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Democrats unhappy with rural school panel recommendations

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Minority Democrats on a state Assembly task force said the panel's final recommendations fell short of fixing problems with the rural public schools they studied.  

At a news conference Wednesday, Democratic members said the final report did not address declining enrollments, and flaws in the formula for providing state aid to schools.  

Superintendents from Rhinelander, Benton, and Alma joined the four Democrats on the task force in raising their concerns.

Assembly Republican Rob Swearingen of Rhinelander chaired the task force and released the recommendations Tuesday. They included more state funding for bilingual programs, high busing costs, more high-speed Internet access, and forgiving student loans for teachers who stay in rural areas.  

It also called for tweaks in the state funding formula -- plus a review of the 1993 state revenue limits which observers often blame for declines in rural schools.  

The superintendents said they were grateful for what the task force did, and the proposals need to be followed up in the next session with bills and money to adopt changes.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)