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Survey: Revenue Caps Leading to Growing Cuts at Schools

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March 31, 2008

Madison, WI – Cuts, cuts, and more cuts are happening at schools across the state, according to a new survey of Wisconsin school district administrators. The survey examined the impact of state revenue caps on school districts, and 94 percent of those responding said they had trimmed budgets and programs as a result of the revenue caps, including laying off teachers and support staff members, and reducing or eliminating extracurricular programs and school safety programs.

Executive Director Miles Turner, of the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators, says each year, costs outpace the allowed revenue increases -– and that is having a growing impact.

"This survey shows that the cuts are now getting deeper into public education, and threatening the quality of public education in Wisconsin. And, as we continue to cut back on courses that are being offered, increasing class sizes, affecting quality, affecting safety across the board, there's a very serious need to revisit and review the entire funding program for public education."

Turner is convinced that today's cutbacks will hurt Wisconsin's economy down the road.

"Specific classes have been cut, many in the technology, consumer education, business and vocational areas. Clearly the business community should be concerned that Wisconsin high school students are not getting training in those areas."

He believes it is time for lawmakers, education officials, and academic experts to cooperate on a comprehensive review of the state's school funding system, with the goal of devising a better way to fund education.

The survey was conducted jointly with the Wisconsin Education Association Council; it can be viewed online at www.weac.org.

Rob Ferrett/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - WI