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Resource Pages on the Issues

1. Offenses to Public Education

The 2011-12 legislative session launched an unprecedented series of attacks on public education and the people that work there.  Not all bills passed, but the scope of introduced change was breathtaking, including efforts to:  limit the authority of the constitutional office of state superintendent, eliminate the right of collective bargaining, reduce educator compensation, expand private school vouchers, and create a new state authority to expand private charter and virtual schools statewide.  In the link below, please find a list of significant education-related proposals introduced in the most recent legislative session. When cuts to higher education, technical colleges and K-12 education are combined, they represent the single largest reduction in education funding in state history.  

Legislative actions against public education


2. Historic Reductions in Funding do not Help the Schools

Orwell would be proud to live in a world where politicians cut $1.6 billion from the schools and then claim that education is better off:  it’s a classic example of using rhetoric in an effort to overturn reality.  You can't cut funding by $1.6 billion and not hurt the quality of education. Both educators and schools suffered ill effects from unprecedented cuts in funding. 

Employee “savings” enacted into law do not equal reductions in school funding. Budget gaps still remain which affect programs and services for children.  That's why so many schools are reducing and eliminating class offerings around the state.  Economic harm done to educators, moreover, is harm done to the process of education itself.  Any suggestion that education is better off when the economic status of teachers is significantly diminished flies in the face of common sense and everything we know about economic behavior.  Cuts in state funding harmed school quality and the information and data below make that point.

Schools face a $300 million gap--even with the "tools"

Public education just received one of the largest cuts in state history. Along with these cuts came a new set of “tools,” which asked educators to reduce take home pay in exchange for benefits. The public is often told that schools are not being harmed by historic cuts in funding because of the savings found in employee compensation. This claim, however, is not true.  When all revenue reductions are considered, schools face a budget gap even after employee concessions. 

Act 10 maximum savings

The effects of state budget cuts on public education

The state budget reduced school aid by $800 million, and total revenue for school districts (revenue controls) by an unprecedented $1.6 billion.  That represents an average $550 decrease per pupil (a 5.5 percent reduction).  When all revenues are assessed, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities determined that Wisconsin imposed the second largest per pupil cuts in the nation.   

The Governor's misstatements on revenue control survey findings

Comparing old and new revenue surveys

New DPI staff data documents loss in employees

DPI school staffing press release April 2012
District by district FTE data
State map of loss by district

The effects of state budget cuts: fall survey data

WASDA and DPI 2010-11 Survey: Significant Findings
DPI press release on survey
DPI press conference video
DPI survey report
Politifacts rates Walker's comments on school cuts "false"

Individual school district effects: April 2012

LaCrosse school district down 60 staff to retirement
Manitowoc cuts eight more staff
Marshfield cuts German and elementary music
Rhinelander students protest teacher cuts
Pardeeville can't save all jobs
Marshfield down ten teachers
MPS down 400 positions
Kenosha down 274 school employees
Oconomowoc down 15 teachers
Rhinelander: proposed 20 percent reduction in paraprofessionals, outsourcing custodians
Manitowoc down 20 teaching positions
Menomonee Falls issues 52 layoff notices
Jefferson proposed cuts to guidance, library and special education
Neenah cuts 25 support staff
Burlington proposed 17 staff cuts
Mukwonago to cut at least 11 full time staff
Merrill: 5 teacher layoff notices
Lake Holcombe cuts six staff
LaCrosse under budget pressure--staff cuts possible
Beloit: loss of 6 to 10 positions through attrition
Frederic: cuts to music and counseling
Lodi: might close school, layoff staff
Budget effects on Superior school district
Portage employee contributions don't outweigh cuts in state aid