A Message From The South Milwaukee School Superintendent: “The South Milwaukee Way: Coming Together for Kids”

A message from interim South Milwaukee School Superintendent Jim Shaw … also delivered via video.

Dear South Milwaukee Community,

This week the school administration will suggest a plan to reduce our budget to match the funding we expect to receive from the state. I’m writing to share my angst and concern for our students and teachers and to warn of the pain our community will soon feel.

I am proud to say that I am a Wisconsin public school educator, and have been for more than fifty years.  I have worked in six different school districts, visited countless schools across the state, and taught at three different Wisconsin universities.

I am proud of Wisconsin public education. I am proud that public schools are the schools for “all the children of all the people.” I am proud to know hundreds of teachers who taught me by their example, that the purpose of public education is to make a difference in the lives of children. Teachers are core to what we do in public schools.

I am proud of our local School Board, the concept of local control, and the school board’s advocacy for public education. 

I am sad to say that the schools I love are in crisis. Since 2008 Wisconsin public schools have been systematically defunded. Per-student funding is now more than $3,000 behind inflation. Most school districts must pass referendums just to survive. Across the state school boards are facing financial deficits and some are even considering dissolution.

Because teachers are underpaid and undervalued, Wisconsin is facing an unprecedented teacher shortage. The crisis is made worse by declining student enrollment and the need to downsize schools, cut programs and decrease opportunities for students.

While the Wisconsin Constitution defines public education as a State responsibility, the State is failing in its responsibility by freezing funding for public education, while at the same time, amassing a State surplus valued at more than $7 billion.

The School District of South Milwaukee is in crisis, facing a more than $1.6 million deficit. That means our elected school board must make reductions to match our costs to our income – something we all can relate to.

We don’t have a lot of power to change this situation – but you might. Your opinions matter to elected officials. We’ve compiled some materials to help you engage your elected officials in a discussion about public school funding and information on how to reach them.

On April 19, please join us for our Speak Up for Public Schools advocacy event from 5-7 p.m. in the high school. At that event, there will be many ways for whole families to celebrate and stand up for public education that can, if enough of us do something, possibly move the government to act.  You can RSVP here.

Wisconsin public education is in a funding crisis. In a crisis, the South Milwaukee Way is to come together. The School Board has asked for a plan to minimize the impact of budget reductions on students and teachers.

I am hopeful that we can work with our teachers and our community to keep our schools great and protect opportunities for all students.

Please come together to advocate for our South Milwaukee Public Schools.  

Jim Shaw, Interim-Superintendent   

1 Comment

Filed under South Milwaukee

One response to “A Message From The South Milwaukee School Superintendent: “The South Milwaukee Way: Coming Together for Kids”

  1. Lonngren, Karl E

    As a 1956 graduate of South Milwaukee High School, I am sad to hear that the state is withdrawing their support for education. I am not a firm believer in the following statement in the good book – “To whom much is given, they deserve a tax break.” We should and we must support our children.
    Karl Lonngren

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