Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Republicans shaft Rural School district funding!!! Still expect to get their vote for reelection in November?

The Dog and Pony Show: The predictable results of the GOP legislative "task force" report on rural school districts convince everyone they were never really serious about solving rural district funding and teacher retention problems.

With Walker's property tax cap in place, and rural cheapskates voting down school funding referendums, the Republican Legislature is faced with an actual problem they can't solve. They've got party purity to uphold: No tax increases; defunding public schools; and ignoring Democratic State Superintendent Tony Evers funding reform plan.  

Why Republicans Can't Govern: Did rural conservatives think their anti-government party would make things better for public schools in their district? Crazy huh? It may sound partisan, but the GOP isn't designed to do anything but dismantle things.

It now looks like local school district officials have had it:  
jsonline: Even before a legislative task force issues its report on the needs of rural school districts, superintendents are saying the recommendations won't go far enough to address problems with funding and retaining talented teachers.

The task force report ... focuses mostly on non-fiscal issues ... Rep. Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander) said the report could address maintaining or increasing state aid for transportation costs, greater access to broadband connectivity and creating an incentive for better teacher retention, such as loan forgiveness.

Mark Gruen, superintendent of the Royall School District in Elroy, said "My challenge to (Gov. Scott Walker) and the task force is to develop an equal pay scale across the school districts and the state. We get good people to come in ... and then they leave us. All small districts become training grounds for larger, better-paying districts."

'Reverse capitalism:' Gruen called the current system "reverse capitalism" ... "We're asking graduates to come to a rural community where they're not familiar with and we're offering you less money to go to the spot that you wouldn't choose anyway ... We need one pay scale."
But flexibility isn't in the Republican quiver either, so it's time to kick the can down the road: 
Swearingen says this is just the beginning ... said "all eyes point to the 2015 legislative cycle" for more substantive changes to funding issues in rural schools.
But Sweringen's excuses are pathetic, like blaming local officials for maybe not making the best spending decisions:
Their first task, he said, was to make sure they were using their current funds correctly. "...and largely we found that to be true. I'm in high hopes that we can get something positive for these schools come the next legislative cycle."
No ones buying it:
Bruce Quinton, administrator of Pepin Area Schools, says something positive must include a change in school funding calculations or mandate exemptions for schools in rural areas. He says underfunded mandates are "choking out" his school district.
"It's interesting that (lawmakers) want to get involved in the curriculum or the specifics in running the district, but there seems to be no interest or momentum in funding schools adequately," he said. "My point is not to tear down the mandates or the initiatives; they are good concepts. But they're designed for struggling urban school districts, and inhibit our abilities as small school to meet problems. We are desperate for funding out here."
Don't hold your breath. Now tell me how spending was just a union con game.

3 comments:

CJ said...

I think the whole point IS to choke out the exisiting system. Use the rural districts to get privatization, e-schools and charter schools into the state. Once is, down the slippery slope we go.

Democurmudgeon said...

I think you've nailed it.

Jake formerly of the LP said...

Yep, CJ understands the plan. And it destroys the fabric of rural Wisconsin and makes it more isolated than ever, which makes them even more susceptible to "divide and conquer" GOP politics.

But these areas voted for Fitzwalkerstani policies. Now they don't like what's resulting from that vote. I have sympathy, but only if they learn from it and vote better