Tuesday September 17, 2019

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25
Aug
2016

eric-genrichReport to address challenges facing urban schools in Wisconsin.


GREEN BAY - State Representative Eric Genrich (D-Green Bay), GBEA President Lori Cathey, GBAPS Board of Education Member Mike Blecha, and Amy Bahena-Ettner of Green Bay Advocates 4 Public Education unveiled the Minority Report of the Speaker’s Task Force on Urban Education this morning at the Brown County Courthouse Rotunda.

The Urban Education Task Force was originally created to address challenges facing urban schools in Wisconsin. However, the official report issued by the chair did not fully reflect the content of the hearings and necessitated the release of a second report.

The mission of the Task Force was to study issues pertaining to teacher recruitment and retention; best practices to address problems such as truancy, below average academic performance, and low graduation rates; ways to improve access to technology in high poverty urban communities; and review the “Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program” created in the 2015-17 budget.

Speakers were available to answer questions about the report and share their thoughts about the direction of urban education in Green Bay and Wisconsin.

A more complete summary of the findings will follow.

Written by GBP Staff   
 
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24
Aug
2016

jennifer-shillingLA CROSSE, WI - Wisconsin’s universities and technical colleges are the economic engines of our state. From workforce development and biotech research to improving farm production and assisting entrepreneurs, we’ve always benefited from strong schools.

But now, after years of Republican budget cuts, businesses are losing out on valuable opportunities, our middle class is shrinking and students are graduating with record amounts of debt. In fact, Wisconsin is home to nearly 1 million student loan borrowers who owe a combined $19 billion in debt.

The student loan debt crisis is causing an economic ripple affect across our state. As a result of high student loan payments, many in our state can’t afford to buy a new car, purchase their first home, open a business or simply start a family.

dave-hansenDemocrats, led by Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine), have made it a priority to ease this burden. Working with students and families, we’ve introduced the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Bill. The proposal would allow individuals to refinance student loans at lower interest rates and provide targeted relief to working families who are struggling to make ends meet. It’s a commonsense and effective solution to lower student loan debt and make college more affordable.

Unsurprisingly, Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans have sided with big Wall Street banks to block this bill from passing. As a result, graduates continue to pay high interest rates on increasingly burdensome monthly payments and our economy continues to suffer.

Written by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator Dist 32 (B)   
 
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24
Aug
2016

john-powersVietnam Veteran, History Teacher John N. Powers from rural small town Wittenberg takes on career Wisconsin Senate fixture Rob Cowles in David v. Goliath race, and he wants to do it without accepting any donations.


GREEN BAY - In a scene that reminds one of David v. Goliath, John N. Powers of Wittenberg officially announced his candidacy for the Senate seat in Wisconsin’s 2nd District last week. John is seeking to unseat a political institution in the Senate, Republican Robert Cowles, and he wants to do it without accepting any donations from any source in his campaign.

Rob CowlesCowles has been in the Senate for 29 years, more than any other Republican. He has consistently won re-election by large margins or been unopposed. In the Senate, he is the chair of the Natural Resources and Energy Committee. You would hope that someone with that kind of seniority and position would be a voice for reason representing his district's residents first.

Powers says he will put his record of public service up against his opponent’s any day of the week. That record started at age 17 when he enlisted and served four years in the military, including a year of USAF Intelligence Operations in Vietnam (1967-68).

John earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from UW-Stevens Point. He has lived in rural Wittenberg since 1974, teaching US history among other things for 31 years in Shawano County, Bowler and Wittenberg-Birnamwood schools. While teaching, he also found time to spend 15 years as a Boy Scout leader. For the past 10 years, he has worked at St. Clare's Hospital in Wausau as a unit coordinator in the emergency room.

“This will not be an ordinary campaign,” Powers says. “In this time of drastic cuts to our public schools, a state agency that gives hundreds of millions of our tax dollars to businesses that fail to create jobs, and a complete gutting of the authority of the DNR, Wisconsin cannot continue to allow our elected officials to be exempt from prosecution for political corruption while enforcing gag orders on state employees.”

Powers points to Cowles’ recent proposal on high capacity wells, Senate Bill 291. That proposal would remove all decision making from the DNR and turn it over to the legislature. So, if the local DNR is inspecting a problem well, it may not consider the impact caused by any other wells and instead must request approval from the Joint Committee on Finance in Madison .

This loss of local control doesn't make much sense to John. He also feels Wisconsin cannot continue to give away our tax dollars with no jobs being created in return. As a former teacher, he knows Wisconsin cannot give more of our tax dollars per student to private schools than to our public schools.

Feeling very strongly that our system of elections is broken, Powers will not accept any donations from any source in his campaign. “More than 70% of the people in this state feel that Citizens United should be repealed. Yet we continue to allow money to be the deciding factor in our elections, even at this level. I will not participate in an auction,” says Powers. “You will have to decide to vote for me, or not, based on my merit, not my money. If I succeed you will have made history. If not, we go back to the status quo.”

***

You can find out more about John Powers for State Senate on FaceBook or at www.voterpowers.com

Written by GBP Staff   
 
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24
Aug
2016

veteranflagLFB Memo shows Veteran Trust Fund faces $43.1 million deficit by 2020

Written by Wisconsin Senate Democrats   
 
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