Education

Rural schools hope Walker's plans will help address unique challenges

Rural schools hope Walker's plans...

JUDA, Wis. - Gov. Scott Walker announced he plans to dramatically help rural schools across the state. He has not provided any specifics, but said he will address some of the unique challenges they face.

Juda is a very small rural community, and as in many small rural communities, the school is what ties families together.

“I think the great thing is you have pre-K through 12 in one building. You have 3-year-olds, so you get to see them grow,” Juda School District Superintendent Traci Davis said.

Davis is the superintendent and principal, but she also went to school in Juda.

“I think the biggest thing we face is that we are providing quality education, all the opportunities of smaller schools, but we have much more limited resources and I don’t mean just money. I mean staff,” Davis said.

The Juda School District staff members wear a number of hats and they get creative.

“We have different combinations that you wouldn’t think of,” Davis said. “Our athletic director at one point was our custodian.”

They also work with other rural school districts to make everything work.

Mr. Anderson’s calculus class extends beyond the walls in Juda to students in Albany.

A telepresence unit allows the school districts to share specialized instruction, which they pay for with sparsity aid – funding from the state to help rural schools with sparse student populations.

“One thing I know is that sparsity aid is something we very much need,” Davis said. “If we lose our sparsity aid, we lose a teacher and that’s hard for us because we only have one teacher at each grade level.”

The districts in that area also work together to share resources like nurses and school psychologists.

It is believed that help with transportation will be part of the governor’s plan. Davis said transportation is a challenge for rural schools, so their district would welcome the help.


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