MADISON, Wis. — In a Wisconsin Eye interview earlier this year, Dan Feyen said he doesn’t think the state needs to increase public education funding. But a review of the impacts to schools in Senate District 18 reveals that kids and taxpayers are paying the price for the destructive education policies Feyen supports.
Feyen also made his support for the voucher program, which siphons taxpayer dollars away from public schools, in the same interview in which he claimed schools are funded at a satisfactory level. Coincidentally, Feyen has benefited from tens of thousands of dollars in outside spending by special interest groups that support taxpayer-funded private vouchers.
“Dan Feyen is clearly out of touch with the schools in his own district if he thinks current state funding for public education is anything approaching satisfactory,” said Scot Ross, executive director of One Wisconsin Now. “Schools in his own backyard are balancing their budgets on reserves and going to the voters for referendums because of the deep and destructive cuts to public education at the hands of Republicans like Dan Feyen.”
While Feyen claims everything is just fine with public education, the facts tell a different story:
- Taxpayers in Fond du Lac are paying hundreds of thousands more due to private school voucher expansion, according to the Fond du Lac Reporter.
- New Holstein increased class sizes at their high school.
- In 2013, Oakfield voters rejected a school referendum, forcing the district to cut one-sixth of its total budget. Oakfield went to the voters again in 2014, predicting that the schools would deplete their reserves and close without a referendum. The superintendent at the time described it as “referendums just to be able to function,” according to the Fond du Lac Reporter.
- Oshkosh voters have also had to approve a referendum for their schools, and Superintendent Mack indicates that the district is continually funded below average, “at least $1,200 below the state average per student and violates the state’s constitutional responsibility” according to a report by the Oshkosh Northwestern. An expert analysis of the Oshkosh Area School District’s finances showed savings from Act 10 did not offset the cut in state funding in 2011-12 and a 2012-13 freeze of revenue limits.
- In the 2015-16 school year, Lomira saw a 7 percent decrease in general aid, and its superintendent reported making cutbacks in many areas while struggling to ensure those cuts do not impact student learning.
“Either Dan Feyen isn’t paying attention to the needs of local public schools or he just doesn’t care that the policies he supports are hurting public schools. These policies may be just fine for the special interests backing Feyen, but they are driving up costs for taxpayers – all at the expense of public school students,” concluded Ross.