Hundreds hand over $13 checks Eau Claire public schools - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Hundreds hand over $13 checks to Eau Claire public schools


Eau Claire (WQOW)- A grassroots effort to support schools grows into a sizable donation.

Monday night, the Eau Claire school board was presented with about 200 personal checks from citizens.  Recently, Project 13 was launched.  It was named in light of Governor Walker's tax cut plan a year ago that lowered property taxes by an average of $13.00.

Organizers of Project 13 believed the money should've been spent on education instead  so they vowed to give their $13.00 back to the Eau Claire School District. 



Eau Claire (WQOW) - For less than the cost of a dinner or two tickets to the movies, area residents are pledging to give back to public schools.

"I started teaching in Eau Claire over 30 years ago," Gail Halmstad of Project $13 says.

30 years of knowledge and what Gail Halmstad knows, worries her.

"The funding concerns me because as I go out and I visit schools, I see all of the extra expectations that schools are expected to follow and to produce. That requires money," Halmstad says.

"Our utility bills are going up, our gas bills are going up, our consumer goods, like paper and technology, etc, are all going up. But, our budget from the state continues to go down. It's a disaster waiting to happen," Dr. Carol Craig, Eau Claire School Board President says.

"Looking at the system of funding for schools, it's broken," Halmstad says.

This is why these two concerned residents and many others are committing to investing in the school district.

It's called Project $13.

"Project $13 actually began back in October of 2012, when the legislature and the governor approved a $100 million surplus of funds to go back to the public schools but because of the revenue limits, it wasn't able to go back to the public schools, it went to the taxpayers who owned property," Craig says.

To the tune of around $13 a person: which is how the project gets its name. Its strength comes from numbers, not dollars and at the school board meeting on April 14th; organizers expect to see hundreds handing over their checks.

"$13 and even if we had 2,000 individuals, that's not even going to come close to the budget reduction that we had. It's more the symbolic representation, the civic support for funding public schools adequately," Craig says.

"It's probably not going to be a lot of money but it makes a statement to everyone that we believe in public schools and we want to see them supported," Halmstad says.

Organizers say the money will go directly toward projects that will have an impact on student achievement.  They plan to donate their money at the school board meeting on April 14th. To find out how you can give, visit the Wisconsin Education Association Council's website.

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