Delavan-Darien School Board approves petition calling for changes to school funding

Sign it online or in-person at our school offices.

DELAVAN — The Delavan-Darien School Board has unanimously approved a petition to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and the state’s legislature to make adjustments to the state equalized aid (revenue limit) formula.

The petition asks lawmakers to take into account the makeup of the district’s student body, including students from poverty, homeless students, minority students and students with special educational needs.

Delavan-Darien School District ranks high in Wisconsin in those four areas. In fact, according to publicly-available data from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, only two other Wisconsin school districts on a percentage basis, have higher numbers of students in these four groups than Delavan-Darien. Those two districts are Menominee Indian School District and Lac du Flambeau School District, both Native American tribal reservation school systems.

Delavan-Darien also has one of the lowest revenue limit caps in the state, putting the district at a financial disadvantage when it comes to funding quality educational opportunities and programs for students.

The low revenue limit cap has led the district to seek and pass an operational referendum for $1.25 million in 2015. The board is currently considering another referendum to cover operational and possibly facility expenses during the April 2018 election.

IMAGE: Ron Deschner

Ron Deschner

“The whole idea behind the petition is this; We can’t keep going out for referendums to try and fund the quality programs we’re trying to run,” said board member Ron Deschner, a retired Delavan-Darien High School teacher. “We have to let the state know that we have this huge problem with student funding compared to other school districts in the area, and we have much higher needs than those other districts and most other districts in the state.”

Despite the district’s best efforts to improve opportunities and academic outcomes for students, its ability to do so is constrained by the funding formula.

“The revenue limit formula hurts us,” Superintendent Robert Crist said. “We have more trouble keeping quality teachers because we can’t match salaries. We’re bringing back or expanding our technology programs, our auto mechanics program, our culinary programs, our dual language programs. We’re trying to do the right thing for our community and its students, but we’re having difficulty with it due to the funding formula.”

The petition letter asks the governor and legislature to not let state aid formulas discriminate against students with high educational needs.

“Provide proper finances and alter the equalized aid formula to reflect these areas of need,” the petition letter reads. “The residents of the Delavan-Darien School District expect our students to have the same opportunities, with proper state aid, as all other students in the state.”

Crist, along with Delavan-Darien School Board members, have reached out personally and by mail to area legislators requesting changes to the funding formulas.

The petition elevates those contacts and gives a greater voice to Delavan-Darien School District residents to reach out and show legislators they support their local school system.

“We’re exploring every alternative we can to address this issue,” Deschner said. “I’d love to get several thousand people in our community so sign this petition and send it to the state saying we, and other school districts like us, need this. It’s really imperative that we get some equality in state school funding.”

HOW TO SIGN

Sign the petition online on change.org.

If you would like to sign the petition in-person, visit any of our school buildings or offices during normal school hours:

  • School Administration Center, 324 Beloit St., Delavan
  • Delavan-Darien High School, Main Office, 150 Cummings St., Delavan
  • Phoenix Middle School, Main Office, 414 Beloit St., Delavan
  • Darien Elementary School, Main Office, 125 S. Walworth St., Darien
  • Turtle Creek Elementary School, Main Office, 1235 Creek Road, Delavan
  • Wileman Elementary School, Main Office, 1001 E. Geneva St., Delavan

PETITION LETTER

Dear Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin State Legislators,

As a resident of the Delavan-Darien School District, we are wondering why our revenue per child  is one of the lowest in the area? It is currently $9,440 per child. Statistically, we have a higher percentage of children with needs than most districts do. We rank third of all school districts in the state with all four areas of need that require more resources to provide equal education with students of other districts. The areas that require more resources than normal are: minority population, homeless students, free/reduced lunch qualifiers, and students with an IEP.

Why is our revenue per child so much less than other districts that do not have these student needs? Do not discriminate against our students. Please provide proper finances and alter the revenue limit formula to reflect these areas of need.

The residents of the Delavan-Darien School District expect our students to have the same opportunities, with proper funding, as all other students in the state. Thank you!

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Sign Online

Sign In-Person

If you would like to sign the petition in-person, visit any of our school buildings or offices during normal school hours:

  • School Administration Center, 324 Beloit St., Delavan
  • Delavan-Darien High School, Main Office, 150 Cummings St., Delavan
  • Phoenix Middle School, Main Office, 414 Beloit St., Delavan
  • Darien Elementary School, Main Office, 125 S. Walworth St., Darien
  • Turtle Creek Elementary School, Main Office, 1235 Creek Road, Delavan
  • Wileman Elementary School, Main Office, 1001 E. Geneva St., Delavan

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