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Governor’s plan for education? Fewer teachers, increased class sizes

Posted: 11/10/2011 9:59:00 AM

Teacher Sue Howe talks about how cuts affect her students.

Monona Grove teacher Sue Howe talks
about how the governor's state budget cuts
have impacted her students. A state survey
of superintendents shows there are nearly 4,000
fewer adults working in Wisconsin schools this year.

 

State budget cuts result in nearly 4,000 fewer educators

A state survey of superintendents shows the governor’s extreme education cuts have resulted in larger class sizes and fewer student programs in the vast majority of Wisconsin public schools.

Mary Bell, teacher and president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, said educators are concerned that with fewer adults in our schools to help students succeed, the state’s education tradition is in jeopardy. 

“Clearly Governor Walker’s $1.6 billion education cut is having an adverse impact on our schools and students across the state,” said Bell.

“Wisconsin has had a long tradition of valuing our public schools and supporting our students. Even in times of economic hardship and state budget problems, we have prioritized our schools and our kids,” she added.

Under Governor Walker and his followers in the state legislature, however, $1.6 billion has been cut from public school funding. The survey shows these cuts are having a profound impact on public schools and students. 

“There are 1,655 fewer teachers, 765 fewer aides and 776 fewer education support professionals. The result is larger class sizes, fewer opportunities for students and less help for children who are struggling. Important programs in art, music, physical education and even special education have been cut back or eliminated in 28 percent of the state’s school districts,” said Bell. 

Governor Walker claims that his policies have improved public education, but we see in our schools every day that that is not true. “You cannot cut $1.6 billion from Wisconsin public schools and not hurt our students,” said Bell.

In Sheboygan, teachers and education support professionals agreed to benefit concessions, even though they had an existing contract. Despite these concessions, the district had to cut 44 teaching positions, four administrators and 10 teacher aides. The district also cut programs in nearly all elective areas and special education. 

In Monona Grove, in addition to employee concessions, the district closed a school, reduced supplies and materials, used $850,000 in one-time federal funding and made a host of smaller cuts to other programs. In Reedsburg, course offerings were reduced in art, music, family and consumer economics, business and science.

The DC Everest School District made significant cuts and closed two elementary schools.

“You can travel anywhere in this state and find these stories about cuts and how they’re impacting students. Teachers are doing their best to do more with less, but with cuts of this size, students are paying the price,” Bell said.

To read the survey report, click here.

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The Wisconsin Education Association Council proudly represents dedicated public education employees across the state by amplifying their voices to ensure Wisconsin maintains high-quality public schools.

www.weac.org * www.facebook.com/myWEAC * www.twitter.com/weac

 

Follow what Wisconsin residents are saying about school accountability, quality & cuts at www.facebook.com/SpeakOutWisconsin.

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