See this statement as a PDF here.
Feb. 15, 2023
Gov. Evers’ Budget Proposal Reflects Wisconsin’s Demand to Put Kids First
Heather DuBois Bourenane, Executive Director of Wisconsin Public Education Network, and
Sandy Whisler, President of the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools, release the following statement regarding the Education Budget proposed by Gov. Evers on Tuesday:
“We applaud Governor Evers’ proposal to strongly support public school students across the state of Wisconsin. The Governor was reelected on a promise to put kids first, and this budget does that.
After years of seeing first-hand how the state’s disinvestment in public schools has hurt local students, we are thrilled to see the Governor put forward common sense, affordable proposals that meet the needs our kids have now and will start to close the gaps between “haves” and “have nots” across the state.
We’re especially relieved to see the state take seriously the need to do better in funding special education by moving forward the bipartisan “blue ribbon” recommendation to move the reimbursement rate to 60%. This will go a long way in closing the state’s $1.5 billion annual special education funding gap, and will be a transformational adjustment for every public school in the state. This is a huge step toward ending funding discrimination between students with special needs in public schools and in private voucher schools, who currently receive a 90% reimbursement.
A recent memo from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau shows that it would take at least $1500 per student just to keep up with inflation since the last budget – a budget that froze school spending at pre-pandemic levels, and forced school districts back to school with $0 in new spending authority.
Gov. Evers knows what this means to our kids and their public schools, and he heard loud and clear at his listening sessions that the priority needs of Wisconsin students are not being met by the status quo. The total package proposed this week provides public schools much-needed stability and allows districts to budget for the needs their students and teachers have now, rather than having to make more cuts.
Wisconsin has a constitutional requirement to meet the needs of the children attending our public schools. Wisconsin voters know that our students’ needs have never been greater and the state’s resources have never been larger. That’s why they voted last fall, and that’s why our lawmakers need to come together across party lines to do the right thing by our kids. We urge Wisconsinites to raise their voices in the coming months to make sure they do.”