Appleton Concerned Taxpayers

News and CommentaryLast year, Appleton schools had the third-highest score on state report cards in the Fox Valley. This year, it's second from last.
Appleton Post-Crescent, November 16, 2022

Appleton saw by far the biggest drop among schools in the Fox Valley. Appleton’s overall score dropped by almost five points, taking it from “exceeds” to “meets” expectations.  According to data from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the Appleton Area School District's 2021-22 score of 66.6 is the lowest since at least 2012, although it comes close to the 2016-17 score of 66.9.


atholic Schools Outperformed Public Schools During Pandemic
School Choice Wisconsin, November 15, 2022

The “Nation’s Report Card” produced by the U.S. Department of Education finds Catholic schools outperformed public schools nationwide in math and reading in grades 4 and 8 in 2021-2022. The gap in performance between the Catholic and public schools in not new in the Report Cards; it was apparent all the way back to 1990. It’s gratifying to see the Catholic schools maintain their edge through the years, including through the pandemic.


The Kids aren’t Alright, and School Closures are the Reason
MacIver Institute, October 26, 2022

Dan O’Donnell takes on the abysmal test scores resulting from lengthy school closures in Wisconsin and across the country.


The Numbers are In: Choice is Growing in Wisconsin
School Choice Wisconsin, October 14, 2022

Good news! Choice is growing in Wisconsin! According to numbers released today by the state Department of Public Instruction, the state’s four private school parental choice programs reported a headcount of 52,189. This was an increase of 6.7 percent over 2021. 4K headcount in the private school parental choice programs increased by 8.5 percent, kindergarten increased by 5.1 percent and grades 1-12 were up by 6.8 percent.  Independent charter schools reported a headcount of 11,150, an increase of 4.5 percent from September 2021. 

 
Students in Wisconsin’s choice programs outperform traditional public school students on ACT
School Choice Wisconsin, September 30, 2022

The top choice news in the state at the moment: As in prior years, students in Wisconsin’s school choice programs have outperformed traditional public school students on the college-readiness ACT exam. See our press release here.



Fact Check And Analysis Of DPI Superintendent Underly’s State of Education Address
MacIver Institute, September 29, 2022

Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Jill Underly gave her second State of Education address last week in Madison. With academic achievement steadily declining the last few years and the disastrous push by the education establishment to virtual learning only making the decline worse, Underly’s speech should have focused solely on this crisis and what her plan is to fix it. Instead, Underly’s speech was an attack on anyone who suggests schools should refocus on teaching children the basics and without political indoctrination. The speech was jam-packed with virtue signaling to every radical group on the left. 

 
Give Every Wisconsin Family the Power to Choose the Best Education
Badger Institute, September 27, 2022

 This 15-page report from the Badger Institute presents the case for universal school choice in Wisconsin and how it can be achieved.

 
Influential Wisconsin Groups Launch Coalition for Education Freedom
Badger Institute, September 8, 2022

Wisconsin’s leading school choice advocacy groups agreed to work together to plan how school choice can become universal in Wisconsin.

 

 

Reading and Math Scores Plummeted During Pandemic, New Data Show

Wall Street Journal, September 1, 2022

 

The Education Department’s first look at test-score trends since the pandemic began reveals the worst drop in math and reading scores in decades for students in fourth grade, a crucial indicator for educational and economic trajectory. Scores released Thursday show unprecedented drops on the long-term trends tests that are part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the “Nation’s Report Card.” The tests are administered to U.S. students age 9.

Facts and FiguresEnrollment

 

Total enrollment  in 2022 is 14,491. The Appleton Area School District serves over 15,000 students in fifteen elementary schools, four middle schools, three high schools, thirteen Charter schools, and one magnet school.

 

 

Student Achievement

 

The Appleton Area School District’s latest annual “report card,” a 10-page report produced by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, can be found here:

 

https://www.aasd.k12.wi.us/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=14440741

 

The most important graphic in the latest (2021-2022) report card is the following:

 



 

In other words, average weighted student achievement in the Appleton Area School District was below the statewide average in 2021-2022.  The following graphic shows the percentage of students whose achievement on the state assessment of English language arts and mathematics skills are “below basic,” “basic,” “proficient,” and “advanced.”

 



 

 

2022-2023 Budget
 

The 2022-2023 fiscal year budget for the Appleton Area School District, less inter-fund transfers, is $243,984,990. Per-pupil spending is $16,837.

 

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A Thought Experiment

 

What if the tax dollars currently raised to fund a child’s education in a public school in Appleton, about $16,800, was instead given to parents in the form of a voucher to be used only to pay for tuition and other educational expenses of their child? Imagine that three teachers started their own small school and enrolled just 21 students. Their annual budget would be $16,800 x 21 = $352,800. If they paid themselves $90,000 a year — generous compensation for a job that offers 15 weeks of vacation! — they would still have nearly $7,000 a month ($82,800) left to pay for rent, utilities, insurance, etc.  Its student-teacher ratio would be 3:1! Would you send your child to that school?

 

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The full budget can be found here:

 

Budget Booklet 2022-2023

 

The June 2021 annual financial report can be found here:

 

https://www.aasd.k12.wi.us/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=14144763

Budget highlights for 2022-2023, as reported by the District:

·         The second year of the bi-annual state budget again had no increase in the per student revenue allocation from the State. We will not see an increase in our Revenue Limit authority for the third straight year. We will continue to get a “Declining Enrollment Exemption” and a “Hold Harmless Exemption” as part of the revenue limit formula. These exemptions will help offset the loss of revenue we would have seen due to our declining membership. Because of these factors, we are budgeting for a $2 million decrease in revenue compared to last year.

·         We have an increase in our open enrollment in this year and a slight decline in our open enrollment out. This net effect of an additional 959 students has a positive impact through open enrollment funding.

·         Due to having no change in our revenue limit authority, and an increase in state aid, the funding we receive from local property taxes will also see a decrease. However, the amount the AASD is required to levy to fund private school vouchers will increase from last year’s total of $4,520,772 to $ 5,612,335. Private school vouchers will make up $.53 of our tax rate, or the equivalent of $53 on $100,000 of property.

·         To offset these decreases we have received additional state funding through the Governor’s “Get Kids Ahead” initiative again this year. We also will continue to use the funds available from the Federal government through the American Rescue Plan (often referred to as ESSER funding). The full amount of this revenue will be spent mitigating the disruption to student learning caused by the pandemic.

·         The 2022-2023 fiscal year finished with a surplus of approximately $8.8 million. With no increase in revenue, this surplus will allow the district to cover operational increases that are caused by inflation. The most significant operational increases are; compensation increases, health insurance, cleaning costs, transportation, technology contracts, maintenance contracts, and utilities.

·         Staffing changes will have an effect on our 2022-2023 budget. Our overall staffing will decrease by 1.3%, with the largest decrease in ESSER supported positions as we no longer have the dedicated health room staff at each school.

·         Compensation increases for 2022-2023 were approved earlier in the year for all staff, at an average increase of 3.63% for all employee groups. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for districts was set this year at 4.7%.

·         Fund 80, our Community Service Fund will see an increase in the tax levy of 5.6% this year to keep pace with the increases in expenses of the Fund. This Fund continues to carry an appropriate positive fund balance at about 23.7%.

·         The District paid off the remaining Fund 38 debt in 2021-2022. The District again paid down additional long-term referendum debt (Fund 39) during 2021-2022. Leaving the remaining balance of Fund 39 debt at $6,360,000. It is budgeted for 2022-2023 to pay this remaining debt off in full.

·         The District has two referendum questions on the ballot for the November 8, 2022 election. The 2022-2023 proposed budget includes $8.7 million in tax levy (Fund 39) for future payment of this debt if these referendum questions are passed.

·         The District’s Equalized Property Value increased by 10.51% from just under $9.5 billion last year to nearly $10.5 billion this year. This increase means our tax levy will be dispersed across more property value thus driving down the mil rate.

·         Our tax rate, often referred to as our mil rate, is projected to decrease from $7.66 per $1,000 of equalized valuation to $7.10 per $1,000 of equalized valuation. 2022-2023 will be the ninth straight year in which the Appleton Area School District has had a decrease in our tax rate.

LeadershipSuperintendent

Greg Hartjes

Phone: (920) 832-6126

[email protected]

 

The Appleton Area School District welcomed a new Superintendent of Schools on July 1, 2022. Mr. Greg Hartjes has served as the Chief Financial Officer for the District since 2017, and prior to that was Principal of Appleton West High School, Appleton Technical Academy (ATECH), and Renaissance School for the Arts, Associate Principal, math teacher, and basketball coach in the AASD. He is currently in his 30th year serving in the Appleton Area School District.

 

Mr. Hartjes has a Master of Educational Leadership degree from Marian University, a Master of Mathematics Education degree from UW-Oshkosh, and a Bachelor in Mathematics degree from UW-Stevens Point. He is the father of three AASD graduates and his wife is a school secretary in the district.
Board Members



Kay S. Eggert
President

Term Expires
2024

1524 S. Weimar Street
Appleton, WI 54915
(920) 738-7517


Kristine M. Sauter
Vice President

Term Expires
2023

3509 Trillium Lane
Appleton, WI 54915
(920) 735-0891


Deborah C. Truyman
Clerk

Term Expires
2023

5823 N. Osprey Drive
Appleton, WI 54913
(920) 358-7212


James R. Bowman
Treasurer

Term Expires
2023

701 Canterbury Drive
Appleton, WI 54915
(920) 731-3754


Edward A. Ruffolo
Member

Term Expires
2024

3125 Windsong Lane
Appleton, WI 54914
(920) 738-6877
 

James K. Bacon
Member and CESA 6 Delegate

Term Expires
2025

1120 N. State Street
Appleton, WI 54911
(920) 278-9796
 

Pheng Thao
Member

Term Expires
2025

4801 Tanglewood Drive
Appleton, WI 54913
(612) 217-0865
 

School Board Meeting ScheduleA calendar of school board meetings can be found here:

 

https://www.aasd.k12.wi.us/district/board_of_education/schedule

 

Upcoming meetings:

 

Meeting Type
Date
Time
Board Meeting
Monday, December 12, 2022
6:00 p.m.
Stand Alone Work Session
Wednesday, December 21, 2022
7:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Pre-Meeting Work Session
Monday, January 9, 2023
4:00 - 5:45 p.m.
Board Meeting
Monday, January 9, 2023
6:00 p.m.
Board Meeting
Monday, January 23, 2023
6:00 p.m.
Board Meeting
Monday, February 13, 2023
6:00 p.m.
Stand-Alone Work Session
Wednesday, February 15, 2023
7:30 -10:30 a.m.
Board Meeting
Monday, February 27, 2023
6:00 p.m.
Pre-Meeting Work Session
Monday, March 13, 2023
4:00 - 5:45 p.m.
Board Meeting
Monday, March 13, 2023
6:00 p.m.
Stand-Alone Work Session
Wednesday, March 15, 2023
7:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Board Meeting
Monday, March 27, 2023
7:00 p.m.
Pre-Meeting Work Session
Monday, April 10, 2023
4:00 - 5:45 p.m.
Board Meeting
Monday, April 10, 2023
6:00 p.m.
Stand-Alone Work Session
Wednesday, April 19, 2023
7:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Board Meeting
Monday, April 24, 2023
6:00 p.m.
Pre-Meeting Work Session
Monday, May 8, 2023
4:00 - 5:45 p.m.
Board Meeting
Monday, May 8, 2023
6:00 p.m.
Stand-Alone Work Session
Wednesday, May 17, 2023
7:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Board Meeting
Monday, May 22, 2023
6:00 p.m.
Pre-Meeting Work Session
Monday, June 12, 2023
4:00 - 5:45 p.m.
Board Meeting
Monday, June 12, 2023
6:00 p.m.
Stand-Alone Work Session
Wednesday, June 21, 2023
7:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Board Meeting
Monday, June 26, 2023
6:00 p.m.
 

Meetings are typically held the second and fourth Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted or announced. Locations vary between the Thomas G. Scullen Leadership Center, 131 East Washington Street, Suite 1A, Appleton, and AASD school sites.

 

Other meetings of the Board (work sessions, public hearings, and Subcommittee meetings) are also scheduled throughout the year. Meetings are posted through the local media, City of Appleton, Appleton Public Library, and the AASD website at least 24 hours in advance.

 

All meetings are open to the public unless a Closed Executive Session is scheduled. (By law, Closed Executive Sessions can be held only to discuss matters which require confidentiality. Such issues include personnel action, student discipline, site acquisitions, litigation, or employee negotiations.)

 

Meeting MinutesMinutes of past meetings of the Appleton Area School District Board of Directors are available here:

https://go.boarddocs.com/wi/aasd/Board.nsf/Public%20.

 

All Things Appleton, a website, follows the school board meetings and regularly posts comments at https://allthingsappleton.com/.

School Choice OptionsSome parents in Appleton have the opportunity to send their children to private schools and have a portion of state tax revenues earmarked for their child apply toward the cost of tuition. The statewide program has been growing fast, as shown in the image below. Under current law, all parents will be eligible to participate in the program beginning in 2026.

 



 

 

On September 8, 2022, Wisconsin’s leading school choice advocacy groups agreed to work together to plan how school choice can become universal in Wisconsin. See this news release from the Badger Institute for details of that announcement.

 

The Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (WPCP) is a statewide private school voucher program enacted and launched in 2013. The program allows students whose families meet certain income qualifications and are not assigned to the Milwaukee Public Schools or Racine Unified school districts the ability to attend a participating private or religious school of their choice, tuition free. 314 schools and 17,079 students currently participate in the program. Learn more about the program here: https://schoolchoicewi.org/programs/wisconsin-parental-choice-program/

 

The Special Needs Scholarship Program (SNSP) allows a student with a disability, who meets certain eligibility requirements, to receive a state-funded scholarship to attend a private school that is located in Wisconsin and participating in the SNSP. The school receives a state aid payment for each eligible student. 162 schools and 2,217 students participate in the program. Learn more about the program here: https://schoolchoicewi.org/programs/special-needs-scholarship-program/

 

A list of schools that participate in the choice program is available here: https://schoolchoicewi.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/wpcp_2022-23_school_list_by_county.pdf.  Some or all of the cost of tuition at these schools is reimbursed to parents who participate in a choice program. The following schools in Outagamie County participate:

 

Celebration Lutheran School

3100 East Evergreen Drive

Appleton, WI 54913

Administrator: Renee Pickering

Phone: (920) 734-8218 Grades: K4–6,8

 

Fox Valley Lutheran High School

5300 North Meade Street

Appleton, WI 54913

Administrator: Alan Nolte

Phone: (920) 739-4441 Grades: 9–12

 

Holy Spirit Catholic School

W2796 Cty Rd. KK

Appleton, WI 54915

Administrator: Michael Zuleger

Phone: (920) 733-2651 Grades: K4–8

 

Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran School

W7265 School Road

Greenville, WI 54942

Other Location(s): N1222 Julius Drive

Administrator: Andrew Thiesfeldt

Phone: (920) 757-6606 Grades: K4–8

 

Mount Olive Evangelical Lutheran School

930 E. Florida Avenue

Appleton, WI 54911

Administrator: Landon Zacharyasz

Phone: (920) 739-9194 Grades: K4–8

 

Riverview Lutheran School

136 W Seymour Street

Appleton, WI 54915

Administrator: Seth Zimmermann

Phone: (920) 733-3728 Grades: K4–8

 

Saint Edward School

N2944 State Rd. 47

Appleton, WI 54913

Administrator: Renee Cowart

Phone: (920) 733-6276 Grades: K4–5

 

Saint Francis Xavier Catholic School System, Inc.

101 East Northland Avenue

Appleton, WI 54911

Other Location(s): 1810 North McDonald Street; 2626 North Oneida Street; 500 West Marquette Street;  600 West Prospect

Administrator: Philip Riley

Phone: (920) 735-9380 Grades: K4–12

 

Saint Ignatius of Loyola Catholic School

220 Doty Street

Kaukauna, WI 54130

Administrator: Nathan Vande Hey

Phone: (920) 766-0186 Grades: K4–12

 

Saint John Grade School

328 Grand Ave.

Little Chute, WI 54140

Administrator: Kevin Flottmeyer

Phone: (920) 788-9082 Grades: K4–8

 

Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception

N2387 Municipal Drive

Greenville, WI 54942

Administrator: Debra Fuller

Phone: (920) 202-3456 Grades: K4–8

 

Saint Nicholas Catholic School

W2035 County Road S

Freedom, WI 54130

Administrator: Scott Vanderloop

Phone: (920) 788-9371 Grades: K4–8

 

Saint Paul Lutheran School

225 East Harris Street

Appleton, WI 54911

Administrator: Phillip Rehberger

Phone: (920) 733-9061 Grades: K5–8

 

Saint Peter Lutheran School

N2740 French Road

Freedom, WI 54913

Administrator: Justin Danell

Phone: (920) 739-2009 Grades: K5–8

 

School Choice Wisconsin Action is a 501(c)(4) member organization that advocates for educational freedom in Wisconsin and provides information to members and others. “We strive to empower families by advocating for quality educational options regardless of zip code or income. We believe it is a parent’s right to choose the best educational environment for their child. Learn more by visiting https://schoolchoicewi.org/.

 


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