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 www.ngsd.k12.wi.us

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  (Rep.Murtha@legis.wisconsin.gov  Rep.Vos@legis.wisconsin.gov) will be leading the Assembly discussions while Senators Fitzgerald and Harsdorf (Sen.Fitzgerald@legis.wisconsin.gov  Sen.Harsdorf@legis.wisconsin.gov 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 (http://www.walker.wisconsin.gov/contact-us).

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.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jennifer Thayer
Superintendent, New Glarus School District