Letter from Rep. Petryk: Eau Claire School District lowers levy
On Monday, October 21, 2013, the Eau Claire Leader Telegram reported great news that the Eau Claire school district would be lowering their tax levy. The school board approved the 2013-14 budget for the Eau Claire school district which levies $55.14 million in local property taxes as well as $123.3 million in total spending.
The decrease in the levy is equal to a 2.2 percent decrease compared to last year’s school district budget. The tax rate for the district would equal $9.68 per $1,000 of equalized property value which equates to a 4.2 percent decrease. A homeowner whose home value is $150,000 would owe $1,452, a $64 decrease, under the new levy limits.
This decrease in what our local property taxpayers will owe is primarily due to the prudent decisions that we made in Madison. Now, schools will be getting an increase in general state aid which has given them the ability to depend less on taxpayers to fund the school district. The Eau Claire school district is expected to receive 5.5 percent more in general state aid this year.
It is great to see that our reforms are working and I am proud to see this coming true in the 93rd Assembly District. With our continued efforts to decrease the burden on property taxpayers, it is my sincere hope that others in our district and across the state will see the same great benefits as are being reported by the Eau Claire school district.
Speaker’s Taskforce on Rural Schools
This week, the Speaker’s Task Force on Rural Schools met for the first time and held a public hearing in Rhinelander. I am fortunate to be a member of this important group which is led by Representative Swearingen of Rhinelander. This was the first of four hearings that will be held around the state on the issues impacting rural schools. Working with Representative Swearingen, I am attempting to have one of taskforce meetings in our district. I will keep you informed on the chair’s decision.
As I reported in the past, education has been and will continue to be a top priority not only for myself and the people of our 93rd Assembly District, but for the entire Legislature. Currently, 44 percent of the state’s students in the public school system attend classes in a rural community. Due to this large percentage, the Speaker of the Assembly, Robin Vos, determined that an intense examination of our rural schools was necessary and thus created the Speaker’s Task Force on Rural Schools.
At the hearing in Rhinelander, we heard from school administrators who spoke on several issues affecting their rural schools including declining enrollment and the loss of state aid. Due to a loss of students in some of these rural schools, several buildings have been closed to compensate for the loss of income. However, other school leaders spoke of an increase in funds due to tools provided to them in Act 10.
Another common theme amongst the school leaders was a need to reformulate the school funding formula. It has been known for years that the school funding formula is “broken.” Some schools receive less school aid because their property values are higher than other areas around the state. Long before I was first elected, the school funding formula has been under scrutiny. This issue will certainly remain a high priority for the taskforce.
Finally, these school leaders all had concerns about access to high speed internet. Solving this issue has a priority in the 93rd Assembly District for a long time. I have been working with experts on this issue and personally hope that we can provide increased access to this vital resource not only for our schools but for everyone living in the 93rd Assembly District and other rural communities. The lack of this resource is a detriment to the rural schools and their students as well as investment in business growth.
As the taskforce continues to meet, I am looking forward to hearing from other school leaders in other rural districts about their concerns. The ultimate goal is determining solutions that can help Wisconsin’s rural schools and their students succeed.
The 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree Theme Announced
Governor Walker recently announced the 2013 Capitol Christmas tree theme which will be Wisconsin Traditions. In an effort to decorate the tree appropriately, Governor Scott Walker invited all art teachers, parents, youth, and others all across Wisconsin to participate in the decorating of the tree.
The theme, Wisconsin Traditions, is meant to elicit decorations based on Wisconsin citizen’s favorite pastimes. That can include sporting events, various locations around the state, as well as favorite Wisconsin activities. The Governor is hoping for all ideas from the Packers, Brewers, and Bucks to hunting, trapping, and fishing. Basically, anything that makes Wisconsin a great place to live and work could make for a great Wisconsin Traditions tree decoration.
Anyone interested in submitting ornaments for the tree can please send those to:
DOA/Division of Facilities Management
17 West Main Street, Suite 119
Madison WI 53703
Ornaments received for the Wisconsin Traditions Christmas tree will be put on display during the holiday season. Please send in all ornaments by Friday, November 22nd to be considered for placement on the tree.
National Take-Back Initiative
October 26th, 2013, is the National Prescription Drug Take-Back day. This program provides a responsible and convenient way for people to dispose of their unused and unwanted prescription medications. By disposing of these medications through this program, we protect not only our environment and other people from potential harm due to improper disposal, but it gives the public the opportunity to educate themselves about the harmful effects of the abuse of medication.
In 2010, the President signed into law the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act. This new law altered the Controlled Substances Act to provide the Attorney General with the necessary power to allow patients to deliver unused prescription controlled substances to appropriate disposal locations. Also, this law allows for the authorization of controlled substance disposal by long-term health care facilities on behalf of patients.
The U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration has put together a very helpful website, http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/. Here you can locate collection sites in your area as well as learn more about the program itself.
I hope that each of you will take the time this weekend to locate your unused and unwanted medications and find a drop off location in your area. Together, we can keep or environment safe, keep these medications out of the hands of others, and learn more about the dangers of drug abuse.
In-District Office Hours
I will be holding in-district office hours on the following Mondays: November 4th, November 18th, and December 2nd, 2013. The goal of these office hours is to welcome constituents from the 93rd Assembly District to come and speak directly to me on issues of importance to you.
The following are the times and locations for office hours. Individual constituent meeting times will be based on a first come first serve basis as time allows:
November 4, 2013
Pepin: Pepin Village Hall – Community Room
508 2nd St
Pepin, WI 54579
Bay City: Flat Pennies Ice Cream
W6442 Hwy 35
Bay City, WI 54723
Elmwood: Elmwood Village Hall – Dining Room
323 W. Winter Ave
Elmwood, WI 54740
Durand: Durand City Hall
104 E. Main St.
Durand, WI 54736
November 18, 2013
Pierce/ Pepin Cooperative: W7725 US Hwy 10
Ellsworth, WI 54011
Prescott: Prescott City Hall – Council Chambers
800 Borner St
Prescott, WI 54021
December 2, 2013
Pleasant Valley Pleasant Valley Town Hall
S10414 County Road I
Eleva, WI 54701
Downsville: Downsville Town Hall
E4583 County Road C
Menomonie, WI 54735
Plum City: Senior Center
501 Main St
Plum City, WI 54761
Spring Valley: Spring Valley Village Hall
E121 South 2nd Street
Spring Valley, WI 54767
Upcoming Events in the 93rd Assembly District
Plum City American Legion Hall
Durand FFA Corn Drive
Country Side Co-Op
Rock Creek Lutheran church
N1101 810th St, Mondovi
Pepin United Methodist Church Hotdish Supper
504 2nd Street, Pepin
Amish Benefit Pancake Breakfast
Countryside Bakery 5mi south of Rock Falls County Rd O
Durand Area Optimist Craft Festival
November 2nd 9-2:30
Arkansaw Elementary School
Pepin County Shooting Range Hours
October 25; 1-6:00 p.m.
October 26 Nov 2,9,16; 9-5:00 p.m.
October27 Nov 1,3,7,8,10,17; 12-5:00 p.m.
Monday through Friday November 11-15; 8-5:00 p.m.
Monday through Friday November 18-22; 8-5:00 p.m.
Closed during gun deer season
Durand Rod and Gun Club Chicken Dinners
Greater Insurance Service of Durand (715) 672-5921
Mondovi Insurance-Mondovi (715)926-3341