Friday, June 21, 2013

Senate Passes Budget by One Vote/ More on Vouchers

The State Senate passed the budget by just one vote last evening.  In addition, there seems to be some concern over language inserted into the budget regarding the newly expanded voucher program.  Specifically, there is a provision that potentially renders the cap on voucher students state-wide meaningless. Click the link for coverage from the Journal Sentinel:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Assembly Drops Additional Voucher Expansion

The State Assembly Republicans have dropped the "technical" amendment regarding further voucher expansion prior to passing the budget.  Journal Sentinel coverage here:

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

State Superintendent Evers' Response

Following is a link to a press release by State Superintendent Tony Evers regarding the "technical" amendment mentioned in my previous post:

Is a Deal a Deal?

Apparently not in the Wisconsin State Capitol.  The assembly is planning to change the budget with a "technical amendment.  See the draft memo form the Legislative Fiscal Bureau here: Memo

There is also some media coverage on the topic available here:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

State Education Budget Update

Following is a link to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau's (LFB) comparative summary of the Governor's proposed budget versus that of the Joint Finance Committee.  We are still waiting on analysis from the DPI. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Speak Up Survey Results 2012

Wisconsin 2012 Speak Up Results
·         WISCONSIN ONLY RESULTS placed a large XLS spread sheet in DPI Google Shared Drive -- -- It will work best if you download the 175 page document as it breaks down the results by grade band & role (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, parents, etc…) using the tabbed XLS worksheets!
Key Findings from this year’s NATIONAL report include:
·         Today’s teachers, administrators and parents are increasingly mobile-using, texting, tweeting social media devotees whose personal and professional lives are dependent upon Internet connectivity and online collaborative learning environments. A majority of teachers (52 percent), parents (57 percent) and district administrators (52 percent) are now regularly updating a social networking site, and many are using a personal mobile device such as a smartphone to do that.
  • Four out of ten district leaders (41 percent) in 2012 pinpointed achievement measured by test scores and closing the achievement gap as top concern points for their district, a growth of 21 percent over 2011 responses.
  • Teachers are increasingly interested in leveraging technology for activities with students and many are modifying their instructional plans to incorporate more digital experiences. Nearly a majority of classroom teachers (45 percent) noted in 2012 that they were creating more interactive lessons because of having access to technology, an increase of 25 percent in just the past two years.
  • A continuation of the multi-year stagnation in funding for new education technology investments is finally forcing school and district leaders to scrap the plans they have on hold, and to test new ways to leverage technology to increase revenue or decrease costs even though some of these approaches challenge conventional wisdom and long held policy positions. In 2012, we see proof of this digital conversion happening right in the principal’s office. Today, over a third of principals (36 percent) say that a new Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to school policy for students is likely this school year.
  • Social media and digital tools and resources have transcended the classroom and are emerging strongly as key components of 21st century school to home communications. 37 percent of parents wish that their child’s teacher or school would communicate with them via text messaging, less than one-quarter of teachers (23 percent) say that texting between parents and teachers is a common practice today.
SpeakUp Survey 2012
K-12 Students
Dist Admin
Sch Admin
Tech Leaders

Ø  In 2010 Teachers and Librarians were counted in a single category as Teachers and District, School and Tech Leaders were counted in a single category as “administrators”.
Ø  In 2011, Teachers and Librarians were disaggregated and the District and School administrators were disaggregated.
Ø  In 2012, School Administrators were disaggregated further into Tech Leaders.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Walker Budget Remains Largely Unchanged by the JFC

Apparently, most of the budget proposed by Governor Walker will remain unchanged at this time after examination by the Joint Finance Committee (JFC).  There is a possibility for more voting in coming weeks.

More here from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Election Results

The Board of Canvassers met on Wednesday, April 3rd and certified the election results for the referendum question as well as the races for the two open seats on our board of education.  The certified results are as follows:

Referendum:                         YES = 308      NO = 180

Board of Education:            
Alsbury = 331             Lovelady = 293           Bowers = 230              Write In = 1

With the passage of the referendum question, our district will have the authority to levy an additional $500,000.00 in 14-15 and 15-16 and $550,000.00 in 16-17 and 17-18.  This directly translates to a much greater ability to maintain, enhance, and improve both programming and facilities district-wide over the years of the new referendum.  The community support for our school district is phenomenal and is the primary reason for the continued success of this district. 

The board election results indicate that both Nate Alsbury and Josh Lovelady retain their seats on the board while Chad Bowers remains on the board as an appointee as a result of Brandon Olson’s resignation in December of 2012.  Remember that there were only two vacant seats with three people running.  Since Chad Bowers was not elected to a vacant seat by popular vote this time around, he will have to run again in April of 2014 for a three year term at that time.  For the time being, he retains his appointment to the board and will have to be elected to a seat by popular vote in next spring’s election to retain a seat past April of 2014.  In short, the board remains “status quo” until the next election cycle.  I will also note that the News-Shield incorrectly reported that Chad Bowers would have to be re-appointed; this is not the case as his appointment is effective until April of 2014 as outlined in State statute and described above.

Thank you all once again for your support of this referendum and your continued support of our schools.

As always, you may contact me at any time with questions.


Craig G. Broeren
District Administrator
715-455-1683 ext. 119

Monday, March 25, 2013

Referendum Election Tuesday, April 2nd 2013

As many of you are aware, on Tuesday, April 2nd we will be asking voters to approve a referendum to exceed the revenue cap.  This new referendum will replace the two that are expiring at the conclusion of the next school year (13-14) totaling $450,000.00.  The new referendum will total $500,000.00 in the first two years (14-15 and 15-16) and $550,000.00 in the second two years (16-17 and 17-18). The impact on local property taxes will be minimal based on what we have experienced in the past; a range of 10.0 to 12.5 is what is predicted for the duration of the new referendum.  Our last information session is this evening at 7:00 pm in the HS IMC.

Please vote YES on Tuesday, April 2nd!

Please contact me at any time with questions.

Craig G. Broeren
715-455-1683 ext. 119

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Walker Backs Accountability Report Cards for Voucher Schools?

In an apparent change of heart, Governor Walker has indicated that he is in favor of holding voucher schools accountable to at least the standards dictated by the "new" school report cards.  Following is a link to the Journal- Sentinel article:

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

More On Voucher Plan

Senate President Mike Ellis (R)- Neenah provides some opinions on the impending voucher expansion discussed as part of the 13-15 budget:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The WASB Reaction to the Governor's Budget

The following link will bring you to a copy of the Wisconsin Association of School Board's (WASB) press release regarding the Governor's proposed budget:

Monday, February 18, 2013

Superintendent Ever's Response to the State Budget

State Superintendent Tony Evers issued a statement regarding the state education budget as previewed to news media over the weekend. Additional information is available on the Department of Public Instruction newsroom website
Please direct comments or questions about this news item to Patrick Gasper, DPI Communications Officer, (608) 266-3559(DPI staff members monitor calls and messages on this line every business day.)

SAA Update Regarding Walker's Budget Proposal

The School Administrator's Alliance (SAA) has released the following in reference to the talk out of the Governor's office regarding both the biennial budget as well as the voucher expansion issue: 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Listening/ Discussion Session

State Senator Bob Jauch and State Representative Stephen Smith will be conducting a listening/ discussion session at Prairie Farm School District on Saturday, February 16th from 11:00am until 1:00pm in the high school gym.  Everyone is welcome!

Please contact me for more information.

Craig Broeren

Monday, January 28, 2013

More On The Referendum

As some of you may know, the board adopted a resolution to bring a referendum question to voters in this April’s election.  We are bringing the question to voters this April due to the fact that there is no planned election in the fall of 2013 and if the referendum does not pass, we can make changes and bring the question a second time in the spring of 2014.  To be clear, this referendum will replace the two that expire at the end of next year (2013-2014) and will take effect in 2014-2015.  The two referenda we currently have total $450,000.00 per year in additional revenue cap authority; the resolution adopted by the board will ask voters to approve a four year, non-recurring referendum for $500,000.00 in the first two years and $550,000.00 in the second two years.  The rationale behind the increase of $50,000.00 from the current amount, and again in the second two years of the new referendum is largely due to the increased costs of doing business in addition to multiple facility improvements and upgrades planned over time.  The positive news regarding the slightly larger amount is that district residents will see a lower mill rate than in recent years primarily due to the district becoming debt free at the conclusion of this year.  Initial estimates indicate that if the new referendum is approved, the mill rate would range between 11.0 and 12.0 with a worst case scenario at around 12.5 and a best case scenario around 10.0.  Once the State’s biennial budget is unveiled, we will have a much better grasp on specifically what we are looking at for the immediate future and subsequently, the forecasting of what is to come throughout the years of the new referendum.  I am confident that the range described above is a solid estimate.

As in the past, the district will be conducting informational meetings to discuss the referendum and its effect on residents.  These meetings will be held in the High School IMC at 7:00pm on Thursday, February 21st; Tuesday, March 12th; and Monday, March 25th.     

Please contact me at any time with questions.


Craig G. Broeren
District Administrator
715-455-1683 ext. 119

Thursday, January 17, 2013

School Security Update

Due to recent occurrences, school security has become an issue on everyone's mind and our board is no different.  At our regular board meeting last month, the board heard from concerned parents and also discussed many aspects of our security district-wide.  As a result of that meeting, I wanted to take some time to share with you some of the things that have been transpiring in addition to some plans for the future.  To begin, on Monday January 21st, the board will consider two bids from security companies which would modify our main entrances to have both electronic locks (which would be locked throughout the day) as well as video interfaces.  Visitors to the district would have to buzz the office to be let in after they are identified via the video.  In addition to this, we have also conducted a comprehensive review and update of our emergency management plan, evaluated all interior doors and locks and made changes where necessary, labeled all exterior windows and doors (in process) for easy identification, and will be conducting "active shooter" training for all staff in the near future.  In addition to these changes/ updates, the board is also considering other facility changes including modifying the entrances further to funnel all visitors to the offices prior to entry into the building and a potential re-key and security update to all exterior doors.  Clearly, these processes take time but I assure you that our focus is the safety and security of EVERY individual in our schools.

If you have any questions, please contact me at any time.

Craig G. Broeren
District Administrator
715-455-1683 ext. 119

Monday, January 7, 2013

Referendum Update- January 2013

Happy New Year!  I hope that 2013 brings many great things for you and your families.  The purpose of this article is to notify the residents of the Prairie Farm School District that we have to accelerate our referendum planning and proposal to be ready to bring a question to voters for this April’s election.  This is a result of the fact that there are no elections planned for the fall of 2013 when we had initially planned on conducting a referendum to replace the two that are set to expire at the end of the 2013-2014 school year.  The rationale behind this decision is that the district will still have the opportunity to bring the question to voters a second time in the event the first attempt fails this spring; in addition, we will not have to conduct a special election which would cause district taxpayers to incur the additional cost of paying for polling workers, ballots, and all of the other costs associated with conducting a special election.  The board and administration is currently working out some of the details of the proposed referendum question and I intend to provide information to the community as it becomes available through the news media and by conducting public meetings in the near future.  At this time, I do know that the board intends to propose one referendum question which would replace the two we currently have out totaling $450,000.00 (one for $200,000.00 and the most recent one for $250,000.00); however, I do not know specifically the quantity we will seek or the duration.  It is safe to assume that the new referendum would at a minimum replace the $450,000.00 we currently have; in addition, the board will NOT seek a recurring referendum rather a non-recurring and would decide on a reasonable time frame of 3 to 5 years.  Taxpayers should also note that the final building bond the district is currently paying will have been paid in full by April of 2014 which means that the district will have no debt payments when the new referendum (if passed) is in place beginning the 2014-2015 school year.   

The district will provide all of the relevant figures to residents in the coming weeks and months.  There will also be further correspondence regarding the dates, times, and places of informational meetings regarding the referendum and its potential impact to taxpayers.     

As always, please feel free to contact me anytime.


Craig G. Broeren
District Administrator
715-455-1683 ext. 119