Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Tomah Truth


By Jeff Simpson

When Scott Walker took his first step to decimate(and privatize) public education with ACT10 and his first budget, he liked to brag about the Kaukauna Miracle.  Supposedly, Kaukauna School District was trhiving under his machete like cuts to their budget.  Thanks to our friend Jake, we found out that was not exactly the case.   See the budget cuts were so new they could use smoke and mirrors to cover for them.  

The smoke has cleared!   

Now we fast forward three years Wisconsin republican years and two Scott Walker budgets later and we see why they used smoke and mirrors to cover up the reality that they had created.  The reality is it is ugly for the hard working middle class people of WI. 

No better example of that than Tomah! 

Gary Grovesteen has served three decades on the Tomah School Board, and he has never seen a budget situation so bleak.
“In my 33 years of board membership, I’ve never experienced this,” Grovesteen said.
Grovesteen was referring to the Tomah Area School District’s projected budget deficit and the April 1 referendum that will ask taxpayers to plug the gap.
The referendum will ask voters to exceed state-imposed revenue limits by $300,000 for the 2014-15 school year, $750,000 for 2015-16 and $1.5 million for 2016-17. The deficit is caused by cutbacks in state aid starting in 2011 and Tomah’s declining enrollment.
“We’ve had a high level of support from the state, but that went bye-bye this year,” Grovesteen said. “The governor is asking districts around the state to do more on their own. That’s a haul considering all the cuts we’ve had to make so far.”
 Trim the fat you say?

The district made $2.2 million in cuts to salaries and benefits after the passage of Act 10 in 2011. The law eliminated collective bargaining for school district employees and made them contribute a higher percentage toward their health and retirement benefits.
The district also has eliminated a net of $350,000 worth of positions from 2008-12 and cut another $310,000 this year.
“We’ve made a lots of cuts,” school board president John McMullen said. “We’ve used all the tools in the toolbox, and it has kept us alive for a couple of years.”
He said the district isn’t looking to add new programs; it merely wants to maintain what it has.

Hmmmm I wonder if cutting $2,200,000 worth of salaries in the district has affected local business at all?    But I digress, how has it affected the local schools?

“The cuts beyond year one would decimate the district,” McMullen said. “I don’t know how we could confidently say our students would be getting a quality education if we had to make those cuts.

“I don’t want people to go to the polls believing this is just an option for the school district to use. This is absolutely essential to the viability of the school district.”

Somethings bare repeating:

 “The cuts beyond year one would decimate the district,” McMullen said. “I don’t know how we could confidently say our students would be getting a quality education if we had to make those cuts.
 The Tomah school district can get by on life support for one more year max, if things keep on the same Scott Walker/Robin Vos/Scott Fitzgerald path we are on currently.  

Congratulations to Tomah you were able to survive four years under Scott Walker's "leadership".  Of course you survived 155 years before he came into office, but them's the breaks!  

The good people of Tomah have a chance for a do-over though.  Send your message to the elected officials of the state.   Call up your local republican rep Lee Nerison

(608) 266-3534
(888) 534-0096
(608) 282-3696
Voting Address
S3035 County Road B
Westby, WI 54667    

Tell Mr. Nerison to stop playing ALEC games with your children's education and future!   

I would also highly recommend getting involved in helping get Pet Flesch elected in November!   Join his campaign here and here!

The people of the Tomah school district really are faced with two choices   

Vote YES on the referendum and keep the schools barely operating or vote NO on the referendum and seriously hurt your children's education and future and in the process, make your home unsellable!   

One last thing, I hope people finally start to get that voting yes for your local schools referendum and voting republican in Wisconsin is an oxymoron.    


  1. How many jobs and/or businesses has Wisconsin lost since Walker became governor??

  2. SKW's promise of 250,000 new jobs had only to do with the private sector. Even with that, he ignores all the jobs lost and only advertises the new (those largely paying less), rather than those that had already been there.
    As far as SKW is concerned, any public sector job lost is merely something that he thinks should be replaced by the private sector.
    Public schools be damned and set up for failure (then replaced by private interests), and he gets to shift the blame on localities for being forced to make the funding decisions.
    He could not care less about school children--it's all about his private, corporate, idealogical obsession that matters.

  3. Tomah had a chance for a do over and they went for Walker, now they are getting what they voted for.

  4. The Kaukauna Miracle? Here's a Kaukauna School Board member writing in the Post Crescent:

    1. The comments to the article make it apparent that Republicans believe support for public education is nothing more than leftist ideology seeking to bankrupt the state. Walker, Sykes, Belling, Koch puppet Steineke representing Kaukauna and the other demagogues running the Republican Party hate the idea of the masses being educated.