cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
A new education coalition known as the Wisconsin School Finance Network has been formed to lobby for more state aid for education in spite of the serious financial situation we now find ourselves attempting to work out from under. This coalition counts the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), the American Federation of Teachers - Wisconsin, Fair Aid Coalition, School Administrators Alliance, Southeastern Wisconsin Schools Alliance, Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools, Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators, Wisconsin PTA and the Wisconsin Association of School Boards as its members.
Alan J. Borsuk of the Journal Sentinel wrote that its plan includes the following, in part:
...establishing a law that requires the state to pay two-thirds of the overall costs of operating public schools. It now pays 65% and this group would have that increase to 69% over several years.
...phasing in over five years a plan for paying state aid of up to $2,000 for every student who qualifies for free or reduced price lunch in school.
...having the state reimburse 33% of special education costs that are now funded at 28.8% but that are expected to fall to 25%.
...requiring that state aid pay 33% of the cost of educating English language learners; currently this is funded at 10%.
...requiring that state reimbursement for transportation be set at 33%; this is now reported to be averaging less than 5%.
...increasing aid to students in small rural districts since those districts have particularly high per pupil costs.
...increasing state payment for Milwaukee's private school voucher program to 75% of the cost, up from the current 63%.
WEAC has apparently agreed that, in return for these enhancements in state aid to schools, it would forego the effort to end the QEO, although it would still seek to alter this rule "in a couple of ways". WEAC is also a prime mover in the coalition known as The Wisconsin Way. That group seeks to limit the impact of its programs on property tax, in part by increasing sales taxes in Wisconsin.
All this is postured as we work to find the solution to some $5.7 billion in current budget deficits. It flies in the face of the "staying even is the new increase" statement from Governor Doyle during his state of the state message.
There is probably merit to much of what this coalition seeks, however it seems they have managed to choose almost the worst possible time to mount the battle.
WEAC's 'apparent' giving up on the QEO issue causes me much concern. A Trojan Horse enters my mind's eye. This is, in my estimation, a ploy designed to deflect our attention.
I suspect this all will somehow take on the cloak of "economic stimulus" before too long.