November 17, 2011
WASDA Survey Shows Governor Out of Touch with Education Cuts
Milwaukee County School Districts Most Adversely Affected
MADISON – Today Milwaukee’s Legislative Caucus members Sen. Chris Larson (D–Milwaukee), Rep. Sandy Pasch (D–Whitefish Bay), Rep. Christine Sinicki (D–Milwaukee), and Rep. Jon Richards (D–Milwaukee) voiced their concerns about the state of Milwaukee County neighborhood schools after results from a recent survey were released detailing how Governor Walker’s detrimental cuts to education have negatively impacted children attending Wisconsin public schools.
A generation of educators have made Wisconsin a top academic state with a stellar reputation. Because of their hard work, Wisconsin public schools have some of the highest graduation rates in the country, with three-quarters of high school graduates continuing to post-secondary education. However, our neighborhood schools were dealt decimating cuts under Governor Walker’s budget, which stripped approximately $1.6 billion from education statewide.
“Results from this recent survey show that our state’s educational legacy is now in jeopardy and Milwaukee County may be the most adversely affected,” said Rep. Richards.
“Educating our children is not like riding a bike. If you fall off you can’t just get back up,” said Sen. Chris Larson. “Our children only have one shot at early education and developing the skills they need to succeed. Governor Walker is clearly out of touch with the reality of his misplaced budget priorities.”
According to the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators (WASDA) survey, Milwaukee County’s 18 school districts are now struggling with 1,719 fewer teachers, aides and administrators this year compared to 2010. These staggering cuts have resulted in increased class sizes and higher student-to-teacher ratios in half of all school districts in Milwaukee County. This means that our children will no longer be receiving the personal attention needed to reach their full potential.
Governor Walker’s budget cuts have begun slashing many vital support services in our neighborhood schools. Special education programs received the biggest cuts, followed by library and media center staff, counseling staff, reading coordinators, programs for at-risk youth, and drug and alcohol abuse programs. Such cuts were made in five of our 18 Milwaukee County school districts.
Unfortunately, the most disturbing news to come from the survey is that most school districts in Milwaukee County expect to make the same or deeper cuts to balance their budgets for the next school year, with only one of the 18 school districts reporting that they expect to make fewer cuts next year compared to this year.
“The harsh reality our children and schools are facing is a direct result of Governor Walker’s budget cuts, a loss of one-time federal dollars, and the siphoning of funds away from our neighborhood schools and directed towards the expansion of the Milwaukee Voucher Program,” said Rep. Sinicki.
“When Governor Walker and legislative Republicans chose to decimate public education while giving $2.3 billion in tax breaks to big corporations and special interests, they signed off on a radical departure from our shared values and priorities as a state,” said Rep. Pasch. “It is clear that their decisions will have a significant and lasting impact on our children and schools for years to come.”