For Immediate Release:
John Gaier, President
Wisconsin Association for Equity in Funding
AEF Announces John Humphries Is New Executive Director
Neillsville, WI, August 31, 2020
The Wisconsin Association for Equity in Funding (AEF) announced today the retention of John Humphries as Executive Director, as it prepares to launch a new phase of efforts at improving equity in state school funding.
“We are thrilled to have someone with John’s background and experience in this critical position in our organization, “said John Gaier, President of AEF. Not only was Mr. Humphries a successful District Administrator in a rural, low-revenue district, he has central office leadership experiences in urban Beloit, suburban Middleton-Cross Plains, and small rural schools from Dodgeville to La Farge to Thorp.
AEF plans to continue their work to remedy the educational inequities that result from an antiquated school funding system. “Our first order of business will be to maintain and even extend the revenue limit adjustments from the last state budget cycle” Gaier said. Revenue limits were increased from a minimum $9700 to $10,000 per student in the current biennium, a clear improvement, but one that highlighted the need for more equity. Preliminary analyses suggest that this change had a minimal impact on the overall variability of revenue amounts that districts across the state are allowed to raise through state aid and local taxes.
AEF will clearly demonstrate the impact of continuing revenue limit discrepancies, and will begin to re-examine the groups highlighted in AEF’s last major effort: the Vincent v. Voight decision in the Wisconsin Supreme Court. “Legislators should be on notice: the Vincent decision made it very clear that our State Constitution requires equity. AEF intends to tirelessly advocate for equitable funding and equitable opportunities for all children across the state.”
In addition to district office experience, Mr. Humphries brings seven years of experience at the Department of Public Instruction where he was a lead author on a 5-year administrative rule change process involving special education. Humphries was also the lead technical consultant on the settlement to a federal class action lawsuit, Jamie S v. Milwaukee Public Schools, et. al. In his 2017 bid for State Superintendent, Humphries worked across the political aisle to rally support for school improvement. He brings critical background to the AEF at a time when school finance is taking center stage.
“I’m very excited for this opportunity to improve funding equity across the state. What was a short-term fix, Revenue Limits have turned into a decades-long error in our school funding model. As a District Administrator in a low-revenue district, I saw firsthand the inequities caused by our funding system. I will work tirelessly to ensure that voters and legislators across the state understand how this system is impacting children every day. A great education should not be related to the amount that your district spent in 1993.“
John Humphries has served on the Mount Horeb Community Foundation Board, and was President of the Wisconsin School Psychologists Association. He and his wife Kay Rhode live in Mount Horeb and have two adult sons. He can be reached at email@example.com, or via cell at 608-438-6109.
The Wisconsin Association for Equity in Funding (WAEF) is a group of Wisconsin school districts that seeks financial equity in the state system of school financing. Members include urban, suburban and rural schools, educating about 85,000 students across Wisconsin. The two issues that brought this group together have been the wide differences in the amount school districts have been able to invest in the education of their children (Revenue Limits) and the even wider differences in the property tax burden to pay for that investment.