political embarrassment to Rendell. The Governor has pledged to force boards to take part in Act 72, but will face strong opposition from the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.
According to Scott Shewell, an association spokesperson, “We are not in favor of mandating Act 72 because it doesn’t address the longer-term issues of controlling costs for school districts, addressing state and federal mandates or creating a comprehensive public education funding system for Pennsylvania.”
What’s new in the anti-TABOR toolbox?
The revenue limits put on Wisconsin’s public schools back in 1993 have had a devastating affect on many schools and children. Despite that track record, there are a handful of state legislators and others who want to make it worse.
This group is trying to amend the state constitution in order to force every unit of state and local government to freeze spending at current levels. Known as TABOR (which stands, facetiously, for Taxpayers Bill of Rights), the amendment, if passed would also allow any local government to ignore any new state law that isn’t “paid for.” TABOR has been in Colorado’s constitution since 1992, and residents in that state are now facing serious problems because there is not enough money to run state operations effectively.
If TABOR should ever go into effect in Wisconsin, hope for needed school-funding reform will be dashed. To learn what you can do to fight for local control, top-notch state and local government services, and adequate school funding, go to, click on “Projects,” then on “Taxes,” and, finally, on “TABOR.”
School-funding reform calendar
Sept. 21 — “Building Community Support for School-finance Reform” discussion for public school superintendents at the “Red Gym,” 716 Langdon Street, Madison (next to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Memorial Union), 3:45 to 5:45 p.m. (contact Tom Beebe, 414-384-9094 or If you haven’t registered but still want to attend, this click on “Reply” to this e-mail and let me know you’re coming.
Sept. 22 — School-funding reform presentation at 7 p.m. at the North Side Public Library in Kenosha (sponsored by the Kenosha/Racine AAUW)
Sept. 23 — School-funding presentation at the Wisconsin Valley Business Officials, Building & Grounds Supervisors and Food Supervisors meeting, 9 a.m., Club 64, Merrill
Sept. 27 — School-funding reform discussion with the Board of Directors and State Legislative Committee of the Wisconsin Retired Educators Association, Baraboo
Oct. 1 — School-funding reform presentation at the Wisconsin PTA Leadership Conference in Racine (go to and click on “Conference Registration”)
Oct. 5 — School-funding reform discussion at staff inservice for the Baraboo School District, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., at the Jack Young Middle School
Oct. 13-14 — School-funding reform presentations for the Northwestern Wisconsin Education Association at Eau Claire Memorial High School, 2225 Keith Street (presentations at 12:25 p.m. on Oct. 13 and 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 14)
Oct. 18 — School-funding reform presentation fo Grassroots of Waukesha County, 7 p.m.
Nov. 16 — School-funding reform presentation at the “Taking Care of Business” presentation of the Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials in Pewaukee
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.

Tom Beebe, Outreach Specialist
Institute for Wisconsin’s Future
1717 South 12th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53204
414-384-9094 (office)
920-650-0525 (cell)