Who Will Be My Teacher?

Kathleen Vinehout
Who Will Be My Teacher?
by
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“Who will be my teacher?” my son asked me years ago. For a brief point in time, the teacher was the most important person in his young life.
 
As children head back to school and parents scramble with new schedules, schools are facing their own scheduling headaches. This year a teacher shortage hit many local schools. Around the state, school districts have hundreds of vacancies.
 
Recently, I presented an overview of state education budget issues in Viroqua. At least a dozen local superintendents, school board members, principals and teachers were in the audience. Following my presentation, the conversation turned to the teacher shortage.
 
Educators described an environment in which teachers in certain high demand subject areas move from one school district to another based on the best offer.
 
Two superintendents from neighboring school districts laughed when they realized they spent the summer bidding against each other to snag the same teacher. “Now we have teachers who come back [to our school] and say, ‘I’m getting a $6,000 increase in an offer from another school.’”
 
A staff member paid a $12,000 raise creates problems in districts where teachers went seven years with little raise in pay. John, a local teacher, told the group, “The impact on morale is just horrendous.” 

Scott Walker to Hold Fundraiser for Big Ag's Man, Scott Krug

citizens_mobilize_to_stop_massive_factory_farm_in_central_wisconsin.jpg

Scott Walker is attending a fundraising reception in honor of State Representative Scott Krug (R-Neekosa) as Republicans work to raise money for the polluters' caucus against water warriors in central Wisconsin.

Krug is being challenged by David Gorksi in a closely watch race pitting the environmentalist Gorksi against the polluters' man, Krug. David Gorski said today, "For Scott Krug to take the side of polluters against the people of the 72nd assembly district is a further betrayal that continues what Krug and Walker have done to Wisconsin. People are being brought to tears as they watch their homes and futures be sacrificed for corporate profits. We should be promoting our region's tourism and recreational treasures, not destroying them."

Finding Help for Flooded Families and Farms

Kathleen Vinehout
By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“It gets overwhelming,” my neighbor told me. We were walking through her flooded barnyard. Floodwaters left silt everywhere: in the house, the garden, the barn, and the farmyard.
 
Family members were working hard to clean up. But they were filled with unanswered questions: where to go and what to do?
 
Western Wisconsin was hit with several severe rainstorms in the past few weeks. Early morning on August 11 parts of Buffalo County received 5 ½ to 11 ½ inches of rain in just 45 minutes. The beautiful rolling hills intensified the power of the water as it raced towards the lowest point.
 
Huge gullies opened up. Roads washed out. Crops were damaged. Fence lines washed away. Pastures became lakes. Cattle and pigs were lost. Concrete buckled. Trees were uprooted. Small sheds floated away. Farm machinery flooded. Flower and vegetable gardens were covered with black muck.

Water Warrior David Gorski Gets Environmental Endorsements

David Gorski is challenging State Rep. Scott Krug in Wisconsin's Assembly Distict 72

State Assembly candidate David Gorski has received endorsements from Wisconsin environmental organizations, including from the Sierra Club - Wisconsin John Muir Chapter, Protect Wood County and Its Neighbors, and the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters.
Gorski is running as the Democratic Party nominee for Wisconsin’s 72nd district assembly race in northeastern Wisconsin.

Midwest Environmental Associates - Debunking the Heartland Institute

The Heartland Institute is a free market think tank that promotes an ideology driven by the principles of
deregulation, privatization and cuts to government spending. As an advocate for deregulation, the
Heartland Institute supports fewer regulations for industrial polluters, something that goes hand in
hand with its role as the world’s leader of the climate change denier movement. The Economist has
characterized the Heartland Institute as “the world’s most prominent think tank promoting skepticism

Where Did All that Money Go? Business Tax Credit Costs Pile Up

Kathleen Vinehout
Where Did All that Money Go? Business Tax Credit Costs Pile Up
By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“Where did all that money go?” Dennis asked me during a recent visit to the Jackson County Fair.
 
Dennis is one of many constituents who ask where the money for schools and roads is as our state recovers from the recession. Economic recovery means more money and more money should equal more resources for the public. Instead, state funds are very tight. For example, state aid to local public schools is less now than in 2006.
 
One reason is that the state is not collecting tax money from some large, and in several cases, very profitable companies. Recently I received a memo from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau detailing the awards given out for one large tax credit known as the Enterprise Zone Tax Credit. This credit – originally conceived to help rural communities – has morphed into large credits for single companies.
 
The memo contained a list of the total awards made and the companies that received them:
 
Amazon.com                                      $10.3 million
Bucyrus International, Inc.                     $20.0 million
Direct Supply                                   $22.5 million
Dollar General Corporation                      $ 5.5 million
Exact Sciences Corporation                      $ 9.0 million
Fincantieri Marine Group, LLC                   $28.0 million
InSinkErator                                    $15.5 million
Kestrel Aircraft Company, Inc.                  $18.0 million
Kohl’s Corporation                              $62.5 million
Mercury Marine                                  $65.0 million
MKE Electric Tool Corporation                   $18.0 million
Northstar Med. Radioisotopes, LLC               $14.0 million
Oshkosh Corporation                             $47.0 million
Plexus Corporation                              $15.0 million
Quad/Graphics, Inc.                             $61.7 million
Trane US Incorporated                           $ 5.5 million
Uline, Incorporated                             $18.6 million
W Solar Group, Incorporated                     $28.0 million
Weather Shield Mfg, Incorporated                $ 8.0 million
 
TOTAL (through Aug. 1, 2016)                $472.1 million
 

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