STEVENS POINT, WI (WSAU) - Wisconsin’s Superintendent of Public Instruction joined about 100 high school students and several administrators to discuss the future of learning and education. The State Superintendent’s Youth Summit was held Wednesday at the UW-Stevens Point Dreyfus University Center. State Superintendent Tony Evers says it was a good discussion about how people learn and how schools can better teach. He says they discussed, "How they like to learn as compared to how they're learning now. The types of things that are important to them, whether they're hands-on learners or auditory learners, really kind of getting at the nuts and bolts of how they as individuals learn. That kind of information is going to be very valuable to us.”
The summit had presentations, break-out sessions, and ended with a tour of the UW Stevens Point campus.
While at the Dreyfus Center, Superintendent Evers answered some questions about his recent school funding proposal. WSAU asked him about his recent request to legislators and the Governor to adopt his “Fair Funding for Our Future” plan.
Dr. Evers says his proposal would increase general and categorical school aid by 2.4% in the first year and 5.5% the following year. He also wants to see Wisconsin return to covering 2/3rd of school funding. "If it goes through and legislators agree with it, we will be on our way probably by 2017 to get back to two-thirds funding, and I think that's a worthy goal.”
Evers says the present school aid formula is often harsh on districts with high property values and a struggling local economy. He says one way to help is to fund cost of living increases and have a guaranteed funding level for every child in every district. "We would be guaranteed a $3,000 per student level. There's many schools, especially in northern Wisconsin, that don't get that much because they have such high property values. That would create some sustainability. Then, we're looking for cost of living increases over time just like other programs.”
Part of his plan would include a “poverty weighting factor” to state aid formulas that would be more equitable than using the property tax base alone. He is also proposing changes in transportation aid to schools to provide more assistance for bussing in rural, high mileage districts.