by Sarah Hall
for The Beacon
In the regular October Plymouth School Board meeting which followed the annual one last week, Plymouth School District Superintendent Dan Mella gave a longer legislative report than usual, summarizing discussion at a meeting of local superintendents and state lawmakers the day before and urging citizens to continue advocating against recent action that could have a negative impact on schools.
He asked others to join him in appealing for the school revenue limit freeze to be lifted and pointed out that even as public school income has been suppressed, private schools are regularly receiving increases in voucher funding – and local taxpayers are footing 100 percent of it.
Mella also expressed concern about Assembly Bill 411, which bans public schools from teaching students about concepts such as systemic racism and implicit bias. It is yet to be approved by the Wisconsin Senate and is expected to be vetoed by Governor Tony Evers. The bill is part of a nationwide effort by some to restrict how teachers can talk about race in the classroom.
“Local superintendents came out strongly against that bill… because it flies in the face of what all of our local industries are trying to do by attracting a diverse workforce and building equity and inclusion in their workplaces,” Mella said. “… This bill explicitly calls out teaching about equity and inclusion or even saying those words,” with possible fines of up to $15,000 resulting.
“It seems to be a bill intended to incite anger or fear,” he continued. “All the superintendents in Sheboygan County were resolute that this is not a bill that would be helpful for our communities and our schools.”