WISDOM has long been concerned about the issue of school funding. Spending
caps have institutionalized inequities and have steadily eroded the
quality of public schools in nearly every district in Wisconsin – as
fixed costs rise faster than the spending limits. WISDOM is proud to be
a founding member of WAES (the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent
Schools). We will continue until there is a fair funding system that
provides for the real needs of all our children.
The following are
areas of concern for us as the state legislature considers the 2007-09
State school aid for children with special needs, students
learning English, and students from poor families has not risen
along with the real cost to districts. Districts need increased help to
deal justly with these children.
Programs like SAGE and K-4 have proven to be of real
benefit to our children, especially those from poverty backgrounds.
Increased funding for these programs is among the best investments
Wisconsin can make.
Studies show that a sure way to close the “achievement gap” would
be to close the “health care gap.” The Governor’s proposed budget will
include funding for 24 new school nurses in 37 of the highest poverty
schools in Milwaukee. This provision must be maintained and
expanded. Healthy children are children who can learn.
Everyone agrees that the school funding system is broken. The
Pope-Roberts/Breske (LRB1211) joint resolution represents a
commitment by legislators to finally solve the school-funding crisis
by July 1, 2009.
While schools represent our most important investment in the
future, we cannot fund them by taking money from other vital services,
like public safety, health care, and transportation. To reform school
funding, Wisconsin needs to have the courage to also reform its tax
system. It is vital that everyone (including corporations,
professional service companies and wealthy organizations) pay their fair
share of taxes, not just homeowners and small businesses.