Shorewood taking stand against governor's school budget proposal

Published on: 4/12/2013

Shorewood - School district leaders are calling on community members to lend their support to a letter which says the Gov. Scott Walker's proposed 2013-15 budget threatens the quality of public education.

The district will collect signatures for the letter next week in an effort to sway legislators to revisit the governor's 2013-15 budget proposal, which freezes the state-mandated revenue limit, slightly increases state aid to schools and expands the voucher program which allows students to opt out of low-performing public schools in favor of private schools.

Alongside the letter, addressed to Walker, other legislators, and state committees, is a resolution passed by the School Board earlier this week and a fact sheet outlining the district's successes, budget concessions made in light of Act 10, and risks faced by the district as a result of the governor's proposal.

While other districts have been sending similar letters signed by their superintendents and school board members, Shorewood wants to put the weight of the community behind its version.

"(Cuts resulting from the governor's budget) affect not only the students and teachers in Shorewood's classrooms each day, but the community as a whole," Superintendent Martin Lexmond said in a news release. "We want to give our residents the opportunity to make their voices heard as well."

Specifically, the letter calls for: legislators to increase the state-mandated revenue limit - which controls how much districts can raise via the combination of state aid and local tax levy - by $250 per pupil for the next two years instead of zero as Walker has proposed; a new funding system for K-12 education which would allow districts to keep up with rising operational costs; the ability to waive state mandates like scheduling, school year state date, and upcoming teacher evaluation model; and financial support for implementation of expanded ACT testing.

The fact sheet says the governor's budget proposal would create an approximately $625,000 budget gap in the coming year.

"Traditional public schools are the only schools in the state required, equipped and privileged to serve all of the children of Wisconsin," Lexmond said in the release. "However, we cannot do our jobs as educators effectively without revenue that keeps pace with increased costs and new requirements."

Signatures will be collected for several days before the district sends the documents to Madison later next week. Community members can sign the petition in the superintendent's office within the high school.