UPDATE: Wisconsin Democrats criticize rural schools report

UPDATED Wednesday, May 7, 2014 --- 11:40 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Democrats on a bipartisan committee studying rural schools say the final report from eight months of work falls short of fixing substantial problems.

Members of the Rural Schools Task Force said at a news conference Wednesday that the final report doesn't address declining enrollment and flaws in the state funding formula.

The committee's four Democrats were flanked by superintendents from rural school districts in Benton, Alma and Rhinelander.

The superintendents say they are grateful for the task force's work and legislation is needed next session to address the problems highlighted in the report.

The report released by Republican Rep. Rob Swearingen, of Rhinelander, calls for more money for schools with high transportation costs, funding for broadband Internet access and forgiving rural teachers' student loans.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, May 6, 2014 --- 4:52 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- An Assembly task force that researched Wisconsin's rural schools recommends more funding for schools and a change to the state's funding formula.

The committee's chairman Rep. Rob Swearingen, of Rhinelander, recommends more money specifically for technology and transportation.

The report includes requests to tweak the current state revenue limits and other changes that would let schools raise more money.

Swearingen also recommends that the state allow schools to share grades without consolidating districts. Schools that combine schools could share costs like staffing and transportation.

The task force held six hearings at districts throughout the state. Superintendents told the committee they were in dire straits for more funding.

The Legislature is adjourned for the year, so the soonest any of the recommendations could be acted upon is January.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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Posted March 9, 2014

CUBA CITY, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin's rural schools are asking a state committee to change the way the state gives aid so they can avoid budget cuts and closing schools.

The Rural Schools Task Force is drafting its recommendations after spending six months touring school districts in all corners of the state. Some lawmakers said they were surprised to find the schools were in such dire straits.

School officials say state limits on the amount of money they can levy each year limits their ability to balance budgets and meet increased costs.

Superintendents from rural schools told committee Chairman Rob Swearingen, Republican of Rhinelander, rural schools are at a disadvantage when compared to non-rural schools. They asked the state to change the funding formula to help schools across the state.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press


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