Dear Families, Students, Educators and Community:
Wisconsin families face economic hardships. Now their children’s educational future is in jeopardy. MPS is facing huge budget cuts. Many of our schools will lose valuable staff and programs.
Early reports from the MPS 2011-2012 school year budget process show many schools forced to eliminate art, gym, music, librarians and media specialists, program implementers, para-professionals and general aides, along with reducing hours, for many positions. This year’s cuts seem to surpass what we have seen in the past.
Milwaukee Public Schools face a loss of funds from many directions:
- Title I ARRA funds – $35.9 million
- IDEA ARRA funds – $24.2 million
- School Improvement ARRA – $2.9 million
- Title IID ARRA funds – $2.1 million
- Education Jobs funds – $14.7 million
- Title I funds – $10 million, $3.5 million less to schools
- Title IID funds – $0.8 million
- School Improvement funds – $1.2 million
- Safe Schools/Healthy Students – $2.2 million
- Futures First – $0.8 million
- School operations – $13.6 million budget shortfall
Governor Scott Walker warns of significant cuts in state aid. For example, some Republican legislators want to eliminate K4 early childhood funding.
Money is being taken from schools that have already been cut to the bare bones. This is not a case of throwing money at a problem. This is a matter of what is mandated and guaranteed under the law of the State of Wisconsin. Wisconsin students are guaranteed a “sound basic education” which is a “fundamental right.”
The Wisconsin legislative statute, 121.02(L) (1997-98), sets clear standards for what is mandated to be taught to Wisconsin’s public school students. These mandates go far beyond the core curriculum to guarantee that all students receive instruction in physical education/health, art, music and have access to library resources.
This was reaffirmed in the Wisconsin Supreme Court 2000 majority position on school funding by Justice Patrick Crooks (Vincent v. Voight):
“We further hold that Wisconsin students have a fundamental right to an equal opportunity for a sound basic education. An equal opportunity for a sound basic education is one that will equip students for their roles as citizens and enable them to succeed economically and personally. The legislature has articulated a standard for equal opportunity for a sound basic education in Wis. Stat. §§ 118.30(lg)(a) and 121.02(L) (1997-98) as the opportunity for students to be proficient in mathematics, science, reading and writing, geography, and history, and for them to receive instruction in the arts and music, vocational training, social sciences, health, physical education and foreign language, in accordance with their age and aptitude.”
The cuts being forced on MPS abandon our students’ right to a “sound basic education.”
We must fight for our kids!
Larry Miller-MPS School Board Director, District 5