Guest Blog: Stand Up In Favor Of Our Local Schools!

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.

14 Comments

Filed under Schools, South Milwaukee

14 responses to “Guest Blog: Stand Up In Favor Of Our Local Schools!

    • Anonymous

      If I understand the testing dilemma correctly the school district would face sanctions which would reduce funding if they didn’t do state mandated testing. The Department of Education at the federal level and the DPI at the state level are the ones to go after for testing concerns. The local school district is working within the parameters set out by others in this case.

  1. Kim

    Here’s information that comes from the ATF and the cost related to testing. http://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/news/testingmore2013.pdf

  2. Kim

    I often wondered why our school district neglected to inform parents they had the right to opt out of testing. This article may give you a little insight. When we are chasing the mighty dollar we loose our direction. Maybe its time to focus on what is important to our students and teachers. https://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/twisted-validity-guilting-parents-to-opt-kids-to-test-in-order-to-save-teachers-and-school/

    • Anonymous

      That letter is quite interesting.

      Isn’t it peculiar that we don’t let kids drive cars or make their own medical decisions. We have curfews in place so they cannot legally go wherever they want whenever they want to. BUT we (as a nation) are wiling to let student test scores be used to determine how well teachers are teaching? The kids in my house are awesome people and I love them dearly, but they sometimes get distracted on the way to the bathroom to brush their teeth (something they’ve done multiple times a day since they had teeth.) They’re dependable to an age appropriate point, so it’s scary that they wield enough power to affect a teacher’s performance review.

  3. SM Guy

    Weren’t we one of the districts that hurried up to sign a contract while Act 10 was being contested, rather than take advantage of it?

  4. Rich

    Suck it up and rein in your spending.

    • Jim

      How many children do you have in the South Milwaukee school system?

    • SM Guy

      Have you ever noticed that there is a certain group of people that cannot make up their minds about the school system? One month it’s “Local Control! The state should not be telling us how to run our schools!”. The next month, it’s “Budget cuts?! We want state money!”. If they would pick a proposal and stick with it, they might have better luck….

    • Rick

      Agree with Rich!!! Admin is top heavy! How many Asst. Principals do we need?????

      • Anonymous

        My understanding is that the two assistant principles at the high school and the one assistant principle at the middle school, among other things, manage behavioral issues (at the high school, half the study body assigned to each). In a community like South Milwaukee that is still feeling the legacy of the Big Recession, this continues to include significant issues arising from families in economic distress. If we want to eliminate these positions, the community of South Milwaukee needs to turn its focus to ensuring children have support and guidance at home, so the schools don’t have to contend with things like chronic truancy, detentions, suspensions, expulsions, chronic poor academic performance, interpersonal problems, etc.

    • Betsy

      Spoken like someone who knows nothing about the revenue limits imposed on Wisconsin schools in 1993 or how much more restrictive those limits are on South Milwaukee as compared to other area school districts.

  5. Pug.

    I remember going down to City Hall to pay my property taxes and they had a pie chart taped to the pay window showing where our money was going. Over half of our property taxes were going to the school district. Stop crying poor and reign in your spending like every working family has to when money is tight. Remember, “It’s for the children.” Not teachers and administration pay and benefits.

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