Eliminate CESA? Seriously? | WisCommunity

Eliminate CESA? Seriously?

It was a John McEnroe moment watching Capitol City Sunday interview with State Rep. Joe Sanfilippo of West Allis.

Sanfilippo was there to promote his idea to turn the elected State Superintendent of Schools into an appointed position.

This is the just the latest proposal as the majority Republicans continue their march to assume absolute power in Wisconsin--turning civil service positions in to appointed positions, destroying labor unions, gerrymandering voting districts, voter ID, changing the method for selecting a chief justice, turning the GAB into a partisan agency, make changes to the John Doe law and gutting the open records law to name a few.

However, on Capitol City Sunday Sanfilippo went a step further and said he is considering legislation that would eliminate CESA’s “which are spending $10’s of millions of taxpayer’s money,” and “we should turn this money into direct state aid for school districts.”

I nearly choked on my coffee. “Seriously, did he just say eliminate CESA?” I said out loud.

First, most people watching this probably have no idea what CESA is and don’t care.

CESA stands for Cooperative Educational Service Agency. Wisconsin is divided up into 12 districts with a CESA in each serving 35 to 40 districts.

CESA is one of those agencies that are virtually unknown to the average person but without it our schools would have difficulty delivering some of their most basic services.

The biggest beneficiaries of CESA are the smaller school districts. The services they deliver allow small school districts to play like the big boys without spending a ton of money.

For example, most school districts can’t afford to pay for a full-time school psychologist. However, they can call up CESA and get one for two days a month or one day a week depending on their need. It is all about pooling services. Buying supplies? Go through CESA, which can command a huge volume discount. Considering using Chromebooks as a teaching tool? CESA will send out an expert, and, if needed, get you a big discount on the Chromebooks.

Teacher training? The same.

Sanfilippo knows full well what CESA’s provide. This is just another gimmick to find ways to gut education funding. And eliminated an agency that is unknown to most people is an easy target.



September 20, 2015 - 10:08am