Friday, January 15, 2016

Another Rural School may close, killing jobs, turning families away... "Who wants to come to a place that ain't got a school?"

The resentment rural voters have toward government is being exacerbated by their own elected representatives screwing them over royally. Oddly, it only reinforces the Republican anti-government sentiment that’s at the heart of the problem. A vicious cycle that seems to be getting worse as the state becomes even more divided. Check out the WPT Here and Now interview with the author of The Politics of Resentment, it's an eye opener:

Case in point, the dramatic cuts Scott Walker and the Republicans made to public education. 

These rural area schools, have been hit the hardest by declining budgets, school closings, long bus rides for children, and the loss of teachers who are being lured away by wealthier districts. Republicans created this, and won't do a thing to stop it. 

What makes it even worse is the dramatic impact policies like this have on communities that lose their local schools. Lone Rock is sadly another example of supposed small government Republican cuts, with no regard for the unintended consequences. WISC:

The River Valley School District's elementary school in the village of Lone Rock could close under a proposal considered Thursday by the district, which faces a $288,000 budget deficit and declining enrollment. Administrators said closing the school would make up for the deficit. 

"I think it would affect everybody if they take the school away," Lone Rock parent Kelly Joles said. "Our teacher lives on the same block. I just worry about what would happen for them and the community."

"It'll be devastating to the community; this will be the third school locally, in Lone Rock, to close," grandparent Jim Crist said. "It will be a long bus ride for that 9-year-old in the morning, in the evening, I just think there's gotta be a different way." Crist said he believes closing the school would turn families away from Lone Rock. "We're trying to attract people here; who wants to come to a place that ain't got a school? It's going to be really hard," Crist said.
Who indeed. Oh, that’s right, Republicans haven't gotten around to reformulating the way schools are funded so things like this won't happen. Oh, wait, State Superintendent Tony Evers came up with a plan but the GOP is ignoring it because he's a Democrat. Real grownup like: 
District Administrator Tom Wermuth said his district, like many rural districts throughout Wisconsin, is plagued by high property values but low enrollment figures, which affects the funding his schools receive from the state. "Your Zip code in the state of Wisconsin should not dictate the type of education available to you," Wermuth said "I believe every child in our state has the right to similar education, and that shouldn't be dictated based on where your parents live."
Will we see the end of many small towns in Wisconsin?
Wermuth said many small communities are having trouble attracting families to live and send their children to school there. "What brings young families to school districts are jobs," Wermuth said. "If you look at some of our demographics and some of the demographics of our neighbors, we don't have high numbers of people between the ages of 18 and 35 living in our district, traditional child-bearing age, and it's primarily because of economic factors. For example, the principal at Lone Rock Elementary School has four children, three of his children would be impacted by this decision, again, this is something that we don't take lightly at all."
Republicans continue to attack many of their own constituents in rural Wisconsin with a proposal to limit school funding referendums statewide without any blowback.

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