GO PUBLIC! 2019-2021 Budget HQ

This is an archive of our 2019-21 Budget Action page. See our current Budget HQ at WisconsinNetwork.org/budget.

The 2019-2021 state budget has a direct impact on our children, schools, and communities. Join us in making an impact to stand up for a Wisconsin where everyone thrives!

BUDGET UPDATE: 6/12/2019

Joint Finance voted and passed a watered-down version of the education budget on May 23. Meeting began at 11am. 

$900 million has been cut from the education budget and the proposal moved froward by the Joint Finance Committee doesn’t even keep up with inflation. The paltry increases to per pupil aid and the minor adjustment to a special ed reimbursement that’s been frozen for a decade don’t even come close to meeting the urgent needs of our kids, and further widen the gaps between “have” and “have nots”. State lawmakers have just a few more weeks to do the right thing.

We’re sick of begging for crumbs. We’re sick of seeing our stand invest in widening gaps and underfunding the basics. We’re sick of politicians holding our kids and schools hostage during their budget negotiations.

Enough. It’s time to demand the change our children deserve, and the change that both parties know they desperately need.

Join us in taking a united stand for the budget our children deserve.

The official registration for our March to Madison is now live.

Click here now to register for the March to Madison whether you can march for an hour or the entire 60 miles, or just want to cheer on the marchers. There will be whistle stops along the way, and we urge you to join us.

We especially encourage all who are able to join us for the final two-mile home stretch from Madison East High School to the Capitol on Tuesday, June 25. Please share this link widely and help spread the word: http://www.wisconsinnetwork.org/blog/march.


Are you ready to take a stand? Join us.

Can’t participate but want to take a stand for public schools and support this action?

Donate here or text STAND to (608) 530-6667.

Watch our press conference here.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau papers for the May 23 JFC meeting are below:

Public Instruction — General School Aids and Revenue Limits<http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/misc/lfb/budget/2019_21_biennial_budget/bpbd/104_may_23/100_public_instruction_general_school_aids_and_revenue_limits>

Public Instruction — Categorical Aids<http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/misc/lfb/budget/2019_21_biennial_budget/bpbd/104_may_23/102_public_instruction_categorical_aids>

Public Instruction — Choice, Charter, and Open Enrollment<http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/misc/lfb/budget/2019_21_biennial_budget/bpbd/104_may_23/103_public_instruction_choice_charter_and_open_enrollment>

Public Instruction — Administrative and Other Funding<http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/misc/lfb/budget/2019_21_biennial_budget/bpbd/104_may_23/104_public_instruction_administrative_and_other_funding>



PUBLIC EDUCATION FUNDING IS AT RISK and the time to speak up on the budget is NOW. Thank you for taking time to contact your elected officials! See below for a copy/pastable list of Joint Finance Committee members’ emails.

Republican leaders of Joint Finance announced in a memo that they intend to strip numerous policy measures from the Governor’s proposed budget, including the expansion of Medicaid which would have generated additional funding to support school measures. The lengthy list notably includes both fiscal and non-fiscal items, including deletion of the Governor’s proposals to cap voucher enrollment and to repeal a provision tacked onto the previous budget in a last-minute Omnibus motion that provides a 90% reimbursement rate for special education costs for students receiving Special Needs Scholarship vouchers.


Page numbers correspond to the LFB budget summary here.

General School Aids and Revenue Limits

  • Reallocate Property Tax Credit Funding to General School Aids Appropriation (Page 317, #5 and Page 385, #1)
  • Revenue Limit Adjustment for Lead Testing and Remediation (Page 321, #14)
  • Four-Year-Old Kindergarten Membership (Page 322, #15)
  • Limit on Number of School District Referenda (Page 322, #16)

Categorical Aids

  • Driver Education Aid (Page 333, #29)

Choice, Charter, SNSP, and Open Enrollment

  • Private School Choice Programs — Cap Participation at 2020-21 Levels (Page 339, #3)
  • Private School Choice Programs — Teacher Licensure Requirement (Page 340, #4)
  • Private School Choice Programs — Accreditation of Private Schools (Page 341, #5)
  • Milwaukee Private School Choice Program — Eliminate City Choice Levy Aid (Page 342, #6)
  • Private School Choice Programs — Definition of Poverty Level (Page 342, #7)
  • Private School Choice and Special Needs Scholarship Programs — Information Required on Property Tax Bill (Page 342, #8 and Page 390, #6)
  • Special Needs Scholarship Program — Sunset (Page 344, #10)
  • Special Needs Scholarship Program — Teacher Licensure Requirement (Page 344, #11)
  • Special Needs Scholarship Program — Private School Requirements (Page 344, #12)
  • Special Needs Scholarship Program — Delete Cost Reimbursement Provision (Page 346, #13)
  • Special Education Scholarship Program — Additional Tuition Charges (Page 347, #14)
  • Special Education Scholarship Program — Religious Activity Opt-Out (Page 348, #15)
  • Prohibition on New Independent Charter Schools (Page 349, #17)
  • Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program (Page 351, #20)

Administrative and Other Funding

  • Eliminate Teacher Licensure for Alternative Teaching Preparation Program (Page 354, #5)
  • Paid Planning Time for Teachers (Page 359, #23)

Related Items in other Agencies

  • Rehired Annuitant Teachers (Page 119, #3) [ETF]
  • Student Loan Refinancing Study Committee (Page 130, #2; Page 229, #10; and Page 396, #2) [HEAB]
  • Transfer Office of School Safety (Page 252, #6 and Page 358, #22) [DOJ]
  • Agency Publications (Page 262, #8) [LEGISLATURE] [Act 369]
  • Administrative Rules (Page 262, #9) [LEGISLATURE] [Act 369]
  • Municipal Broadband Facilities in Underserved or Unserved Areas (Page 361, #3) [PSCD]
  • Transfers from DWD to DPI [DWD]
  • Career and Technical Education Grants and Completion Awards (Page 330, #21 and Page 463, #1)
  • Technical Education Equipment Grant Program (Page 331, #22 and Page 464, #3)
  • Teacher Development Grants (Page 335, #33; Page 464, #4; and Page 464, #5)

Didn’t make it to a hearing? You can still send written or video testimony to: BudgetComments@legis.wisconsin.gov. Use subject line: Testimony on 2019-2021 Budget for Public Record and cc your own legislators! Deadline (tentative) is May 1.

What’s Best for Kids & Schools was the primary concern at the four hearings on the state budget held in April. See our full report here.

  • AGENCY BRIEFINGS (no public comment allowed): April 3 (Departments of Public Instruction, Transportation and Health Services) and April 4 (Departments of Development, Corrections and Natural Resources) State Capitol. Start time: 10am. Agency briefings are hearings at which representatives of state agencies, typically the head of the agency, present testimony to the JFC on the Governor’s budget bill and the effect that the proposed budget would have on the agency and its programs. Typically, agency briefings take place at the Capitol.

CONFIRMED DATES FOR PUBLIC HEARINGSon the 2019-2021 state budget * ALL HEARINGS BEGIN AT 10:00 AM * Our Budget Action contact for each region follows

  • Wednesday, April 10 – Oak Creek: Oak Creek Community Center 8580 South Howell Avenue, April 11,  Milwaukee Area SOUTHWEST Region Education Contact: Jenni Hofschulte  jenni.hofschulte@gmail.com; General contact: Jarrett English, jenglish@aclu-wi.org (414-324-7653)
  • Monday, April 15, River Falls: University of Wisconsin River Falls University Center-Riverview Ballroom #260NORTHWEST Region Education Contact: Chris Hambuch-Boyle, chbschoolboard@gmail.com; General contact Selika Ducksworth Lawton duckswsm@uwec.edu
  • Wednesday, April 24, Green Bay: University of Wisconsin Green Bay University Union Phoenix Room NORTHEAST Region Contact: Marcia Engen, mengen@new.rr.com

Wisconsin Public Education Network is organizing to prepare our people to take an active role in making sure the budget that is passed in 2019 will be one that transforms the reality of our schools and ensures the success of our children.

Here are the 4 top ways to get involved:

  1. Testify – and amplify your message! Attend a public hearing in person, or submit written or video testimony, then let your community and others know your concerns. Click here to join our efforts to coordinate and amplify our stories!
  2. Get connected for training and support to make a local impact. We can help draft, craft and hone testimony, connect you to local teams and actions, and have trained coaches ready to provide free individual consultations and support. We held budget organizing workshops around the state from Jan-March so that we can be stronger together. JOIN USwe need YOUR VOICE to be heard to be successful! Contact us for coaching and resources: hdb@WisconsinNetwork.org
  3. Stay Updated on our weekly Budget Action Calls! We are trying to not only create a budget that does what’s best for kids but also trying to build momentum for our coalition in the future. Stay connected with us during this important time. Register to receive the call-in information. These calls are OPEN TO ALL.
  4. Spread the word. Please help us make sure Wisconsin takes advantage of this opportunity to come together to speak in one voice for our kids and schools! Please share these opportunities and graphics widely with your own district, groups, lists, and on social media. #WiBudget #GoPublic #BeTheMedia

Four Budget Action Workshops were held in Kaukauna (March 2), Middleton (March 3), Eau Claire (March 9) Education Contact: Chris Hambuch-Boyle, Milwaukee (March 10). Public education advocates were joined at these trainings by our organizing partners from the ACLU of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Voices (a collective of non-profit organizations), and Wisconsin Leadership Development (WiLD) project. The training included lunch a a full day of proven-successful, action-focused training with experienced local and professional organizers.

2019-2021 Budget Resources:

Gov. Evers is scheduled to deliver the official budget request on Feb. 28. After the budget is unveiled, the Joint Finance Committee will hold public hearings on the budget around the state. Lawmakers will then debate and amend the budget and submit their version to the Governor to be signed into law. The Governor has line-item veto authority but cannot add additional items to the budget when signing the document.

Education Resources

  • Interactive Map: What would a 60% special education reimbursement mean to your district?

Budget News of Note

Budget Information and Legislative Contacts

      WI budget process

        Members of the Joint Finance Committee:

        • Co-Chair Sen. Alberta Darling (R) (SD 8) River Hill
        • Co-Chair Rep. John Nygren (R) (AD 89) Marinette
        • Vice Chair Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R) (AD 31) Clinton
        • Vice Chair Sen. Luther Olsen (R) (SD 14) Ripon
        • Sen. Howard Marklein (R) (SD 17) Spring Green
        • Sen. Duey Stroebel (R) (SD 20) Saukville
        • Sen. Thomas Tiffany (R) (SD 12) Hazelhurst
        • Sen. Devin LeMahieu (R) (SD 9) Oostburg
        • Ranking Dem Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D) (SD 27) Middleton
        • Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D) (SD 6) Milwaukee
        • Rep. Shannon Zimmerman (R) (AD 30) River Falls
        • Rep. Terry Katsma (R) (AD 26) Oostburg
        • Rep. Mark Born (R) (AD 39) Beaver Dam
        • Rep. Mike Rohrkaste (R) (AD 55) Neenah
        • Rep. Chris Taylor (D) (AD 76) Madison
        • Rep. Evan Goyke (D) (AD 18) Milwaukee
        • Committee Clerk: Joe Malkasian: (608) 264-8314 – joe.malkasian@legis.wisconsin.gov
        • You can email the entire Joint Finance committee by sending written testimony to: BudgetComments@legis.wisconsin.gov.

        Individual email addresses for Joint Finance Committee members:

        You can email the entire Joint Finance committee by sending written testimony to: BudgetComments@legis.wisconsin.gov.
        Use subject line: Testimony on 2019-2021 Budget for Public Record and cc your own legislators.

        Follow the Joint Finance Committee calendar and updates here.

        Testimony Tips, Tools & Resources

        How to prepare effective testimony :
        • Start with a clear ask: make explicit exactly what change you want to see. BE SPECIFIC
        • Tell your story. Why do you care so much about this issue? Why does it matter to you? Share specific moments that demonstrate the impacts of this issue in your life and your community or school.
        • Connect it to others. Why should others care? How does the issue that matters to you matter to all of us?  SHOW this through specific examples of how we are connected.
        • Demonstrate the urgency. What change do you want to see and why does this change need to happen now?
        • Be positive and aspirational. Focus on what you are FOR, not what you are against. Remember: legislators could go back to a “base budget.” They need to know what your local schools need to meet the needs of all students.
        • Get the facts and MAKE IT LOCAL.  Avoid making blanket statements and focus on the local impacts of the state budget. Talk to your superintendent or business manager and understand what your district needs. Is $200/pupil enough? How much spendable aid per pupil does your district need? What would it look like if your district saw an increase in special education funding? And take advantage of our team of experts ready to vet your testimony for accuracy.
        • Be prepared to use your time wisely. Individuals will be allowed two minutes each at the microphone. Always start by stating your full name and city/district.  Groups of 3 or more will be allowed 5 minutes total.
        • Practice! 2 minutes of testimony is about 250 words. Make sure your story is clear, vivid and paints a local picture of why you care — and that you include your budget request. Be prepared to deliver your testimony in 2 minutes, as public testimony is usually strictly timed.
        • Be memorable. Consider purchasing one of our Go Public t-shirts (available at our table at the hearings, or in advance through your regional coordinators). Or bring school spirit by wearing your local district’s colors & gear. Having us spread out in the audience with matching shirts is a very strong visual statement of support for students and public schools.
        • Stand united. Group testimony gets the attention of listeners and can send a message of unity. Consider bringing a group of parents, educators, administrators, board members, and community leaders with you. Be sure all of your names are included on the written testimony you submit to the clerk.
        • Show solidarity respectfully. Clapping, cheering and signage is very strictly NOT ALLOWED at JFC hearings, and those in violation of this rule may be removed. One effective way to show appreciation or support for the testimony of others is to silently stand in support while they are speaking.
        • Visual aids—photos of people you are talking about, or your school, or a chart or graph can be effective for visual learners, and can help personalize your story.
        • Amplify your message!  Once your testimony is ready to go, share it widely! It’s not enough that legislators hear what you have to say. Make sure your friends and neighbors know why you are standing up and speaking out, and what concerns are most pressing for your schools. Consider submitting your testimony as a letter to the editor of your local paper, share it online on your team’s website, post it on social media, and make a video sharing your concerns! Use #GoPublic and #WIBudget2017  and send your stories to hdb@WisconsinNetwork.org to help us track the show of support for our public schools.
        • Make it official!  When submitting written testimony (by email or snail mail), be sure to ask that your budget testimony be entered into the public record. Bring 3 hard copies of your testimony to the JFC hearing with you to present for the same purpose (one copy for the clerk, one for our team when you check in, and one to read). Use subject line: BUDGET TESTIMONY FOR PUBLIC RECORD. Make sure your message includes your full name and address, and include the testimony in the body of the email (not as an attachment).
        • Let YOUR elected officials know you testified! Even if your elected officials aren’t members of the Joint Finance Committee, they will vote on the budget and need to know your concerns. CC your own legislators on all email correspondence to the JFC, and send them written copies of your oral testimony if you present it at the hearing.  Find your legislators here.
        JFC testimony pro tips-page-001

        Go Public

        2017-2019 Budget Archive

        This page is updated regularly as new budget information emerges. Please check back often to stay informed and up-to-date on budget news and actions!

        About the author: Wisconsin Public Education Network

        Has one comment to “GO PUBLIC! 2019-2021 Budget HQ”

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        1. Sheila Plotkin - March 19, 2017 at 3:32 am Reply

          Here’s the link to the video of my 2:00, 227 word testimony. I plan to testify at the JFC hearing in Platteville on April 3. Once I decided on my story, I “told” it to myself, out loud, several times. When I liked what I was hearing, I typed it out. Little by little, I pared it down to essentials and to the 2:00 limit that I’m told the JFC imposes. Then, I rehearsed it until I could recite it pretty much from memory without needing to refer to the printed version. Freed from that connection, I worked on the timing of individual phrases for emphasis and on vocal expression. It took time, but all things worth doing take time. I think this is worth doing. Our public school teachers and staff, parents, and 800,000 kids are counting on us. I hope this will inspire you to create your own testimony.


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