THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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The Sunday, Oct. 9 Green Bay Press-Gazette included an article submitted by our12th District State Senator Tom Tiffany, in which he indicates that investing in schools is one of his top priorities. He touts his efforts on behalf of supporting our small rural schools in Wisconsin. Before he pats himself on the back too much, he should look at the memo released by the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau on Oct. 4. It provides the Estimated Level of State Support for K-12 Education in Wisconsin's school districts for 2015-16.
Many of the small rural schools in northeastern Wisconsin belong to either the M & O Conference or the Northern Lakes Conference for athletic competition. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo ranks the 424 school districts of Wisconsin by the amount of state support each district receives and gives the percentage that amount provides for each district's budget, with those districts receiving the most support being ranked at the top and those districts receiving the least support being at the bottom. Don't spend too much time on the first couple of pages of the report, as you won't find many of our schools near the top. Fourteen of the districts from the two athletic conferences above are ranked at 275 (Coleman, #275 with 54.66% state support) or lower. The other 13 are all in the bottom one-third and rank from 329 (Laona with 44.58%) to 417 (Phelps with 23.67%). Those other districts are Beecher-Dunbar-Pembine, Crandon, Crivitz, Elcho, Florence, Goodman-Armstrong, Suring, Three Lakes, Wabeno, Wausaukee, and White Lake. Some of the larger northeastern school districts don't fare much better, as Rhinelander ranks 365, Tomahawk ranks 367, Lakeland Union High School ranks 405, and Northland Pines ranks 413.
Where does the state support for K-12 education go? Check Beloit (#3 with 85.31% state support), Green Bay (#51 with 72.79%), Kimberly (#73 with 71.78%), or Antigo (#74 with 71.77%). Milwaukee Public Schools are the top dollar supported school district, but have some programs that are unique to it alone, making harder to compare, but still state funded.
Many of the school districts in northeastern Wisconsin are on the short end of the state support for K-12 public education in Wisconsin; and these districts are not located in what we would consider wealthy counties. All of this while our present legislators have consistently voted to approve directing millions of state education dollars to unaccountable private schools and voucher programs. It has been estimated that as much as $24 million dollars of state education funding has been re-directed from the 12th Senate District to support these programs. The strange thing is, that recently there were 135 state approved voucher schools in Wisconsin, and as best as I could tell, none of them were in the 12th Senate District. With these facts in mind, I will clearly be voting for a change in the 12th Senate District. I will put my faith in challenger Bryan Van Stippen, rather than more of the same from incumbent Tom Tiffany.