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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
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 email@example.com and urge them to support Sun Prairie Community Schools.
Signed, as members of the Sun Prairie Action Resource Coalition (SPARC):
Heather DuBois Bourenane
Mary Ellen Havel-Lang
Jerry McDonough, IT Professional
Christine McDonough, Programmer
Nancy J. Schultz
Nick Zweifel, Dane County Board Supervisor, District 3, Sun Prairie