Thursday, July 30, 2015

The straw poll results are in!

This year we held a straw poll at the Green County Fair and received a "fair" amount of responses.  We polled people on the topics of public education, the right to vote, and who would be their choice for the democratic nominee in the 2016 presidential race.  Please know that the following results are in no way the opinions or endorsements of the Green County Democratic Party.

Public Education:
  • Do you feel public tax revenue should be used to fund private voucher schools?  (73 respondents)
    • Yes   4%
    • No   90%
    • Undecided  5%
  • How important is it to you that there is a fully funded public school system in your community?  (71 respondents)
    • Very  97%
    • Somewhat  3%
    • Not important  0%
Right to Vote:
  • Should every United States citizen have the right to vote?  (58 respondents)
    • Yes  97%
    • No  3%
  • Should there be automatic registration for United States citizens when they turn 18?  (57 respondents)
    • Yes  82%
    • No  11%
    • Undecided  7%
Choice for the democratic nominee in the 2016 presidential race  (57 respondents)
  • Lincoln Chafee   0%
  • Hillary Clinton   42%
  • Martin O'Malley   0%
  • Bernie Sanders   56%
  • Jim Webb   2%
    • one write in for Elizabeth Warren
Clearly the most response was to the question of fully funding our public schools.  If you were unable to participate and would like to weigh in on the issue of public education, you can take part in our online poll located to the right of this blog post.
Before responding to our poll you may want to read the previous post (dated July 18th).  We will offer polling options on the other two issues from the above straw poll at a later date.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Wisconsin's rural public schools face dilemma

by Luke Francois
and Rita Wittwer
As stated in the third paragraph of the July 15th Opinion & Commentary section of the Capital Times, the shift of public money to fund private schools will have a devastating effect on our rural schools.

The article goes on to state
"Rural public schools are the mainstay of a community and provide an enormous sense of pride over generations. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, rural school districts from 2000 to 2010, suffered a 7.5 percent enrollment decline, and were penalized by the state’s revenue caps, which are tied to enrollments.
Because of this, the poorer rural school districts will receive less funding than the richer urban school districts. For rural areas, where jobs are fewer and wages are about 25 percent less than urban areas, this is devastating for kids."

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

We need to keep the pressure on our legislators!

Many in our current legislative body are working hard to dismantle our public education system with no regard as to the impact on our rural communities.  We need to remember this and who they are when we enter the voting booth in 2016.  They are not doing the work of "we the people", they are working to further enrich the large corporations that benefit from the private school voucher program.

We must continue reminding our legislators just who they work for by calling them out whenever possible.  This is done at listening sessions, by making phone calls, and writing letters to the editor exposing those elected officials to the public.  Please take a moment to read a letter to the Cap Times, written by Dick Cates, a rural school board member.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Improtant Letter from Dr. Jennifer Thayer, Superintendent of the New Glarus School District

School District of New Glarus
P. O. Box 7 District (608) 527-2410
1701 Second Street Fax (608) 527-5101
New Glarus, WI 53574

June 1, 2015

Dear New Glarus Parents and Residents,

Recently the funding of education has been making headlines around the state with the debate of the budget bill in Madison. Most recently, the Joint Finance Committee has put forward a thirty page education package that proposes the following:

  • For the first time, Wisconsin will likely fall below the national average in per pupil spending.
  • Wisconsin will have seen a 15% decrease in per pupil spending for public education since 2008.
  • In the coming budget, public schools will have less state general aid than in 2010.
  • Wisconsin will be one of only 5 states that have been keeping spending on public education close to flat. All other states have been increasing spending on education at an average of 4%.
  • Under current statute, public school students can open enroll to other public school districts. A total of $6,635.00 follows that student to their new school. Under the proposed legislation, public school students can also enroll in a voucher school (a non-public school approved by the state). A voucher of $7,210.00 for K-8 students and $7,856.00 for high school students follows that student to their voucher school. Therefore, non-public students are eligible for 18% more funding than public school students.
  • Besides budget related items, the budget bill also includes many policy items that were added in the middle of the night, with no discussion, and that have nothing to do with the state budget. These policy related items include special education vouchers, home school and private school students participating on high school sports teams, “learning portfolios” for graduation credit, licensing teachers without an education degree, and a new civics test a student must take and pass before they can graduate.

In New Glarus we have been striving for excellence and have received many awards and recognitions to show that we are making great strides toward that goal. If you agree that maintaining our public schools is important, please become educated on what is in the current budget bill and how it will affect our school system. There is not much time to affect change, but if you have reason to oppose any items in the Omnibus Education Bill please be sure to register your thoughts, concerns and opposition.

To begin, it is always good to let your elected representatives hear from you.  The following links identify legislative districts and legislators.

It is also important to reach out to Assembly and Senate leadership who will be controlling the agenda, issues and debate at the caucus level, which is likely to begin sometime the week of June 8. Representatives Voss and Murtha  ( will be leading the Assembly discussions while Senators Fitzgerald and Harsdorf ( will be doing the same in the Senate.   Reaching out directly to the Governor is also appropriate since he can line-item veto if these measures pass through the caucus process (

As always, thank you for your support of public education and our students. They truly are our future!
If you have questions about any of the measures in the Omnibus Education Bill, please feel free to contact me directly.


Dr. Jennifer Thayer
Superintendent, New Glarus School District