Providing Testimony at the Virtual Joint Finance Committee Hearing

As one of the speakers from our district, I had an opportunity to share testimony for the Virtual Joint Finance Committee Hearing. Each year, the board determines key legislative priorities for the biennial budget cycle. Check out the 2021 – 2023 Legislative Priorities.

I focused my comments on two items:

  1. A predictable and sustainable K-12 Funding model
  2. A revenue limit exemption through 2023 to fund safety & security improvements and expand student mental health services

Here is my full testimony:

Dear Members of the Joint Finance Committee,

Thank you for the opportunity to address the committee. I serve as the school board treasurer in the
School District of Menomonee Falls.

First and foremost, I would like to express support for a predictable and sustainable K-12 Funding
model. A revenue limit increase that keeps pace with the consumer price index will help districts have
dependable levels of funding.

The work of educating children and preparing them for their futures is a worthy investment and deserves stable, dependable funding each and every budget cycle. We can all agree that Wisconsin needs an educated workforce, and public schools help prepare students to fill the talent pipeline.

Secondly, I ask you to consider a revenue limit exemption through 2023 to fund safety & security
improvements and expand student mental health services.

My children in 3rd and 5th grade have experienced 100% virtual school, a hybrid model, and face to face instruction five days a week. They are much happier and more successful in person.

Not all children have fared well this past year.

I’ve heard from families whose children are struggling and need mental health services. They are often shocked to learn that earliest appointments with a provider are often months away.

Locally, we have worked to increase access to care for families with outside providers staffing clinics in our schools. We also have a peer-to-peer counseling program. However, the need for mental health preventative and responsive care is still great.

Pre-pandemic, the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey listed suicide as the 2nd leading cause of death
among adolescents in Wisconsin. Nearly 60% of survey respondents said they experienced depression, anxiety, self-harm or suicidal ideation in the past 12 months.

I request funding for mental health that provides school districts the flexibility to spend on programming that best supports their school community.

Thank you for your hard work on allocating budget dollars to support a bright future for children and for our state.

Providing Testimony at the Virtual Joint Finance Committee Hearing
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