To the Editor-
I am writing this letter today as a citizen of Portage County, Wis. and the City of Stevens Point.
I am not writing this as a member of the Stevens Point Area Public School District.
I am writing this because for the first time in years I am scared. The actions that are coming out of Madison scare the heck out of me.
School funding is at one its lowest points in the history of Wisconsin. We are starting to lose quality staff to other states so they are able to make a living wage.
We as a district are now having to all deal with vouchers. What happened to the separation of church and state? Why are school districts and voucher schools not put on an even basis?
It is the public school district that transports students to private schools. It is the private schools that can pick and choose their prospective students, and yet no testing is done to see if our tax dollars are wisely spent. If a student needs special services that the private school does not offer, they are shipped off to the local school district for those services and yet the dollars stay with the private schools.
All we are asking for is to be on an even keel with the private schools.
Years ago school funding took a big hit. That hit was called revenue limits. But the party in power made it better by having the school districts offer the QEO.
You all remember the QEO (3.8 percent). It was supposed to be the amount of raises that the district was required to offer each year. It was meant to be the maximum but in most cases ended up as just the starting point.
Let’s see now, if a school district was required to offer a minimum of 3.8 percent per year in staff raises, but Madison only gave the district a raise in funds of 1.7 percent, it doesn’t take a solvent district or a voucher school to tell us that 1.7- 3.8=disaster.
The party of no new taxes, forces school districts into referendums that are nothing more than an additional tax, but the party has clean hands since the people themselves voted for or against the tax.
Isn’t it time that we set partisan politics aside, and started doing our best for the students of Wisconsin? If we do not fund public education soundly, what will happen to us as we get older?
Will there be assembly and senate members, and a governor with the education to present bills and vote to help us? Will our generation be the one that causes a future crisis in our state?
I believe it is time we sat together in a room and made the changes needed to properly fund public education in Wisconsin. Let’s learn from each other and show our children what real leaders are all about. We are not about opposing parties but about what is best for our state.
Please, I am tired of being scared of what my future and my children’s future will be because of our present.
I am asking for your help, be it Republican or Democrat, Libertarian, or Independent.
Let’s be Wisconsinites first.
The above only talks about operational expenses, it doesn’t even start to cover expenses to keep our buildings in good condition or for added security.
Samuel L. Levin, Stevens Point