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Governor celebrates school cuts while students pay the price

11/15/2011 2:20:41 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15, 2011
 

WEAC’s Bell: You can’t cut $1.6 billion from schools and not hurt our students

The release of the statewide property tax levy for school districts and the subsequent comments by Governor Walker celebrating the most severe state cuts to public schools since the Great Depression give further proof that the governor’s extreme policies are wrong for Wisconsin, hurting students and public education.

“Through a devastating state budget that cut $1.6 billion from Wisconsin public schools while at the same time tying the hands of local school boards from raising revenue to meet the needs of students, the governor has delivered a one-two punch to our schools,” said Mary Bell, a teacher and president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council.

“Last week, superintendents across the state reported there are nearly 4,000 fewer educators in the schools, class sizes are increasing and programs for special education, reading and more have been cut. They fully believe it will be worse next year, after one-time savings from employee concessions and federal stimulus funds are gone.”

The fact is, the governor’s numbers don’t add up. Consider:

FACT: 97 percent of school districts received less state aid this year than last, resulting in nearly 4,000 educator layoffs and larger class sizes.

FACT: At the same time the governor made the largest cuts to public schools since the Great Depression, he increased taxpayer funding for students to attend private voucher schools by more than $40 million and delivered millions more in tax breaks to out-of-state corporations.

FACT: The governor had a choice. He could have solved the root cause of the school funding flaw by adopting the state superintendent’s Fair Funding for Our Future plan – in which the state honors its commitment to public schools while property taxes are held in line. Instead he turned his back on Wisconsin students.

“The bottom line is that the governor is celebrating as our students pay the price,” Bell said. “You cannot cut $1.6 billion from Wisconsin public schools and not hurt our students.”

For more information on the effects of the governor’s cuts to Wisconsin public schools, go to the Department of Public Instruction news release on the superintendents’ survey.

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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.

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