“A Penny for Kids”
is catching fire
but now is the time to do even more
If you need proof that your efforts on behalf of “A
Penny for Kids” are making a difference, check
this out on the website of
Advocates for Madison Public Schools. Mark
Pocan, the representative of Madison’s 78th Assembly
District and co-chair of the Legislature’s powerful
Join Finance Committee, has included it on his annual end-of-the-session
As he starts thinking about the next legislative session,
Rep. Pocan asked his constituents if, perhaps, a one-cent
increase in Wisconsin’s already low sales tax-he even
called it “A Penny for Kids”-might be the way
to address the
revenue crisis in our public schools.
Rep. Pocan deserves a big thank you for his leadership on
this issue. So do all of you who signed
the petition to which he is responding. This is how good
teams are formed and good public policy is written.
There is more to be done, though. Wisconsin has 99 Assembly
Districts … plenty of room for those interested in reform
to make a difference. If
you haven’t signed the petition-no matter where you
live-do it now. Then, pass the link along to others and
to your legislators about supporting “A Penny for
Need some ideas? Here’s a few:
- Summer is coming and that’s
time for fairs … county fairs, the State Fair, 4-H
fairs, and community fairs. Download
petitions get yourself a clipboard, and circulate through
the crowd todo your part for your kids’ educations.
- The end of the school year is fast approaching.
That means all kinds of events for parents and students.
These events would be excellent times to circulate petitions.
- Farmers’ market are great places
to buy your food locally … and to help your children
make sure they have the educational opportunities the constitution
- Summer means summertime “stuff”
like ball games, swimming pools, carnivals, street and block
parties, and neighborhood events. Don’t be shy, this
is too important. Make sure where you go, you go with
“A Penny for Kids” petitions and a pen.
School aid estimates make "A Penny for Kids" look
The evidence continues to mount: Wisconsin needs a drastic
and comprehensive overhaul of its school-funding system, but,
first, we need to address the desperate revenue crisis faced
by more and more children, property taxpayers, and communities.
That is the reason for
"A Penny for Kids" — to meet that crisis
head-on and to buy us some time to finally take care of real
reform and change. "A Penny for Kids" is the right
thing to do, and every day that passes proves that.
Penny for Kids" was born when State Government, because
of a downturn in the economy, cut aid to public schools-resulting
in accelerating staff lay-offs, cuts to programs and services,
and property tax increases over and above those forced on
communities for the last 17 years by a school-funding system
that no longer works.
Although tempered by federal stimulus dollars, the state
budget took about $150 million out of the aid pipeline. A
one-cent increase in the sales tax — already one of
the lowest in the country — would go a long, long way
toward stopping what has been described as the decomposition
of Wisconsin's public schools.
And, it doesn't look like things will get better soon, again
underscoring the need for "A Penny for Kids." State
school aid estimates released earlier this month prompted
this headline in the Milwaukee
Journal Sentinel: "State aid to schools expected
to drop." That was followed the next day by a similar
headline in the Wisconsin
State Journal: "School district braces for aid decline."
And, it will happen all over Wisconsin. The total aid estimate
for the state showed that 249 of the state's 425 districts
will again lose aid.
According to a spokesperson for the Department of Public
Instruction, overall the state is spending about the same
amount on schools next year as it did for the school year
just ended. The variables in the funding formula mean more
districts will see a decrease in state funding than an increase.
That is the crisis WAES is talking about and the crisis addressed
by "A Penny for Kids." You bet, we still need to
change the way we fund our public schools for the future.
Until we address the crisis created by the state budget, however,
the futures of many schools, kids, and communities will just
continue to get dimmer.
Go to the
"A Penny for Kids" website, sign the petition
of support, pass the petition along to all the people you
know, and then spend some time on the website figuring out
the next step in your community (letter to the editor, school
board contacts, legislative contacts, etc.).
"A Penny for
Kids" — it only makes sense for the future
of our communities, our schools, and our children.
Penny for Kids" on Facebook by clicking on the below