Eau Claire, Wis -- A community initiative is raising money for Eau Claire students. It's called Project $13 and asks people to donate their estimated savings in property tax relief. For the average homeowner the estimated tax relief is $13.
“It’s a symbolic gesture that says the public cares about what is happening to our public schools and what’s happening to public school funding," said Carol Craig, Eau Claire School Board President.
Craig says over the last few years school budgets have seen significant cuts, the biggest in 2011 when Eau Claire School District lost $5,000,000 in funding.
"So in October of 2013 when Governor Walker announced that there was a $100 million surplus for school aide there was some excitement until we realized that $100 million couldn't be applied to our school budget it had to go in a form of property tax relief because of revenue limits," said Craig.
That's when community members like Gail Halmstad decided to open their own wallets and donate that estimated tax relief.
“I think that when people realize that they there such a need people will step up,” said Halmstad.
Halmstad a retired teacher says over the years she’s seen schools struggle.
“The expectations placed on schools and because of testing there is less money for teachers to do what they needed to do,” said Halmstad.
Project $13 is hoping to get at least $13 for all 1100 students that go to school in Eau Claire.
"It's not going for anything other than school improvement for students,” said Craig.
Already Halmstad says more than a hundred people have pledged money to the project.
They are planning to bring all the checks to the next school board meeting April 14th and invite anyone to join and bring a donation.
Governor Walker Office commented on the Project; “After years of property taxes going up before Governor Walker was elected, it is great that people across the state actually saw their property taxes go down. In December, a typical homeowner will see their bill go down by more than $100. That's real money that families, seniors, farmers and small businesses can use to help build a healthy economy.”