Monday, November 15, 2010

Public Education Needs a Better Funding Solution to Help Disparities Problem

This month, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction shared their new ideas on restructuring of the state's school funding formula. For too long our state has relied on a school funding plan that is tied to property taxes which gives disproportionate funding to schools in wealthy areas. Wisconsin schools Superintendent Tony Evers’s “Fair Funding for our Future” proposal would move schools toward considering student need, not property wealth, in allocating state aid.

“We agree with Superintendent Evers that our state funding formulas need to be structured to ensure greater support for children with greater needs,” stated ACLU of Wisconsin Executive Director Chris Ahmuty. “Shifting away from the school levy tax credits - which benefit higher-wealth households more than children in need - is a start.

“However, in moving forward with this proposal, we must keep in mind that it’s not only children in poverty who have additional needs,” Ahmuty added. “We need to ensure that the state is also addressing the concerns over Wisconsin’s significant racial disparities in graduation rates throughout the state.

“The ACLU of Wisconsin believes that racial disparities in graduation rates can no longer be ignored. We support a comprehensive approach that uses limited resources in the most effective way to ensure all children across Wisconsin have the opportunity to succeed,” Ahmuty concluded.

Media reports say that at first glance, the proposal could have support from newly elected Republican leadership.