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We, the Irrelevant

Formerly known as We, the People

Why are the "Fund Public Education" numbers so large?

NOTE: To date, I have personally reviewed the records provided by 31 different legislators. There are many citizens who support the existing voucher system. There are fewer who support its expansion. 

I have not encountered a single statement from anyone asking for the de-funding of Wisconsin's K-12 public schools. 

Sheila Plotkin

We, the Irrelevant volunteers recently sent open records requests (ORRs) to all WI GOP legislators asking for citizen correspondence regarding the funding of public education. If you look at the various spreadsheets where the data are displayed, you'll note unusually large numbers in the Fund Public Education column. Those numbers require some explanation:

Seven specific bills were included in the search terms. But, when citizens write to legislators, they don't always mention specific bills by number. Often, they express their support or opposition to a particular policy or philosophy. Suspecting this would be true for the topic of public education funding, the search term "fund public education" was included along with the specific bill numbers.

Rep. Katsma's records contained a survey with nearly 900 respondents. There were 3 education questions and as many as 6 possible choices under each of those questions. In the absence of a recording device specific to that questionnaire, responses were counted if they supported public education funding whether K-12, UW, or both and if they opposed expansion of the voucher school network. A single citizen could be recorded as many as 6 times if they chose all of the pro-public education, anti-voucher system responses. 

Rep. Rob Brooks used the same survey, but by the time his records were reviewed, an appropriate recording device had been created. Studying that data will help you to understand the results of Katsma's survey a little better.