Rural Schools Task Force Hears From Superintendent, Administrators

Dec 18, 2013

The Assembly Speaker's Rural Schools Task Force held its third hearing Tuesday in Madison. 

Transportation costs have been cited by many rural school districts as a big challenge.
Credit John O'Brien


Legislators heard more than three hours of testimony from educational groups and administrators.   State Superintendent of Schools Tony Evers spoke about the financial challenges facing rural schools.

"We need to do something about fixing our funding system for all the schools in the state.  We need to find ways to allocate resources that take into account the income levels of families, and not just the community's property value." 

State Representative Rob Swearingen of Rhinelander chairs the task force.  He says broadband access is a key issue that's been highlighted over the course of the hearings.  And he notes there are some regional differences in school priorities. 

"When we were in the northern part of the state, up in Rhinelander and Eagle River, their priority was the high cost of transportation, as well as broadband.  When we got down to the southern area of the state I guess you could say - or south central, their problem was more on teacher retention and attraction." 

Swearingen says future hearings will focus more on testimony from parents and teachers.  Three more are scheduled, including one in the Antigo area on January 8th.  The task force plans to report to the legislature by early March. 

Some audio  courtesy of Wisconsin Eye.