Support Sun Prairie Community Schools!

The following letter has been sent to our mayor and City Council members as well as local media. The school district and the City have both been asked to contribute $60,000 to cover the staffing costs to make Community Schools of Sun Prairie viable and sustainable, with the goal of expanding to all schools in the district. While the school district has agreed to fund the program, several alders have reservations.  We have just two weeks to share our reasons for strongly supporting this excellent, nationally proven community program.

The City Council will vote on Nov. 24 on their budget, and alders Frank, Hutkowski and Fassbender have said that they will not vote yes on a budget that includes Community Schools. There seems to be a misunderstanding about the value of investing in the program, which these alders see as the responsibility of the school district or county. But Community Schools don’t just serve students — they serve the whole neighborhood and the larger community in the way most cities of our size would do through Community Centers funded by the City.

Please see below for the reasons we at SPARC support Community Schools, and help in 3 ways:
1. SHARE this post and include your reasons for supporting Community Schools!
2. CONTACT alders at and urge them to support Sun Prairie Community Schools.
3. JOIN US on Nov. 24 at 5:30 at City Hall (2nd floor) to show your support!

We urge all citizens of Sun Prairie and area residents to take action on this important issue and send a strong message of community support for Community Schools of Sun Prairie!

I support SP Community Schools

Do you support Community Schools of Sun Prairie? If so, make this image your profile picture on social media and spread the word!


We support Sun Prairie Community Schools.  As one of their many community partners, SPARC has been absolutely amazed at the results of this nationally proven program in Sun Prairie.

Even on a bare-bones budget, the impacts of Community Schools at the Buena Vista (Westside Elementary) Site have been remarkable: test scores, attendance and neighborhood participation are way up.  Achievement gaps between “haves” and “have nots” are shrinking.

Parents, education leaders, and businesses all over the state are looking at Sun Prairie to see what we’re doing that they aren’t.

The answer is Community Schools.

Community Schools provide more than just educational opportunities (though they have many educational impacts). They create a hub of neighborhood activities, programs, services, and recreational opportunities that serve everyone.  Not just students, not just struggling families, not just a few.  Everyone.

Community Schools don’t just serve students — they serve the whole neighborhood and the larger community in the way most cities of our size would do through Community Centers funded by the City.

Community Schools allow Sun Prairie to plan forward in a way that attracts people and businesses, keeps our community safer, and offsets the impacts of poverty. Above all, they provide an opportunity to truly engage our growing community and bring people together in lasting and positive ways.

But this can’t happen without the support of the City.  To be sustainable and inclusive, Community Schools need the institutional support of the City to fundraise and build the partnerships required to continue to grow and serve.

The City Council will finalize the budget on Nov. 24 and some alders have expressed concerns that it’s “not the City’s job” to support Community Schools.

We disagree.  It’s the City’s job to be proactive and grow smart. The city’s responsibility is to put the “community” in Community Schools.

We can’t afford more kids out of school and in trouble, or families lacking the resources they need to survive and contribute productively to community life. We can’t afford not to invest in Community Schools.

We call on all alders to include the $60,000 request for a Community Schools staffer in the 2016 budget, and we call on Sun Prairie citizens to contact our representatives at and urge them to support Sun Prairie Community Schools.

Signed, as members of the Sun Prairie Action Resource Coalition (SPARC):

Mary Bell
Heather DuBois Bourenane
Analiese Eicher
Linda Frautschy
Pat Guyant
Mary Ellen Havel-Lang
Mike Hietpas
Boris Matthews
Jerry McDonough, IT Professional
Christine McDonough, Programmer
Barb Muse
Kay-Tee Olds
Cathy Pagel
Gina Pagel
Glenn Schmidt
Nancy J. Schultz
Julie Schwellenbach
Nick Zweifel, Dane County Board Supervisor, District 3, Sun Prairie

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SPARC Local Action Fund board to meet July 30

The SPARC Local Action Fund board will meet on Thursday, July 30 at 1pm at Salvatore’s Tomato Pies, 503 W. Main St, Sun Prairie, WI.


  1. Review minutes of last meeting
  2. Old Business
    Program updates and 2014-2015 summary
    Plans for 2015-2015
    Fundraising and grant writing
  3. New Business/Other
    Approve 2014 tax return

This meeting is open to the public.

The SPARC Local Action Fund 501c3 is the charitable arm of SPARC.

Regular SPARC meetings are held monthly throughout the year.  To join our mailing list, email “SUBSCRIBE” to

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SPARC needs your help with Annual Garage Sale Fundraiser

Support a great cause & connect with local friends at our
4th annual SPARC Garage Sale

April 30-May 2, 2015,
751 Eddington Drive


  • Thursday April 30: 7:30am – 5:30pm
  • Friday May 1: 7:30am – 5:30pm
  • Saturday May 2: 8 am – noon

We need your help to make the garage sale a success, and there are 4 ways to help:

  1. Donate! Garage sale items can be dropped off after April 18 at the Mugan’s home, 751 Eddington Drive. Please call ahead to make sure that someone will be there. Karen can be reached at: 577-9141. Also, spread the word that Al Guyant is willing to pick-up items that people are able to deliver before the sale. You can arrange for pick-up by calling 825-8844.  Note: as in previous years, unsold items will be donated locally to support local families.
  2. Volunteer!  We need volunteers to help set-up, sort, and price on the Tuesday and Wednesday before the sale, volunteers to work on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and also a take down crew to transport any unsold items to donation sites.  Sign up online to volunteer!
  3. Shop!  Stop by during the sale and support SPARC with your purchases.
  4. Spread the Word!  Please share this announcement and let your friends and neighbors know that proceeds will benefit the SPARC Local Action Fund 501(c)3, which goes to programs like SnackSmart to provide snacks to hungry kids in Sun Prairie Schools and help SPARC continue to hold community events like candidate forums and community conversations.

Thank you, Sun Prairie, for your continued and generous support of our efforts to connect our neighbors around local actions that move our community forward!

Sun Prairie Action Resource Coalition (SPARC)
Heather DuBois Bourenane (608)

Join our community on facebook and follow us on Twitter @PrairieAction.

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SPARC’s Sun Prairie Spring Election Guide 2015

Wondering who to vote for?  Make an informed decision April 7!

Sun Prairie has some big choices this spring, and SPARC hopes our candidate forums will help you make your decision by finding out where the candidates stand on issues that matter to our community.

The election will held on April 7, 2015.  Polls are open 7am to 8pm.  You can also vote in person (absentee) at City Hall from March 23 – April 3.  Click here to find your polling place. Voter ID will NOT be required for this election.

SPARC held two forums – for school board and city council/mayoral candidates – and both are now available online for viewing!

Mayoral and City Council Candidate Forum (March 22, 2015):
Click here to follow along with the City Council/Mayoral Candidate questions.

School Board Candidate Forum (March 5, 2015):
Click here to follow along with the School Board Candidate questions.

Here are some additional resources to help you make an informed decision at the ballot box:

Wisconsin State Journal questionnaires:

Dane County League of Women Voters candidate questionnaires:

Sun Prairie Talk of the Town Debates:

  • Available online at (search “Talk of the Town” for listings)

Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce summaries


On the Referendum to change the state Constitution to change the process for electing Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (currently determined by seniority) – Question 1: “Election of chief justice. Shall section 4 (2) of article VII of the constitution be amended to direct that a chief justice of the supreme court shall be elected for a two-year term by a majority of the justices then serving on the court?”

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SPARC School Board Candidate Forum to be held Thursday March 5

All four candidates for the three open seats on the Sun Prairie Area School District2015 school board pic Board are confirmed to attend the SPARC School Board Candidate Forum on Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 6:00pm at the Sun Prairie Public Library, 1350 Linnerud.

SPARC collected questions from the wider community, which were used to identify the themes and issues that seemed of most concern to Sun Prairie voters.  For a sneak peek at the questions, and to see the event agenda, click here.

After hearing the candidates respond to the questions collected from community members, the audience will have opportunity to ask additional questions.

The candidates are Marta Hansen, Dave Hoekstra, Mike Krachey and Marilyn Ruffin.   The event will be moderated by Mike Hietpas.

This forum is free and open to the public.  All are welcome!

For more information, please contact

Mark your calendars:
SPARC will hold a public forum with the candidates for City Council and Mayor on Sunday, March 23 at the Westside Community Building.  Suggestions for questions for the candidates may be sent to by March 8.

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SPARC Spring Candidate Forums Set, Questions for Candidates Invited

It’s that time of year already and SPARC invites you to mark your calendars for our spring candidate forums!
sparc logo
  • School Board Candidate Forum:  Thurs. March 5, 6:00pm at the Sun Prairie Public Library
  • City Council/Mayoral Forum: Sun. March 22, 2:30pm at the Westside Community Building
As in previous years, we invite members of SPARC and the wider Sun Prairie community to send ideas for questions for the candidates to  Our forum committee will then meet to look for patterns and common themes in the issues that matter most to local voters, and use these to compile the final list of questions that will be used at the forum.  This is the best, most democratic way we know to make sure these candidate forums truly represent the concerns and values of our community! 

There will also be time reserved at both forums for general Q&A from the audience.

The events will be filmed to air on KSUN.

We hope you can join us and invite you to send your questions asap to  Deadlines:  Feb. 22 for School Board questions, March 8 for the Council/Mayoral questions.
We also remind you that the Mayoral Primary Election is Tues. Feb. 17 – don’t forget to vote!!!  Only the top two candidates will be at our forum, so make sure to vote!  Click here for links to more info about the candidates.  SPARC will put together our usual voter guide soon.

The Spring Election will be held on April 7, 2015.
Spring Elections matter most to local control of local communities.  Let’s set the bar high for our candidates and ourselves!

We look forward to seeing your questions and seeing YOU at the forums!

– Your friends at SPARC
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Great Decisions program returns to Sun Prairie

Great Decisions program returns to Sun Prairie

Are you interested in what’s going on in the world? Would you like to discuss global ideas in a friendly, non-partisan group? Then Great Decisions is for you.

Great Decisions was created by the Foreign Policy Association, a not-for-profit education organization that’s been around since 1918. The program is sponsored locally by the Sun Prairie Action Resource Coalition. The program is free, although there is a materials cost of $25.

Participants in this national civic education program learn about US foreign policy and global issues, discuss multiple viewpoints in a group setting, and take part in a national opinion ballot survey on policy issues.

The Sun Prairie Great Decisions group will meet at the Sun Prairie Public Library each Wednesday from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. The group will start on January 14, meeting for eight weeks (except for January 21). The Discussion Leader is Glenn Schmidt from SPARC.

More information is available on the Foreign Policy Association Website, You can find the eight 2015 topics to be discussed, from Russia and the Near Abroad to Brazil’s Metamorphosis on the website. You can also connect with the Great Decisions program on Facebook at

To sign up for the local discussion group that starts January 14, contact Glenn Schmidt at or call him at 608 658-4602. Participation is limited, so sign up early to reserve your spot.

2015 Great Decisions Discussion Topics

Russia and the Near Abroad

Privacy in the Digital Age

Sectarianism in the Middle East

India Changes Course

U.S. Policy Toward Africa

Syria’s Refugee Crisis

Human Trafficking in the 21st Century

Brazil’s Metamorphosis

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SPARC Local Action Fund 501c3 Quarterly Meeting Nov. 24

The SPARC Local Action Fund 501c3 will hold its quarterly business meeting on Mon. 11/24 at 1:00 pm in the Community Room of the Sun Prairie Public Library.

This meeting is open to the public.little bits of good

We especially invite attendance by those who wish to get involved with the fundraising and grant writing efforts of this charitable arm of the Sun Prairie Action Resource Coalition.  Funds raised through the SPARC Local Action Fund support our SnackSmart program to provide healthy snacks to hungry students in Sun Prairie public schools and other community projects.

If you would like to help with these efforts or get more involved, please contact us at

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Democracy Wins in Sun Prairie!

The Nov. 4 Election Day was a beautiful day for democracy in Sun Prairie!

Thought Sun Prairie might like a picture of the LOCAL election results. Voter turnout in Dane county was nearly 73% and  here in Sun Prairie, 12,915 votes were cast in the governor’s race! We had thousands of voter registrations almost ran out of ballots. The clerk literally printed extra ballots herself and we were prepared to handcount votes and only just missed having to do so!sport

In the city of Sun Prairie:
Burke 60.05% (7755 votes)
Walker 38.97% (5033 votes)

Breakdown by district:
District 1 (Colonial Club) Wds 1-5 – Burke 62.63%, Walker 36.39%
District 2 (Patrick Marsh) Wds 6-9 – Burke 60.18%, Walker 38.69%
District 3 (Library) Wds 10-14 – Burke 64.45%, Walker 34.58%
District 4 (Westside Community Bldg) Wds 15-19 – Burke 53.54%, Walker 45.59%

On the minimum wage question, 65% of Sun Prairie voted YES to raising the minimum wage to $10.10 and 34% voted NO.  On both the question of accepting federal Badger Care fund and the transportation fund question, 75% of Sun Prairie voted YES.

It was wonderful to see long lines at every polling place and to see so many people so eager to cast their votes! So nice to live in a community where so many people are so engaged, informed & involved! Once again, Sun Prairie sets a high bar for the rest of the state!

The spring elections will be just around the corner, when we’ll have opportunity to vote for the offices that matter most to our community.  Seats will be open on the school board and city council – SPARC would love to see members of our network continue to step up and run for these seats!

Local action works!



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SPASD – and SPARC – take huge step forward in fighting student hunger!

Dear friends,

SPARC is thrilled to report a major step forward in our efforts to advocate on the issue of student hunger and the problem of teachers & staff trying to help by paying out-of-pocket to feed kids at school.

While the board rejected the tax levy increase approved by voters at the annual meeting, the revised budget that the school board passed last night includes $19,000 that will be used as a starting point for an elementary Fruit Bowl pilot, making whole fruit snacks available to any kid who needs one during the school day.  Our tax levy remains the same as last year.

This action is just a beginning, but it’s also the result of many presentations, conversations, emails, discussions, and appearances at school board meetings that helped launch this effort and open eyes to the impacts of student hunger in our schools.  We so appreciate the board members, administrators, teachers and staff who have been listened seriously to our concerns and started the process of working toward sustainable solutions to addressing the needs of hungry students.  As Dr. Culver said recently, we truly are fortunate to live in a community where our schools and our students are so valued.

SPARC has been asked to continue helping address hunger needs at the middle and high school levels while the district’s administrative team looks deeper into the ways student hunger affects teaching and learning in our schools.  Our next step is to talk to the staff at these schools and see how we can be of the most help.  We know from the survey we conducted last year that the needs are even greater in the upper levels than at the elementary schools, so we appreciate your continued support of our program as we continue to advocate for systemic solutions to this problem.  For more information on how you can help, please visit:

As always, we thank you for your support and welcome your ideas and suggestions for how we can continue to help in our small way to move Sun Prairie forward!  As we’ve learned through the SnackSmart program, change is slow but our efforts ARE making an impact, and moving one step closer to making sure every kid in our community has an equal shot at success.

We also want to remind everyone how absolutely critical it is to VOTE in the Nov. 4 election.  Polls are open from 7am-8pm, or you can still vote in-person absentee until 10/31 at City Hall from 8am-5pm.



28 October 2014


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