Reaction to the Legislature’s 2021-23 State Budget Passage

With a gap-widening budget now on his desk, and six days to take action, Governor Tony Evers must use his expansive veto power to make this budget better for Wisconsin’s children and their public schools.

On Tuesday, June 29, 2021, the State Assembly passed a budget that provided no increase to public school districts’ revenue limits — which means zero new dollars in most classrooms — by a vote of 64-34. Sixty Republicans and four Democrats voted for the budget presented by the Joint Committee on Finance. Then, on Wednesday, June 30, the State Senate did the same, passing the budget by a vote of 23-9, with all 20 Republicans present voting for the budget along with three Democrats. Our Education Vote Tracker is updated with how each member of the legislature voted.

In short, the legislature has moved forward a budget that sells kids short despite having a “golden opportunity” to invest an enormous surplus in students, special education programs, English language learning programs, mental health supports in public schools, and more.

They could have used this moment to close the gaps. They chose to make them wider.

People across Wisconsin demanded that their elected representatives close the gaps and stop playing politics with kids. But a budget that includes no increase to revenue limits and asks public school districts to stretch federal COVID-19 aid well beyond its intended purpose passed anyway.

What happens next is up to Governor Evers — and those who contact him.

Governor Evers:
We implore you to do everything in your veto power to improve this budget for students.

— Dr. Julie Underwood on behalf of the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools (WAES) Board of Directors

Dr. Julie Underwood sent these words in a letter to the governor this afternoon, Thursday, July 1, on behalf of the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools (WAES) Board of Directors. The letter to Governor Evers outlines the ways in which this budget falls woefully short and asks him to veto the tax cuts that have been substituted for public school funding in an effort to restore public school funding in the state budget and preserve that revenue for our students, as is clearly the will of the people of Wisconsin.

The Governor has six days to figure out how to make this budget better for kids using his broad veto authority.

As always, we applaud the resolve of the members of the legislature who spoke in defense of public schools and took a stand by voting against this gap-widening budget. We also applaud Rep. Sondy Pope and Sen. Chris Larson, who introduced amendments to restore key elements of the Governor’s education budget — they ultimately failed along partisan lines.

The budget has not been passed into law. Governor Evers has six days to use his broad veto authority creatively and make it work for kids. Contact the Governor to let him know what you think about this budget.

  • Or call the Governor’s Madison office at 608-266-1212

Wisconsin Public Education Network is a nonpartisan grassroots coalition supporting strong public schools that provide equal opportunity for all students to thrive. The Network is a project of the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools (WAES), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

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