For years, Wisconsin was in the TOP TEN states when it came to spending money on public education. In the past years, Wisconsin has slipped below the median. Yes, sad but true, Wisconsin is in the middle ranking in financial support of public education.

It is important to be aware of this and to arm yourself with facts. Call your legislators and let them know you are among the 90 per cent of the public who support our public schools.

You can call the legislators on off-hours and put your message on the message machine or you can call during office hours and talk with a staff member who is charged with recording your message and relaying it to the legislator (OUR representative).

Decreased public financial support of public schools is sad for many reasons. For one thing, our public schools are charged with educating ALL children in our community, according to Article 10 of the Wisconsin Constitution. “Legislation shall provide by law….schools, as uniform as practical for all children 4 to 20 years of age.” It further states there is to be NO sectarian (religious) instruction.

Yet taxpayer-funded private schools continue to take more money from public school funding.

Last year Wausau Public Schools lost $355,226 in state funding. It was diverted to private charter schools and private schools. D.C. Everest Public Schools lost $131,144 in state funds.

On top of that parents of private school students are eligible for tax deductions: $4000 for a child in K – 8th grade and $10,000 for a child in high school. In the school year 2014 – 2015 over $30 million was taken as tax deductions.
Consequently more school referendums
are held. This last spring saw 71. When state aid is reduced, local property taxes will rise.

This is how public tax money for public schools is transferred to private interests.

It used to be that all public school tax dollars went to the public schools. Now the taxpayer dollars go to charter schools, taxpayer-funded private schools and then public schools.

Rural public schools are hit especially hard. With declining student population, their state aids are reduced. Rural schools are unable to afford teachers for all subjects. Rural students are short-changed.

Learn more to protect our public schools. Wisconsin Public Education Network (WPEN) is a state-wide organization working hard to protect public education. Go to their website. Tell your legislators our public schools need money to not only survive, but to flourish. We owe it to our children and our democracy.