Letter to Joint Finance Committtee members from Dr. Langenfeld and the Board of Education

Today Dr. Michelle Langenfeld and the Board of Education sent a letter to members of the Joint Finance Committee.

May 28, 2013

 

Dear Members of the Joint Finance Committee:

As the Joint Finance Committee begins to make its final decisions on K12 education, we are writing to urge you to remove the following policy issues from the budget:

  • Remove all private school voucher expansion proposals from the budget
  • Remove all charter school proposals from the budget
  • Remove the special education voucher proposal from the budget

There is no community groundswell for voucher expansion in Green Bay. The Press-Gazette Editorial Board joins us in calling on members of the Joint Finance Committee to remove voucher expansion from the budget. It stated, “Two years ago we editorialized on the proposal to expand school vouchers to the Green Bay School District.  We believe then as we do believe today, that such a profound change in the way public education is funded deserves time for a full debate.” 

http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20130523/GPG0602/305230371/Editorial-Voucher-program-expansion-should-not-budget

The Press-Gazette Editorial Board also joins us in the recognition that the Green Bay Area Public Schools are NOT failing.  It stated, “The Green Bay School District has many very good schools and to characterize it as failing is unfair.” Our district newsletter will be delivered to every household in our community in the upcoming days. http://www.gbaps.org/Parents/Documents/Spring2013.pdf   Highlights of the newsletter include factual information on our increased graduation rates, the impact of voucher expansion on our school community and a review of the innovative programs and partnerships we are implementing to ensure that all of our students are college, career and community ready, regardless of their life’s circumstance.  

There has also been no groundswell for voucher expansion in the state of Wisconsin. Numerous editorial boards across the state have consistently echoed the fact that they do not believe that voucher expansion, with its twenty year unproven track record, is the answer to improving public education.  They join us in supporting the belief that changes in education policy should stand as separate pieces of legislation that should be debated in the light of day and stand, or fall, on their own merits. 

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have voiced a belief that the Joint Finance Committee should remove all education policy issues from the budget. Perhaps this is because they too believe that their constituents are deserving of transparency when there is such a profound change in how public education will be funded.  They may have read the Legislative Fiscal Bureau report and recognize the significant fiscal impact voucher expansion will have on their constituents in their communities.  They may also believe that the local taxpayers deserve to have a voice in determining whether their tax dollars should fund a second statewide school system that some are referring to as an entitlement program with little accountability.

Finally, we ask you to support the Ellis/Olsen increase to the revenue cap by at least $200 per student in each year of the biennium.

As residents of the Green Bay area, taxpayers, registered voters, and the elected officials and leaders responsible for the education of almost 21,000 students in the Green Bay Area Public Schools, we trust that you will do the right thing. 

 

Michelle Langenfeld, Superintendent of Schools and Learning

Brenda Warren, Board President

Katie Maloney, Board Vice President                                                                                    

Christopher Wagner, Board Treasurer                                                                                              

Celestine Jeffreys, School District Clerk

Michael Blecha, Trustee

Andrew Becker, Trustee

Mary Frantz, Trustee

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