Push for changes in school financing

A letter to the editor
Dear Editor: I appreciated Susan Troller’s recent article where she examined the impact of eroding budgets on schools and classrooms throughout Madison. Unfortunately, this situation is not unique to Madison schools.
The repeated cutting of school budgets is strongly affecting classrooms, teachers and students in scores of school districts throughout Wisconsin. I feel confident that Madison schools, and many other school districts, are years past cutting the “frills” from their budgets school boards and administrators are now forced to make cuts that truly affect the quality of education that our children are receiving.
These current cuts, and inevitable future cuts, are a direct result of statewide school finance restrictions that have been placed on local communities by our state Legislature since the mid-1990s. School funding is extremely complicated, and I won’t begin to try to explain it here. What I will do, however, is invite readers to educate themselves on this very important issue. A good place to begin is the Web site of the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools, www.excellentschools.org.
After we better educate ourselves, we need to have conversations with our neighbors, our friends, our school personnel and our policy makers. School financing, as it currently exists, is not going to change unless we help to make it change. And if our current school financing system does not change, then our schools will cease to be the national leaders that they still are today. And the ones who truly will lose out are our children.
I encourage readers to learn about school financing and to engage in positive dialogue with others so that we can quickly find creative solutions.
Barbara Katz
Published: May 26, 2006
The Capital Times