On the vacancy
To the resident of Mount Hope (“The board vacancy,” June 10): When you are the county board chairperson, you act like the leader and open up the process. Then you look like a leader and not a politician counting corners.
I have a name and can tell when you and the board fail the smell test of common sense.
On Sup. Wolf
Grant County lost one of its strongest supporters recently with the resignation of Larry Wolf.
As board chairman, Larry tried to have the county board, which has well-known differences, to work together by listening to all sides until a decision could be reached. All of this was handled with a respect to all involved.
I have had the pleasure of working with Larry over the last six years on many projects for the improvement of the county. It is a valued experience.
I appreciate Larry’s years of service to Grant County. His class, dedication and leadership will be greatly missed.
Grant County Sup. John Beinborn
District 15, Cuba City
Schools and state
Two weeks ago, Mineral Point High School hosted a very well attended forum, regarding the impact of the proposed State Budget on area schools. It was both informative and depressing: lots of our tax dollars going to private schools and, once again, very little if anything for public schools.
While public school financing in Wisconsin is one of the most complicated algorithms known to man, this is how a big part of it works.
• The vast majority of public school funds come from two sources: State revenue and local property taxes.
• Each school has a revenue limit (the maximum amount of revenue they can get from these two sources).
• When the state budget increases the amount of revenue each school gets from the state and does not increase the revenue limit, the money does not go to schools. Instead, it reduces the amount of local revenue the school can collect through property taxes. It is like working two jobs and if you get a raise at one job, you automatically get a pay cut for the same amount at the other job.
• This leaves schools with one option to keep up with inflation: passing a referendum to raise the revenue limit, a costly and time consuming endeavor with no guarantee of success.
Since neither Sen. Marklein or Rep. Novak were in attendance at the Mineral Point Forum (Mayor Novak had a conflicting Dodgeville City Council meeting), and they are the only two people in this area that have any power over the upcoming budget vote, it seemed like a good idea to set up a separate time to meet with them.
Last Monday, both offices were contacted. Rep. Novak’s office was quite responsive. Not only would Todd meet with us in Dodgeville instead of Madison, he could devote an hour instead of the usual half hour for such meetings. Since Sen. Marklein’s schedule was in flux, due to his powerful position on the Joint Finance Committee (those who decide what is presented to the Assembly and Senate for a single, all-or-none vote on the budget), I asked if a representative from his office could attend if he was unavailable.
When we met, around 40 citizens showed up to voice their concerns. While nobody attended from the senator’s office, Rep. Novak stayed for two hours for the very civil dialogue. Hopefully he will propose (or support) an amendment for school financing to be debated separately from the rest of the budget. Our kids deserve this. The future of our state depends on this.
Which is where you and I come in. Our voices must be more persuasive than the pressure of party politics and special interest groups. I urge you to contact both Sen. Marklein, (608) 266-0703, and Rep. Novak, (608) 266-7502 today to vote against the continued lack of investment in our area schools.
Maureen “Mo” May Grimm
‘Ought to be irate’
We all know our public schools are being hit hard with cutbacks. After checking how much our area schools paid for private school (voucher) students in 2014, I was appalled, and Grant County taxpayers ought to be irate. There are no voucher schools in Grant County or in Southwest Wisconsin, so all voucher money is going out of Southwest Wisconsin.
According to the state Department of Public Instruction, the Platteville school district was charged just over $120,000; Lancaster contributed well over $90,000; Cuba City paid nearly $58,500; Iowa–Grant almost $87,000; Boscobel just over $87,000; Fennimore nearly $83,000; Riverdale over $70,000; Southwestern just over $52,000; River Ridge over $48,700; Potosi was charged $33,000, Cassville paid over $13,000. That’s over $744,000 that Grant County taxpayers contributed for private school education last year.
If you wonder why our public schools are struggling, you need only multiply these numbers by 10 years to get an idea of how much money has flowed out of our local schools to pay for students to attend private and religious schools elsewhere in this state. Vouchers have been around since 1990 — 25 years of paying out for private school education. Just looking at the last decade or so, we’ve paid over $7 million. This is not a partisan issue — legislators from both sides of the aisle have supported this. With voucher expansion, expect a 70 percent increase. It is time for a different solution.
Here’s mine: If the DeVoes from All Children Matter (which really should be named “Only Rich Kids Matter”) and David and Charles Koch really want kids to have choice, I suggest they give their money directly to private schools so those schools can offer scholarships to needy families. Stop taking money from our public schools. If the Koch brothers can publicly proclaim they will give $900 million to fund the presidential campaign in 2016 (they want Scott Walker as their candidate), they certainly can pony up another $750,000 to give scholarships to needy families and leave our $700,000 here for public schools in Grant County.
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