Apply today! SPARC Student Action Grant deadline Feb. 28, 2017


ATTENTION STUDENTS in Sun Prairie Schools grades 8-12!

The deadline for the next round SPARC STUDENT ACTION GRANT applications is Feb. 28, 2018!

Talk to your team about how YOU can make a difference in our community and apply today. Winning applicants will receive grants of up to $500 to fund student-led projects that find creative solutions to community challenges.

Learn more and see the application here:
Questions? Email or call Heather at 608 572-1696.

Want to support student leadership and creative problem-solving in our community? Make a tax-deductible donation to the SPARC Local Action Fund so we can support more great student projects!

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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 Spring Candidate Forum March 16



Learn More about Local Candidates at Community Forum on March 16!

Members of the Sun Prairie community are invited to attend a conversation with candidates for Sun Prairie City Council and Sun Prairie School Board on Friday, March 16, 2018, hosted by the Sun Prairie Action Resource Coalition (SPARC). The forum, which begins at 6:30 pm at the Westside Community Service Building, 2598 West Main Street in Sun Prairie, is free and open to all.

All nine candidates for Sun Prairie offices are confirmed to attend: City Council candidates Chris Astrella and Steve Stocker (District 1); Jon Freund and Theresa Stevens (District 2); Maureen Crombie (District 3) and Mary Polenkse (District 4); and the three candidates for Sun Prairie School Board, two of whom will join the board in April: Bryn Horton, Paul Kudrle, and Marilyn Ruffin.

The forum, which will be moderated by Mike Hietpas, features questions for the candidates collected from members of the community on issues that matter to them and reflect their values, as well as time for candidates to make opening and closing remarks. Refreshments will be provided during the short break between the City Council and School Board portions of the forum.

“SPARC Candidate Forums provide a fun, friendly and respectful space to find out where the candidates stand on issues important to members of our community,” said Heather DuBois Bourenane, a member of the SPARC team organizing the event. “We polled the community to find out what questions they want answered, and invite anyone who wants to learn more about these candidates to join us. Democracy isn’t just about making informed decisions at the ballot box – it’s about  getting involved and being a part of creating the community we all want to live in. Let local leaders and candidates for public office know what matters most to you.”

In addition to the local races for council and school board, Sun Prairie voters will see other measures on their Spring ballot, including: a referendum on limiting the use of money as political speech; a referendum to eliminate the office of the Wisconsin State Treasurer; and races for Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, Dane County Board of Supervisors, Dane County Circuit Court Judge, and Court of Appeals Judge.

The Spring Election will be held on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 with polls open from 7am to 8pm statewide. In-person absentee voting takes place now through Friday, March 30 at City Hall. Voters can find their polling place, register to vote, preview their ballot, or request an absentee ballot to vote by mail at

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SPARC Student Action Grants Reward Student Innovation & Leadership


The Sun Prairie Action Resource Coalition (SPARC) is offering grants up to $500 to student groups that want to start or continue projects that find solutions for challenges impacting our community and/or schools.

Priority will be given to projects that address poverty and hunger, racial and social justice, the environment, public education advocacy, civic engagement, voter registration, and other service projects that benefit and build the Sun Prairie community.

Application forms are at The deadline is Feb. 28. Grants will be awarded by April 1.

All students in Sun Prairie Area School District grades 8-12 are eligible. Funds, for example, could be used to:
• Start a club or student organization that fills a need in your school,
• Bring in a speaker or hold a workshop on a topic that benefits students,
• Start a project that meets a need in the community,
• Hold a training that would help empower others,
• Find a solution to an existing problem (like starting a food pantry in the school).

Students need to get approval from a faculty advisor and submit the application to (or mail to Heather DuBois Bourenane at 681 Broadway Drive, Sun Prairie, WI 53590).

Grants cannot be used for partisan political projects or projects intended for personal financial gain. If the proposal is to start a new club or group, the group must have a designated faculty advisor and follow all Sun Prairie Area School District regulations for clubs. The advisor must sign the application. If the application is not associated with a new or existing club or student organization, the proposal should be signed by a faculty member willing to supervise the project.

Questions can be asked of Heather DuBois Bourenane at (608) 572-1696 or SPARC Local Action Fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supporting the Sun Prairie community. All projects must be in accordance with 501(c)(3) law and must support the community good.

Last year, Sun Prairie students were awarded $1,500 in SPARC Student Action Grants to find student solutions to community problems

The grants demonstrate the leadership potential of students and a remarkable ability to find micro-level solutions to community problems.

Three grants totaling $1,000 were awarded to Sun Prairie High School’s Black Student Union. Groups of students showed real initiative and creativity in their proposals, and SPARC decided to spread the awards across several projects to support their forward-thinking work.

The BSU Accountability Team, led by Mauriana Barksdale, was awarded $250 as seed money for fund a campaign to spread awareness of data revealing a “gap” between African American and white students within the high school. Students wrote that their “goal is to make students aware of this data, and hold mini conferences which are student led.

A grant of $250 was granted to Jada Kyles, who spearheaded a holiday giving project. Her idea to engage students in creating culturally-relevant gift baskets of food for families of need for the holidays impressed us in its double-impact as both a teaching tool and a way to give back.

Jada Kyles’ forward-thinking was also behind our third grant. SPARC awarded the maximum prize amount, $500, to fund a project that was immediately put into action by the Black Student Union team under her leadership: creating Care Packages for Teens, to help students who are homeless or simply in need of sanitary products.

The other grant, in the amount of $500, was awarded to Ariana Milner, Ryan Carter, Diamond Alexander, Elizabeth Sauk, and Steven Dohm, a group of students at Prairie Phoenix Academy/Main Street Community School to help get a “Food Flexibility” program off the ground. Students want to play a role in planning and coordinating afterschool classes to teach people how to prepare and cook healthy, high quality meals on a budget

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#GiveLocal: A Guide to Giving in Sun Prairie

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Are you looking for ways to #GiveLocal this season?

There are many ways you can give of your time, your money, and your talents year-round, but here are 5 easy ways you can make the holidays happier in Sun Prairie!

1) Help fight hunger in Sun Prairie Schools and support local students!
Support the SPARC Local Action Fund and help us make sure no child learns hungry in Sun Prairie Schools! You can make your tax-deductible donation online at or send a check to SPARC Local Action Fund, 6325 Devonshire Lane, Sun Prairie, WI 53590. Your contributions support the SnackSmart and Hunger Heroes program, and help fund SPARC Student Action Grants to support student leadership and community problem solving!
And don’t forget to shop at the SPUMC Annual Cookie Walk on December 2 – all proceeds benefit Hunger Heroes! If you want to donated cookies for the walk, just drop them off at the church before 7pm on Dec. 1.

2) Keep families warm this winter.
Do you have gently used winter wear that’s ready to be passed on? See some socks or underwear on sale that could help a family in need this winter? Donate your coats, snow pants, mittens, boots, and new undergarments/socks to Card’s Closet! LetsGo C.A.R.D.S. Community Awareness, Resource Development, and Service provides clothing for area families through the school social workers and other agencies AND is an organization started and run by students (and some amazing adult volunteers)! Please make sure your items are tear free and all zippers are in good working condition.
More info on how to donate here:

3) Support Sunshine Place! Cash donations go furthest and help provide food to struggling families. The Spirit of Giving program provides holiday baskets to over 400 families and gifts to over 1200 children. Visit to learn more about how you can help. Or click here if you’re ready to sponsor a family/child:

4) Brighten a child’s birthday with a donation to Box of Balloons, Inc.- Sun Prairie, WI. This organization makes birthday parties a reality for kiddos whose families couldn’t otherwise afford one.

5) Give the gift of giving back! Have someone on your list this year who would truly rather have you give back than give them something they don’t need? Consider a gift donation in their name to one of the great non-profits in our community doing amazing and necessary work where we live! Some of our favorites:
Sun Prairie Community Schools
Sun Prairie Public Library
The Penguin Project of SPCT
Sun Prairie Performing Arts Center

As always, we appreciate your support of the work we are doing at Sun Prairie Action Resource Coalition * SPARC * to build and support a community where everyone thrives here in Sun Prairie!

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SPARC Student Action Grants to Support Student Problem-Solving

October 2, 2017
SPARC STUDENT ACTION GRANTS to support student problem-solving

Students in Sun Prairie public schools are being challenged to tackle big problems with creative solutions.

Starting this fall, students in Sun Prairie public schools grades 8-12 can apply for SPARC Student Action Grants of up to $500 to fund projects that identify solutions, fill school or community needs, or find creative ways to address issues important to students. Students might use the funds to start new projects or clubs, bring in speakers, hold workshops or trainings, or solve an existing problem or need.

“There’s definitely a need for this kind of program,” says Cathy Pagel, co-director of the SPARC Local Action Fund. “We’ve got kids at Prairie Phoenix Academy who have been talking about starting a food pantry, students at the high school who want to make college visits possible for those who can’t afford them. When we sat down with principals and social workers to discuss the idea, we knew right away that this could lead to some great student-run projects. We can’t wait to see what they come up with. Selecting the recipients is going to be a challenge.”

Reginald McGee, principal of Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School, expressed optimism about the possibilities of student-led projects: “I continue to have frequent conversations with students and groups who are looking for ways to help others.  Just [last week] one of our social workers approached me about starting a new group to address some particular needs and asked about possibilities for fundraising. SPARC Student Action Grants could be an ideal fit in this situation.  I encourage all students and student groups to consider applying for a grant.”

“Our students are brilliant at identifying problems. And they often have ideas for solutions but don’t know where to start putting their ideas into action,” says Heather DuBois Bourenane, co-director of SPARC Local Action Fund. “SPARC Student Action Grants are one small way we can help create safe, supervised, supported opportunities for them to experiment and explore – and develop solutions and leadership skills that will benefit all of us.”

“We always say that ‘today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders.’ Why make them wait? We want to invest in that leadership and let young people know that we don’t just need them in the future – their ideas are valuable now.”

The grants are provided by the SPARC Local Action Fund, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that has supported civic engagement and healthy community in Sun Prairie since 2013.  Major projects of the SPARC Local Action Fund include the SnackSmart and Hunger Heroes programs, both of which address student hunger in our public schools. Those who wish to support this work, and the SPARC Student Action Grants, can mail a tax-deductible donation to SPARC Local Action Fund, 6325 Devonshire Lane, Sun Prairie, WI 53590, or donate online at

Students can learn more and apply for SPARC Student Action Grants at  The 2017-2018 deadline for fall proposals is October 31 . Grants will be awarded mid-November. The deadline for spring proposals is February 8, 2018, with grants awarded by April 1.

For more information, contact Heather DuBois Bourenane at (608) 572-1696 or


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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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