35 Small Town and Village Principals Come Out Against Education Cuts

This is just a quick follow up on the article that I should have written a month ago. But 35 principals wrote a letter to Governor Walker and the Wisconsin legislature to protest the budget cuts to public education. Here is the text of their letter:

Southern Wisconsin Area Principals

July 13, 2015
To Gov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Legislature:
It is an honor to represent our excellent school districts in this great state of Wisconsin. To build a better educational system, high school principals representing large, medium, and small districts from Southern Wisconsin request to collaborate with you. We wish to share our collective perspective regarding our vision of all public schools.
Together, our school districts serve to prepare students to be thoughtful and productive contributing members of society. When considering ACT test scores, Wisconsin has ranked amongst the best in the nation for nearly 30 years with many years as #1 in the U.S. We desire to maintain and build upon foundations like this. We are grateful for the contributions of students, teachers, administrators, support staff, community members, business partners, parents, school board members and other citizens who have helped build strong foundations for learning in our communities. The ongoing financial, emotional and human support that our communities provide to our school districts inspire all students to reach their own personal and academic success. When these crucial resources work together, we gain strength as a community and as a state.
America is unique because its public schools make and deliver on the bold promise to freely educate all children regardless of wealth, religion, race, gender, ability or citizenship. This becomes clear when comparing America to other nations with successful educational systems such as Finland, Germany, Norway, and Japan. As leaders of public schools, we believe in the power of a collective vision to mobilize individuals in our communities to affect positive change in their lives. We embrace continuous school improvement efforts to ensure that all students reach their full potential. To that end, we support state assessments for accountability and transparency, attracting and retaining highly qualified teachers and school leaders and creating a consistent equitable funding plan for Wisconsin.
The reduced power of local school boards as it relates to curriculum, policy, funding, testing, calendar, and other issues concerns us. The people in local communities have far less voice today than they did only a few decades ago. Governor Walker, you speak of the need to reduce “Big Government,” and we see that you are doing so as it relates to eliminating positions in government, but the “power of the people, by the people, for the people” is less in people’s hands than it once was. Our school board members are locally elected officials. These same people work, live, and die in our communities. Citizens trust these locally elected officials to set policy and support education in our communities. These respected school board members have far less control over local decisions than they did in the past.
We are concerned about the competitive nature and business model schools now face. As life-long learners, we study other nations and other states experienced with this competitive business model. The research clearly points to a result of segregated schools. This model results in the “haves and have nots.” This exclusionary system does not reflect the land of opportunity for which our nation is well known and will reduce opportunity for future leaders who may be the next Rosa Parks or Steve Jobs.
We ask you to partner with us to address the significant challenges our schools are facing. We do not support recent budgets and the underfunding of public education. We believe budgets need to be adjusted to meet the needs of today’s learners. Since the onset of revenue limits in 1992, our school districts have been reducing and eliminating programs and resources. We are burdened by the cumulative effects of budget cuts resulting in increased class sizes, cut programs, and deferred maintenance plans. Additionally, we must keep pace with technology demands and provide necessary support services for students. Our districts are struggling to maintain our current educational and co-curricular programs, while recognizing we need to expand educational opportunities and choices for students and families to prepare students for 21st century skills in a globally competitive climate.
We know building world-class public school districts takes time and great effort. The children and citizens of our communities deserve our best efforts and our state’s full commitment. We respectfully request teachers and school administrators be allowed a voice in important educational decisions in Madison. It is imperative we address these challenges together as we redefine excellence in education in our communities and across Wisconsin.
Thank you for the opportunity to share our collective perspective. We look forward to working with our governor and legislature to assure the successful education of Wisconsin’s children and youth, for it is our privilege to do so.
Southern Wisconsin Area Principals:

Arrowhead- Gregg Wieczorek Evansville- Scott Everson Oregon- Jim Pliner
Beaver Dam- Mark DiStefano Fort Atkinson- Dan Halversen Palmyra-Eagle- Kari Timm
Belleville- Nathan Perry Horicon- Teresa Graven Pardeeville- Jason LeMay
Beloit Turner- Ryan Bertelsen Jefferson- Mark Rollefson Parkview- William Trow
Big Foot- Mike Hinske Johnson Creek- Cale Vogel Randolph- Debra Torrison
Brodhead- Jim Matthys Kettle Moraine- Jeff Walters Rio- Dana Tait
Clinton- J. Gile Lake Mills- Pam Streich Sauk Prairie- Chad Harnisch
Columbus- Jacob Ekern Marshall- Brian Sniff Watertown- Scott Mantei
DeForest- Machell Schwarz McFarland- James Hickey Waukesha North- Jody Landish
Dodgeland- Jeff Saur Milton- Jeremy Bilhorn Waukesha West- David LaBorde
East Troy- Rick Penniston Oakfield- Carmen Klassy Whitewater- Doug Parker
Edgerton- Mark Coombs Oconomowoc- Joseph Moylan


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16 thoughts on “35 Small Town and Village Principals Come Out Against Education Cuts

  1. Thank you Mr. Heinzelman. There is a heated debate going on right now on the “Boots and Sabers” blog. Owen Robinson posted his most recent column printed in the West Bend paper in which he tries to justify what’s happening to public education in Wi. I encourage everyone to take time to shares your views on the “Boots and Sabers” site. Many prominent public officials (mostly Republicans) visit and post on that site. It’s time they hear how “we” feel. My loyalty is obviously with B.B. but knowing what the other side looks like and expressing our thoughts is critical. Please join me in launching a mass rebuttal to Mr. Robinson’s nonsense. My screen name on the “Boots” site is Fairs Fare.

  2. To refresh your memory, here are some important points in a few selected Articles from ARTICLE X EDUCATION from the Wisconsin Constitution.

    “SECTION 1…The supervision of public instruction shall be vested in a state superintendent…”

    “…The state superintendent shall be chosen by the qualified electors of the state…”

    “SECTION 3…The legislature shall provide by law for the establishment of district schools…” and “…without charge or tuition to all children between the ages of 4 and 20 years…”

    Elsewhere in ARTICLE X, in addition to SECTION 3, the adequate funding of public education without tuition is clearly established as the sole responsibility of the legislature.


    It seems to me that the fiscal short changing” of our PUBLIC schools through a variety of ways including funding of charter or private schools by the current legislature and the governor is a blatant violation of Article 10 of the Wisconsin Constitution.

    My solution: The Superintendent of public instruction must bring suit against the legislature and governor Walker for violation of Article 10 of the State Constitution by their inadequate funding and restrictive or abusive policies.infringing upon and restricting the Superintendent’s constitutional mandate to provide “public instruction.” and to fulfill his obligation to the electors.

    All in favor, say aye.

  3. Education cuts! This is the issue that will lead to a resurgence of Democratic legislation in Wisconsin. Even though we’re already out of the race in the 99th. What happened Martha?

    1. If it were only more than just a fantasy CK, but dream on. Here’s another prime example as illustrated by James Rowan at his blog on Sunday that points out 9 specific counties where citizens are facing very troubling issues that have been in the news, some newer, some for years.


      Out of the nine counties named find me one county level Democratic Party organization that has taken a specific public stand to back the non-partisan civil rights, public trust doctrine protection stances being taken on by regular citizens. I am familiar with four of these instances. I may have missed a county Democratic party having done something publicly, and I know that there are Democrats belonging to these citizen groups that are organizing, but here’s several absolutely golden opportunities to speak locally and support people in one’s own back yard. DPW fail!

      Hey, but I’m not a paid corporate political operative so there you go, another worthless opinion, and we see the results of local party gross inaction. But oh, send them some money and come and hear Russ Feingold coming to our area soon.

      Thanks for you comment to bounce off of with mine.

      1. We need more such “worthless opinions.”

        Remember Winston Churchill’s call to citizens in England’s darkest days of WWII:

        “Never give up, never, never, never,”

  4. Quick Quiz, Wonde®dog,

    1. How exactly is an idea, a philosophical construct, greedy?

    2. Are you in favor of individual liberty, and freedom from government intrusion/overreach into your private life?

    Easy peasy, even a voucher school 6th grader could answer these. Get em both right and I’ll vote for you to be able to post indefinitely at BB.

    1. 1) Every ounce of my philosophical being is greedy but then reality sets in.
      2) Absolutely but then a U.S. Census form comes in the mail and reality sets in.

    2. Was that you sparring with “The Strawman” a couple days ago on WEAU TV’s news site? Or somebody else using “nonquixote” as a handle? If so, good job of taking him down, reducing him to aimless jabs.

      For what it’s worth, I’m positive this is the same individual who posts here as “® Steve,” “Wisconsin Conservative Digest” and several others. One troll, polluting numerous sites under numerous names.

      1. (OT) Well my creative side volleyed with, “the dark silhouette of empty rhetoric,” line, just out of the blue, but listing two facts and one logical point is not what I’d label as sparring, but thanks.

        I regularly watch what a few other state broadcast stations are offering in the way of coverage, reporting and sometimes the, “intellectual,” level of internet commentary. Interests in conglomerate holdings like those of a Media General http://www.mediageneral.com/properties/television.html are important to watch once in a while.

        1. Call it “sparring” or other, but you did as good a job of discombobulating him as anybody else on WEAU’s site, my own erstwhile limited successes included. At the advice of an acquaintance in law enforcement, I quit posting there back in April, after getting some threats of physical harm from one of his other identities (“Sammy”) [who] had clearly done some research on me and hinted at enough personal information to make me very wary. In any case, trying to be logical with that individual is kinda like trying to swat flies in a brisk breeze. You can’t pin him down – and if you start to get close, he resorts to a mix of pseudo-intellectual word salad and just plain insult.

          In addition to Strawman, two other names he currently uses on WEAU are: Scott Wozniak and Mike7371. There are a few others he trots out more sporadically, and many, including the long-durable “Jim Halpert,” that seem to have been retired.

          As I noted, I’m pretty sure you’re engaging the same guy on this site with ® Steve, WCD and a couple others.

      2. You’re probably right @Charles. ALEC is taking advantage of a tactic promoted World Wide by the JDL to recruit minions to reply to blogs, ostensibly pro se though actually with cult propaganda.

        1. Not sure why you’d think the JDL (Jewish Defense League?) would be behind this kind of troll. I think it more likely he’s either on his own little mission of self-amusement or, if he’s employed by anybody, it would be some shadow operation of Walker’s political machine. I suspect, if he were working for something as big as JDL – or WMC, ALEC, RNC, etc. – he would be more calm and reasoned, less prone to meltdown in the face of irrefutable logic.

          1. Cat Kin,

            After re-reading your post, I realize you didn’t suggest that JDL employs trolls directly – only that they promote the tactic. Apologies. Still, I think ALEC and similar organizations would employ generally more professional operatives in such a capacity. I think this joker is on his own or – possibly but less likely – working for Walker’s propaganda machine.

          2. Not saying he’s working for JDL or even ALEC, @Charles, sometimes these guys appoint themselves defenders of whatever. As the tactic does pick up volunteers. If you don’t believe me, try saying something against the occupation of Palestine on any popular blog and see what you get. This is not a new tactic.

            1. No argument there, re. the Palestinian issue. My entire point, however, is that we are likely dealing with one individual using dozens of names on numerous blogs. Google “Persona Management Software” for some idea as to how he likely manages it. In any case, his style of writing and engagement give him away every time. Even the flavor of his choice of names is somewhat signature, and often I can tell when a new name is this individual before I even read what the “new” poster has written. He posts on WEAU TV’s news blog, that of WSAU TV, Blogging Blue, Uppity Wisconsin, Care 2, and even MSN and Yahoo on occasion If this is more than one individual, he must be getting his pap from a very concise and well coordinated source.

              If you’re interested, and so you can know when you’re engaging him, I can provide a pretty comprehensive compilation of the names this troll uses. Let me know.

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