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Grateful for public education received in Waukesha

To the editor,

As a product of the Waukesha School District, I am proud to be a graduate of a Wisconsin Public School, the heart of our community. The dedicated and passionate teachers, coaches, support staff and administrators ensure that I, along with many others, had a quality education to help us in "the real world." Call me wide-eyed and naive, but when I graduated from high school in 2004, I never anticipated that the very institution of public schools would be in jeopardy. If public education is something that is guaranteed in our state constitution and should be a high priority when creating our state budget, then why is it in jeopardy?

Understanding the state budget and the funding for public schools is enough to make your head spin, but let’s just boil it down to the basics. Since 2009, our public schools have lost $709 million in state funding. Money has been funneled out of the public school system to fund private and parochial schools in communities across Wisconsin. This needs to be curtailed with no further expansion of voucher programs.

I think that we should start this biennial budget by insisting that we restore funding to our public schools. Let’s increase per capita revenue by at least $300 per year while also giving better support to rural and “high poverty” districts. We aren’t looking for winners and losers with funding our public schools. We all win when our kids regardless of their zip code are well-educated. Our community-based schools are the foundation of our state, and we must prioritize providing a quality education for all students no matter what their background.

Kathleen Mahoney

Waukesha

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