Declaration of Interdependence

Greater Green Bay Chamber's Partners in Education

Declaration of Interdependence

July 4, 2018

The unanimous Declaration of Interdependence of the united business partners of the great State of Wisconsin,[1]

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one profession to strengthen the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume their God-given right to politically advocate for improvement, a decent respect to the opinions of humankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the cause at hand.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that every one of the 860,138[2] children in Wisconsin’s public schools are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among People, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any form of government has within its power and authority to better these ends, it is the right of the governed to appeal for improvement, and to institute new laws, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be petitioned for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience has shown, that citizens are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by improving the forms to which they are accustomed. But when subject to a long train of funding inequity (i.e. that is inconsistent with Article X, Section 3 of Wisconsin’s Constitution) and which now impacts our State’s economic competitiveness - it is their right, it is their duty, to actively and thoughtfully engage such Government, and to seek new legislation for their future security. -- Such has been the patient state of hundreds of school districts throughout Wisconsin since 1993; and such is now the necessity which constrains us to call for transformation of the current system of school funding.

The present Governor and legislature have a history of courageous actions for improvement, having in direct object the establishment of a better quality of life for all Wisconsin citizens. Taking action in support of our state’s most precious natural resource - its children - empowers Wisconsin to build on the following accomplishments that have occurred under Governor Walker’s tenure:

  • Jobs and developing the workforce - The unemployment rate hit an all-time low in 2018 and more people are working than ever before in Wisconsin – over 3 million.
  • Backing Wisconsin’s small businesses - Governor Walker’s Small Business Agenda addresses the top issues facing businesses today: reducing business cost; preparing the workforce; removing barriers to work; and, attracting new talent.
  • Education and investing in our future - Wisconsin has potential to go from good to great. We rank in the Top 10 nationally for high school graduation rates and ACT scores. Advancing the work initiated in the 2017-19 State budget promises to strengthen Wisconsin for generations to come.

In various stages of these enhancements, we have petitioned, advocated and lobbied in support of visionary leadership that will serve the students and citizens of Wisconsin in 2020 - and beyond. Our repeated petitions have been answered, in part. Our State has regained momentum. Let us advance the recent improvements initiated by AB 835. Specifically, we call on Governor Walker and our legislative leaders to eliminate the funding inequity that exists between public school systems - and creatively invest in those marginalized by poverty, disability and insufficient access to resources; this is both an economic and moral imperative. Taking assertive action today enables tomorrow’s workers to effectively compete on the world stage. We believe a thriving workforce and economy are inherently linked to a well-funded, predictable, and sustainable system of financing public education.

We, therefore, the Business Representatives of Greater Green Bay Chamber’s Partners in Education, solemnly publish and declare, that our mutual interests are greater than our independent ambitions. That by uniting in support of an improved funding formula that provides equity in funding for all 423 public school districts we can:

  • Prime today’s students for tomorrow’s workforce requirements
  • Prevent the “brain drain” and keep the best and brightest students from migrating to other states for educational opportunities
  • Prepare Wisconsin for the “gray tsunami” whereby the number of retirees is projected to outpace the number of qualified workers available for vital services and jobs
  • Position Wisconsin as America’s leading educational State

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Forward - Together,

Kurt Voss, Chief Executive Officer, AmeriLux International, LLC

Mark Kaiser, President/CEO, Lindquist Machine Corporation

Anthony Steffek, Attorney, Davis & Kuelthau

 H. Jeffrey Rafn, President, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

Michael T. Duschene, President, ASPIRO, Inc.

Adam DeCleene, Manager, Wipfli LLP

Melinda Morella-Olson, Director of Strategic Engagement, Imaginasium

Karmen Lemke, Manager- Community Relations/Contributions, Wisconsin Public Service Corp.

Jay Zollar, General Manager, WLUK-TV

David J. Pisani, SVP- Strategy and Operations, Camera Corner Connecting Point

Eric Sponholtz, Volunteer Center of Brown County

Tina M. Schuelke, Owner-Executive Director, Change Management Communications Center, LLC

Steven F. Baue, President/CEO, ERC: Counselors & Consultants

John F. Hager, Attorney, Hager, Dewick & Zuengler, SC

Tad Campana, President, Services Plus, Inc.

Bill Monfre, President, Quality Insulators, Inc.

Erik Goerke, CEO, Alliance Management

Randall J. Homel, CEO, The Foth Companies

Brent Roubal, Executive Director, Scholarships, Inc.

Michael Vogel, Senior Vice President, Nicolet National Bank

Mark Higgins, Regional President, Johnson Bank

Katie L. Hess, Executive Director, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin

[1] This text is modeled after the Declaration of Independence

[2] Source: Department of Public Instruction

Show your commitment to the future workforce by signing the Declaration of Interdependence