Be a HUNGER HERO! Help hungry students in Sun Prairie today!

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UPDATE! Hunger Heroes in the news! Click here for the NBC-15 story on our efforts to make a difference for students and families in Sun Prairie!

One of the things we love most about living in Sun Prairie is how our community comes together to help those in need.

And right now there are hungry students in our public schools who need your help.

In recent years, we’ve worked hard to advocate for policies that ensure that every student in our schools has equal opportunity to succeed, and we are proud to live in a community where the school board and district administration put students first when making policy decisions.

After learning more about how many students are hungry in our district and how many teachers and staff members were paying out of pocket to meet their most basic needs, we started a 501(c)(3) non-profit – the SPARC Local Action Fund – to do our part in making sure kids were ready to learn and thrive in our amazing public schools. And community partners have stepped up to help in a powerful way – from businesses and churches to individuals and civic groups. We are so thankful for this support!

Research shows a clear correlation between nutrition and brain development, and hunger and the ability to concentrate and learn. We know that all of our students have great potential – but some are struggling to achieve because they are hungry during the school day.

Thanks in part to your help shining a spotlight on student hunger through out Snack Smart program, we were able to advocate for changing district policy so that no student is “shamed” in the lunchroom by receiving a cold lunch because of an inability to pay. The district now prides itself on being a leader in this area, and is committed to providing a fair and equitable lunch for all students, regardless of their ability to pay.  

Our efforts helped make sure that more students are eating full, hot, healthy lunches and breakfasts every day, but it also exposed some other areas where past practices haven’t always been equitable. We learned that some schools had “care accounts” or “angel accounts” to help cover such costs, while others did not. This didn’t seem fair. So the district pushed pause on such accounts to try to see how much money was really going into covering the costs of student lunches, and started better tracking how many families are struggling to keep up with lunch accounts.

What we’re learning is that many families in our community are struggling. The district has a negative lunch balance of $57,000, with about $400 accumulating every day. This has helped the district better assess where they can focus on helping families who may be eligible apply for Free and Reduced Lunch, and it’s also helped us see how much cost they’d been absorbing through Care Accounts and other ways schools and teachers were quietly meeting these needs “under the radar.”

We can do better…if we all chip in what we can today.

As the district continues to review its practices and works to help families connect to the resources they need, we ask you to consider supporting our efforts to make sure we can continue to ensure that no student goes hungry in our schools. Every dollar we collect will be used to pay down the “lunch debt” that has accumulated during this review period.

If you or your organization  would like to be a HUNGER HERO for Sun Prairie students, make a tax-deductible donation today to the SPARC Local Action Fund, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.  CLICK HERE TO DONATE:  Be sure to write HUNGER HERO Fund in the “instructions to seller” space on PayPal – or in the memo line of your check. Donate Button with Credit CardsDonations can be mailed to SPARC Local Action Fund, 6325 Devonshire Lane, Sun Prairie, WI 53590.  Donations received by mail are not subject to fees, so if you intend to make a larger donation, this ensures every dollar goes directly to making sure no child goes hungry in Sun Prairie schools!  Please email with any questions.

Thank you for your support of our students and for your commitment to being a HUNGER HERO for Sun Prairie kids!

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SPARC to host “Assault on Democracy” event April 16

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Sun Prairie Action Resource Coalition (SPARC) will host a meeting of regional movers & shakers on April 16 from 12-3 pm at the Westside Community Service Building in Sun Prairie, and all are welcome to attend.  The Progressive Partners of the 2nd Congressional District is a coalition of regional grassroots groups that meets quarterly to share ideas, discuss strategies for working together to promote democracy and strong communities, and to hear special guest speakers on a variety of topics. The event is FREE and open to all.  RSVP today!

Matt Rothschild: “Democracy should not be a game that only the wealthiest people and corporations can play.”


The April 16 event will feature a special presentation from Matthew Rothschild, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.  Matt will speak on “The Assault on Democracy in Wisconsin,” sharing his research and investigations into how money corrupts and influences politics, and what we can do about it at the local level.

WHAT: Quarterly meeting of the Progressive Partners coalition. Potluck, Meeting, and Featured Presentation:  “The Assault on Democracy in Wisconsin”  Matthew Rothschild, Executive Director, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

WHEN: Sat. April 16, 2016

TIME : 12-3pm
12-1    Potluck and social hour
1-2      Progressive Partners meeting
2-3     Special guest presentation: Matt Rothschild

WHERE: Westside Community Service Building, 2598 W Main St, Sun Prairie, WI 53590  MAP

WHO: Members of all groups connected through the Progressive Partners of the 2nd Congressional District and those who would like to learn more or get involved. ALL ARE WELCOME!

WHAT TO BRING (optional): Feel free (but not obligated) to bring a dish, beverage, or dessert to share.  SPARC will provide the main dish (meat and vegetarian chili) and tableware (plates, bowls, cups, napkins, cutlery).  Note: Alcoholic beverages are not permitted at the Westside Community Service Building. Tax-deductible donations to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, will also be accepted at the event.

This meeting is coordinated by a committee of Progressive Partners representatives and hosted by the Sun Prairie Action Resource Coalition (SPARC). For more information, please contact or call Heather DuBois Bourenane at (608) 572-1696.

To share the RSVP link directly:


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Sun Prairie Spring 2016 LOCAL ELECTION GUIDE

The presidential primaries will bring many voters to the ballot on April 5, and the Sun Prairie City Clerk expects high local turnout. But are you ready to vote the whole ballot? It’s probably longer than you think! And while the ballots are long with uncontested races, every district in Sun Prairie faces an important decision for its City Council seat.

This guide is intended to help Sun Prairie area voters make informed decisions at the ballot box. Nothing matters more to local control of local decision-making than local elections!  Vote the WHOLE BALLOT wisely on April 5!

The election will be held on April 5, 2015.  Polls are open 7am to 8pm.  You can also vote in person (absentee) at City Hall (300 E. Main Street, Sun Prairie) from March 21 – April 1 (hours: 8am to 7pm March 21-31; closed March 25; 8am to 5pm April 1).  Click here to find your polling place.   Please scroll to the bottom of this post for important information on the voter ID law and voter registration.

Sample Ballots for City of Sun Prairie residents are available here! Click here for info on voting in the Town of Burke, or here for info on voting in the Town of Sun Prairie.

Here’s what’s on the ballot:

CITY COUNCIL: There are competitive races for alder in every district in Sun Prairie!

Resources for all districts:

  • League of Women Voters questionnaires (all districts)
  • Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce summaries and bio statements.
  • Endorsements:
    • UPDATED 4/4/16 to include the following new endorsements:
    • Rep. Gary Hebl: Steve Stocker (District 1)
    • The Sun Prairie Star: Sun Prairie City Council– Hariah Hutkowski (District 1), Jon Freund (District 2), George Frank (District 3) and Mary Polenske (District 4); Rebecca Bradley (Supreme Court) [Note: link is to the Spring primary endorsements from February; cannot find link to full list of endorsements which were published in print on March 22, 2016.]
    • Republican Women of Dane County: Sun Prairie City Council – Hariah Hutkowski (District 1), Jon Freund (District 2), George Frank (District 3) and Deanna Nelson (District 4); Rebecca Bradley (Supreme Court)
    • South Central Federation of Labor endorsements: City Council: Steve Stocker (District 1), Maureen Crombie (District 3); Supreme Court: JoAnne Kloppenburg; School Board: Caren Diedrich; County Board: Nick Zweifel, Andrew Schauer; YES on Monona Grove School referendum.
    • Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC): JoAnne Kloppenburg (Supreme Court)
    • Sun Prairie Education Association: no endorsements this election (all incumbent candidates unopposed)
    • AFL-CIO endorsements: City Council: Steve Stocker (District 1), Maureen Crombie (District 3); Supreme Court: JoAnne Kloppenburg; County Board: Nick Zweifel, Andrew Schauer; School Board: Caren Dierich, David Hoekstra, Steve Schroeder
    • Wisconsin Progress endorsements: Steve Stocker (District 1).
    • Dane County Democrats endorsements: City Council: Steve Stocker (District 1), Maureen Crombie (District 3); County Board: Nick Zweifel, Andrew Schauer.
    • Republican Party of Dane County endorsements do not seem to be listed yet on their website

District 1 (Votes at Colonial Club):

Hariah Hutkowski (campaign page) Incumbent
Steve Stocker (campaign page)

Wisconsin State Journal Q&A – District 1
Talk of the Town (video) – District 1

District 2  (Votes at Patrick Marsh Middle School) – open seat; Diane McGinnis is not running for re-election

Stephanie Coy (campaign page)
Jonathan Freund
(campaign page)

Wisconsin State Journal Q&A – District 2
Talk of the Town (video) – District 2

District 3 (Votes at Sun Prairie Public Library):

Maureen Crombie (campaign page)
George Frank

Wisconsin State Journal Q&A – District 3
Talk of the Town (video) – District 3

District 4 (Votes at Westside Community Service Building)

Deanna Nelson Weber (campaign page)
Mary Polenske (campaign page)

Wisconsin State Journal Q&A – District 4
Talk of the Town (video) – District 4

SCHOOL BOARD:  (All three incumbents unopposed for three-year terms)
David Hoekstra
Caren Diedrich
Steven Schroeder
League of Women Voters questionnaires

STATE and COUNTY races:


      Vote for ONLY ONE CANDIDATE in your party of preference.
      The ballot will list all candidates (even those who have already dropped out of the race). Wisconsin does not issue separate ballots to Republican or Democratic voters, but voters may only vote for one party for presidential preference. Voters do not need to demonstrate party affiliation to poll workers.  As with all offices, voters may elect to write-in the name of a candidate not listed on the ballot, but write-in votes are only tallied for those candidates who have registered as write-in candidates prior to election day.

Other Voter Resources:


Important things to remember when you vote:

  • Bring it to the ballot! Voter ID is now the law and you must present a valid form of photo identification to vote at the polls or at City Hall.
    These are acceptable for voting purposes, and can be unexpired or expired after the date of the most recent general election (currently, the November 4, 2014 election):
    • A Wisconsin DOT-issued driver license, even if driving privileges are revoked or suspended
    • A Wisconsin DOT-issued identification cardHome
    • A Wisconsin DOT-issued identification card or driver license without a photo issued under the religious exemption
    • Military ID card issued by a U.S. uniformed service
    • A U.S. passport
    • An identification card issued by a federally recognized Indian tribe in Wisconsin (May be used even if expired before the most recent general election.)

    For more information on other valid forms of ID or how to get a free photo ID card, visit

  • GET REGISTERED! Not registered to vote? Moved since the last election? You can register online or at City Hall before election day, or you can register at the polls! You must bring proof of residence with you to register.   From the GAB:
    All Proof of Residence documents must include the voter’s name and current residential
    o A current and valid State of Wisconsin Driver License or State ID card.
    o Any other official identification card or license issued by a Wisconsin governmental body or unit.
    o Any identification card issued by an employer in the normal course of business and
    bearing a photo of the card holder, but not including a business card.
    o A real estate tax bill or receipt for the current year or the year preceding the date of the election.
    o A university, college, or technical college identification card (must include photo) ONLY if the voter provides a fee receipt dated within the last 9 months or the institution provides a certified housing list, that indicates citizenship, to the municipal clerk.
    o A gas, electric, or telephone service statement (utility bill) for the period commencing no earlier than 90 days before registration.
    o Bank statement.
    o Paycheck or paystub.
    o A check or other document issued by a unit of government.
    o A letter on public or private social service agency letterhead identifying a homeless voter and describing the individual’s residence for voting purposes.
    o Residential lease that is effective on date of registration. (Not valid if registering by mail.)
    This is not a comprehensive list, but categories of the most common types
    used by voters.

Final note from SPARC:
While SPARC does not endorse candidates as a group, we do want local voters to know that two of the City Council candidates (Steve Stocker in District 1 and Maureen Crombie in District 3) and Dane County Supervisor Nick Zweifel are members of the Sun Prairie Action Resource Coalition who have been endorsed by many of our friends and fellow SPARC members. These endorsements can be seen in the Sun Prairie Star or on the candidates’ campaign pages. We applaud these SPARC members and all the other candidates for stepping up to serve our community, and encourage all local voters to make a commitment to vote on April 5!

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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!
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  • 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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