A guest blog from South Milwaukee School Board member Doug Perry and Blaise Paul, the South Milwaukee School District director of business services …
The School District of South Milwaukee is once again being asked to do more with less.
For many years our expense increases outpaced our revenue ability. The District had to make reductions, and over 50 teaching positions were eliminated, between 2003-2011. In 2011, we had an unprecedented cut to our revenue (over 6% reduction). The unprecedented reduction in revenue was accompanied by cost control measures that allowed us to unilaterally shift costs. We cut benefits to staff to balance the loss of revenue. The following three years were accompanied by revenue limit increases between half percent to one percent per year. As we navigated through the minimal increases, we continued to reduce specific budgets and cut benefits to staff to balance the budget.
We are now being faced with a budget proposal that makes a half percent increase look like a windfall. The Governor’s budget proposal includes a $460,000 reduction to our revenue ability for 2015-16. We are at a point where after 12 years of eliminating positions, eliminating programs, cutting benefits and limiting wage increases, we will start impacting our students in a way that will not be easily reversed.
The School District of South Milwaukee is advocating for a $200 per pupil increase to the revenue limit and to not decrease our funding by $460,000 as the Governor has proposed. Please go to the Business Office website to find out more information regarding the impact of the proposed budget on the School District of South Milwaukee. (http://www.sdsm.k12.wi.us/district/financialreports.cfm)
If possible, contact members of the State Joint Finance Committee, our local representatives and Governor Walker, and share the South Milwaukee Story with them and advocate for a $200 per pupil increase and to not reduce revenue to South Milwaukee Schools by $460,000. Draft letters and phone conversations developed by the district parent group can also be found on our website. Legislative contact information can be found at: http://www.sdsm.k12.wi.us/cms_files/resources/Legislative%20Contacts.pdf
Thank you for your time and dedication to our Community!
I will add this: I 100% stand with our schools on this issue. We must invest in public education, and make a real commitment to adequately funding our local schools. It’s time for our governor and legislative leaders in Madison to put the partisanship aside and come together around common-sense solutions here.
The cuts can’t continue. They’re not sustainable, and their impact is real.
I am proud to send my two kids to Rawson Elementary School. And I always keep them front and center when I consider the issue of education funding. This is not just a local issue, it’s a household issue.
That’s why fixing our broken public education funding system is so critical.
Join our schools (and me) in advocating for solutions that adequately invest in public schools.