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Solon Springs joins national walk-in

Boston, Denver, Los Angeles ... Solon Springs? Residents of the small northern Wisconsin town -- population 600 -- are standing alongside some of the nation's largest cities this week to draw attention to challenges facing public schools. Communi...

Boston, Denver, Los Angeles … Solon Springs?

Residents of the small northern Wisconsin town - population 600 - are standing alongside some of the nation’s largest cities this week to draw attention to challenges facing public schools.

Community members and staff of the Solon Springs school district are planning to stage a walk-in Wednesday as part of a nationwide event. Several dozen cities are planning to participate in the event, organized by the group Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools.

Wednesday’s walk-in at Solon Springs is sponsored locally by the St. Croix Federation of Teachers, AFT-Wisconsin Local 3357.

"Though our size changes how we envision the walk-in, with larger districts hosting picket rallies and the like, we thought it was a great chance to show off what we do," said Russ Nelson, Local 3357 co-president. "As a union we thought this was a great chance for the teachers to become leaders in support for our school and our schools’ students. It’s our chance to show off that each day - even with the uncertainties surrounding public education statewide, nationwide and with the referendum locally - we will continue to come and walk in every day to give our students the excellent education that all children deserve."

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In Wisconsin, Solon Springs is joined by Green Bay, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Racine and Tomah.

In each city, the struggle is different.

Solon Springs is hoping to draw attention to a funding model that has stripped $600,000 from the small school district in the past five years.

Solon Springs had a balanced budgets prior to the cuts. Now, despite a more than $400,000 reduction in expenses, Solon Springs is seeking a $500,000 operational referendum just to stay afloat.

Nelson said the theme of Wednesday’s nationwide event - the schools all our children deserve - describes perfectly the feelings of Solon Springs teachers toward the referendum.

"To us, it is about keeping our school operating so that the children of Solon Springs can continue to be provided with the quality of education all children deserve," Nelson said.

Wednesday’s walk-in will be used as an opportunity to showcase the school in Solon Springs, which may be in danger of closing if it does not pass a referendum.

Those interested in participating should gather in front of the school at 7:45 a.m. The group will then walk in together at 8 a.m. in a show of support for the school. From 8-8:30 a.m. community members will have their referendum questions answered over coffee, and plans are also in the works for building tours.

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Nelson said Solon Springs’ administrators are "highly supportive" of the walk-in. Principal Geraldine Muller plans to be on hand to answer questions about the referendum.

Related Topics: SOLON SPRINGS
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