Budget Action Alert: Public Education Funding at Risk

Wisconsin Education Budget Action Alert!

June 2, 2017

Breaking public education news in Wisconsin:

Despite the testimony of public education advocates around the state in person and in writing through the course of this budget cycle, public education funding in the 2017-2017 biennial budget is at risk. 

According to this latest report, lawmakers are divided on a proposal to cut $90 million from Governor Walker’s proposed education budget.

For many districts, even this $200/pupil increase means cuts. Anything less than the proposed $200/student increase in state aid means fewer resources in the classrooms, more layoffs and districts that can’t “complete” on teacher salary, and another cycle of taking resources away from students who desperately need our investments.

We applaud Sen. Luther Olson (R-Ripon) for taking a strong stance in support of ensuring that our students receive this aid. “We are sticking with the governor’s (proposed per-pupil increase). That is non-negotiable,” said Senate Education Committee chairman and Joint Finance Committee member Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon.

We call on all lawmakers to agree to the $200/pupil aid increase as a non-negotiable starting point.

Shifting dollar signs to the revenue limit increase column is smoke and mirrors. Raising the limit on how much a district can spend does not mean that district has more money to spend, and would not equitably impact all districts.

Our schools cannot afford a penny less than $200/pupil in new aid. Education advocates around the state have made this clear. Any changes to the revenue ceiling should be considered  IN ADDITION TO the $200 per pupil funding, not as a substitute for it that will fall as a burden to local taxpayers.

As one of our partners put it: raising a revenue limit is like raising the limit on your credit card. If your credit card company tells you that you can spend $5000 more this year, that doesn’t mean you have $5000 more to spend.  If you can’t afford to pay the bill, having “permission” to spend more doesn’t do you any good.

Here’s what you can do to take action.:

  1. Continue to contact legislators and ask that they pass a budget that includes, at a minimum, the full amount of aid proposed by Governor Walker (see below for contact info). Visit our Budget HQ page to learn more about the budget and specifics of Network partner asks. Be sure to include a request that there are no additional policy items pushed into the budget in the final hour.
  2. Continue to inform your communities and encourage others to speak out. The more specific you are about what a $200/student increase will look like in your district or school, the better.
  3. Attend the Executive Session of the Joint Finance Committee if you can (stay tuned for details on the time, date and location – likely June 6, 7 or 8). Public comment will not be heard, but a strong public presence in support of fully and fairly funded public schools could send a powerful and persuasive message.

Contact your legislators (find your legislators here) and members of the Joint Finance Committee TODAY and call on them to listen to the people of Wisconsin who have spoken up so loudly and so clearly on this issue at the public hearings held around the state, and invest in our children!

Call on them to pass a budget that keeps promises made throughout this process and includes at a minimum the full amount of aid proposed by Governor Walker, with no last-minute additions or policy measures not subject to public input.

budget ask

For more details on the state budget, please visit our Budget Action Headquarters.

About the author: Wisconsin Public Education Network

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.