Updated: Saturday, 26 Jun 2010, 9:53 PM CDT
Published : Saturday, 26 Jun 2010, 9:53 PM CDT
Budget cuts, referendums, schools closing and consolidating. It has been the story around the state and many districts say it is because of the revenue caps in the current funding formula.
"We've adjusted, restructured, eliminated programs and staff," said Greg Maass, Superintendent of Green Bay Area Schools. "Instead of planning ahead with confidence, you really plan ahead with uncertainty."
The state's teacher's union, Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), has also been an advocate of funding reform and says it supports the plan announced by State Superintendent Tony Evers.
"Classroom teachers and members across the state all rely on the state tax dollars and funding of public education," said WEAC President, Mary Bell. "The superintendent's plan makes those makes those dollars very transparent."
While many of the details have yet to be released, Evers says his plan will:
- Provide a minimum level of state aid for every student, no matter where in Wisconsin they live.
- Use student poverty as a factor in determining a portion of state aid.
- Expand aid for rural schools, where transportation is an issue.
Evers plans to do this by reallocating hundreds of millions of property tax credits from schools, which currently show up on property tax bills in December.
"By allocating nearly $900 million School Tax Levy Credit, which does not pay for one single child to be educated, into general school aids we will hold net property taxes statewide steady," said Evers.
The plan would have to be approved by the both the Assembly and the Senate before coming law. The legislature, which is currently controled by Democrats, will not be in session until after fall elections. By then, voters will not only choose a new governor but decide which party will control the Statehouse.
"It's just if BP would come to people who drive cars right now and ask for a buck more a gallon to study gas guzzlers," said State Rep. Phil Montgomery, R, Green Bay. "No, fix the well."
Richard Parins with The Brown County Taxpayers' Association says he wants to see exactly how the plan will affect taxpayers but says opening the discussion is an encouraging step.
"The best part I think about what the superintendent is talking about is we are going to have maybe some accountability for results," said Parins. "I think that's what people really want to see."