Local level action, statewide impact. Let’s come together to make sure our state budget meets our kids’ urgent needs and provides every child in every public school equal opportunity to succeed!
Where are we now in the budget process?
Thurs., July 8, 2021: Governor Tony Evers signed the 2021-23 state budget and issued 50 line-item vetoes. Read a joint statement in reaction to the budget’s passage and the governor’s vetoes from Dr. Julie Underwood and Heather DuBois Bourenane here.
By proposing a strong budget and using veto authority to correct some of the outrageous wrongs of the legislature’s gap-widening budget, Governor Evers has provided a way to do right by kids. Lawmakers must find the will. Lawmakers must now reconvene to fix the education budget. Contact your legislators and tell them we expect them to fix the education budget before they adjourn.
See below for details & resources!
Blog post: Reaction to the State Legislature’s 2021-23 State Budget Passage. July 1, 2021.
The Joint Finance Committee cut 90% of proposed school funding from the Governor’s budget. The committee then met in executive session to pass tax breaks that John Forester from the School Administrators Alliance rightfully called “school funding in name only.” This came as Wisconsin has a “golden opportunity” to use unexpected revenues to fill the gap and deliver the budget our children so desperately need.
Public school advocates held a Statewide Day of Action on June 21 and dominated headlines across the state. For an archive of events and actions, check out the toolkit, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. See highlights from the Day of Action here for shareable news coverage, links, images, videos and messages.
The State Assembly and Senate passed the budget to the Governor’s desk on June 30, 2021. Governor Evers had six days to take action and make this budget work for kids and their public schools.
See some excellent statements and reactions from districts and organizations around the state and encourage your local boards, superintendents, and communities to join:
- Port Washington-Saukville Education Association: Letter to the Editor in the Ozaukee Press: Skimping on Special Ed Funding Hurts All Public School Students
- Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor
- Op-Ed in Urban Milwaukee from Leigh Anne Fraley and Eric Jessup-Anger: State Budget May Impact Your Child’s Classroom
- Letter to Lawmakers from “Big 5” School Districts (Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee, Racine)
- Open letter to legislators from Fox Cities Advocates for Public Education
- Superintendent-Elect Jill Underly
- School Administrators Alliance
- Southeastern Wisconsin Schools Alliance
- Wisconsin Association for Equity in Funding (AEF)
- WASB Executive Director John Ashley (reaction)
- WASB (roundup)
- Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance (WiRSA)
- Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials (WASBO)
- Madtown Mommas and Disability Advocates + Nicki Vander Meulen
- SCHOOL DISTRICTS
- Beloit Resolution, June 29
- Letter to Lawmakers from “Big 5” School Districts (Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee, Racine)
- Monona Grove school board letter to lawmakers
- Suggested Board Resolution from WASB
- Statement from South Milwaukee: JOINT FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS DEFUNDING PUBLIC SCHOOLS
- Resolution from South Milwaukee: SUPPORT FOR INVESTING IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS THROUGH THE 2021-23 WISCONSIN STATE BUDGET
- Resolution from Beloit: SUPPORT OF WISCONSIN PUBLIC EDUCATION NETWORK BUDGET PRIORITIES RESOLUTION
- Statement from Wauwatosa: Supporting a State Budget that Drives Innovation and Outcomes in Special Education, Mental Health, Business Partnerships, Summer School and Overall Educational Excellence
- Press release from Green Bay: JOINT FINANCE COMMITTEE TO DISCUSS K-12 FUNDING ON MAY 27; GREEN BAY AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT SUPPORTS GOVERNOR’S PROPOSED INCREASES
- May 20 letter to legislators from La Crosse
- June 14 letter to legislators from Superior School Board
The JFC voted to approve its education budget on Thursday, May 27. Its passage through committee along party-line votes essentially zeroed out increases in per-pupil aid, revenue limits, and special education reimbursements to public schools. Click here for a map that shows what that means to your district: https://dpi.wi.gov/sites/default/files/imce/policy-budget/special_ed_aid_map.html. In doing this, the committee put federal COVID-19 recovery funds at serious risk.
Click here to see our May Budget Action Guide!
May 26, 2021: Tweet at the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Finance NOW. Click here to open a pre-filled tweet OR copy-paste this message to make sure your budget priorities are known: .@SenMarklein @RepBorn Please #DoYourJob and move forward with a pro-public budget that will #CloseTheGaps for kids and public schools. This Wisconsinite supports a 50 percent special ed reimbursement and increases to spendable aid and revenue limits! @WiscEdNetwork #WiBudget
– Past: The Governor introduced his budget and the Legislative Fiscal Bureau delivered a review of that budget. The Department of Public instruction delivered its testimony on April 6 at 10am. Public hearings before the Joint Finance Committee were on April 9 (Whitewater), April 21 (Rhinelander), April 22 (Menomonie), and April 28 (virtual). Written and recorded testimony was due on April 30 at noon.
– We tracked testimony at all four live hearings. See a summary of our final tallies here.
– If you testified live and/or in writing and want to amplify your impact, please email your testimony to HDB@WisconsinNetwork.org.
– Please find some of our partners’ written (and some video!) testimonies in this Google folder.
– On Friday, April 30 at 2:00 p.m., just two hours after written testimony on the budget was due to the Joint Finance Committee and before the committee had reviewed these public comments, the committee released this memo announcing its first meeting in Executive Session on the budget and itemizing a number of items in the Governor’s proposed budget that it intends to eliminate without further consideration. At the meeting on Thursday, May 6, the committee took executive action to cut 380 items from the Governor’s proposed budget.
This post from the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) cogently lays out the damage and consequences of these cuts on school districts, special education, and education more broadly.
Stay connected for our continued budget actions.
Legislative Contact Sheet (includes email addresses)
Click here for our one-pager of budget priorities and testimony tips!
- FUND PRIORITY NEEDS FIRST to meet the needs of every student and close the opportunity gaps for Black and brown students, students in poverty, students with disabilities and English learners.
- Restore special education reimbursement to 60% (see the Legislative Fiscal Bureau analysis of the special education reimbursement proposal in Governor Evers’s budget here)
- Mental health support on a per-pupil system
- English Language Learner (ELL) aid
- Funding for rural needs, including broadband and transportation
- Funding for COVID-related needs and a school nurse in every public school
- FUNDING SHOULD BE ADEQUATE, SUFFICIENT, EQUITABLE, PREDICTABLE, AND FAIR. This means increasing per-pupil funding at least by an inflationary level.
- ADDRESS WISCONSIN’S TEACHER CRISIS responsibly by providing funds for retention, recruitment, and “grow your own” educator programs.
- MORATORIUM on funding for private and privately-operated schools that drain resources from public schools held fully accountable to taxpayers through elected school boards.
- Funding should invest in closing Wisconsin’s gaps. A BUDGET THAT DOES NOT INVEST IN CLOSING OUR GAPS INVESTS IN MAKING THEM EVEN WIDER.
ABOUT THE 2021-2023 STATE BUDGET
Governor Evers’ Budget proposal (introduced 2/16/21):
- Budget in Brief (education starts on page 72): http://www.thewheelerreport.com/…/0212621budgetinbrief.pdf
- Full budget document (Dept of Public Instruction starts on page 489)
- WPEN response (press release)
- Overview: Half of Evers’ proposed $3.2B budget increase slated for K-12 education (WisPolitics)
Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s budget analysis:
- LFB Fiscal Analyst: Impact of Increased Special Education Reimbursement Proposal
- Summary of Governor’s Budget Recommendations – March, 2021 (by Agency)
Summary Document and summary tables:
- Summary of Governor’s Budget Recommendations – March, 2021 (Summary Tables)
- Summary of Governor’s Budget Recommendations – March, 2021 (Entire Document)
Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Budget Proposal (submitted by State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor to Gov. Tony Evers, Nov. 2020)
DPI summaries (one-pagers) on specific budget proposal items:
Summaries and reactions to DPI budget proposal:
- Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC): Proposed budget calls for $1.4 billion increase
- School Administrators Alliance (SAA): DPI Seeks $1.4 Billion Increase in Budget Request
- Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB): DPI submits 2021-2023 budget request for schools
- Survivor Coalition Supports Proposed DPI Biennial Budget Investments in Students With Disabilities
SPEAK UP FOR KIDS
Joint Finance Committee Public Hearings
Budget testimony can be submitted in person at hearings, at the virtual hearing, in writing or by video. Official legislative hearings on the state budget will be held on the following dates:
- Friday, April 9, 2021 UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, WI
- FULL VIDEO of testimony on WisconsinEye — paid subscription now required
- Wisconsin Public Education Network press conference alongside ACLU of Wisconsin, Coalition for a Just Budget, Fair Maps Coalition, and other partners:
- Wednesday, April 21, 2021 The Hodag Dome, Rhinelander, WI
- Thursday, April 22, 2021 UW-Stout, Menomonie, WI
- Wednesday, April 28, 2021 Virtual. REGISTRATION IS LIMITED TO THE FIRST 200 PEOPLE who register at https://legis.wisconsin.gov/topics/budgetcomments/virtual/ starting Monday, April 19 at 10 am.
- Email written or video testimony to email@example.com
- Online submission portal: www.legis.wisconsin.gov/topics/budgetcomments
- PRO TIP: CC the members and your own lawmakers when you submit your written testimony to make sure it doesn’t just get lost in the shuffle. Committee members will receive a massive drive with all the testimony – make sure yours stands out. Follow up to make sure you were heard! Use your testimony to develop a relationship with your elected officials. Copy/pastable list of Joint Finance members’ email addresses: Sen.Marklein@legis.wi.gov, Rep.Born@legis.wisconsin.gov, Sen.Stroebel@legis.wisconsin.gov, Sen.Kooyenga@legis.wisconsin.gov, Sen.Felzkowski@legis.wisconsin.gov, Sen.Bernier@legis.wisconsin.gov, Sen.Ballweg@legis.wisconsin.gov, Sen.Erpenbach@legis.wisconsin.gov, Sen.Johnson@legis.wisconsin.gov, Rep.Loudenbeck@legis.wisconsin.gov, Rep.Katsma@legis.wisconsin.gov, Rep.Zimmerman@legis.wisconsin.gov, Rep.Rodriguez@legis.wisconsin.gov, Rep.Kurtz@legis.wisconsin.gov, Rep.Goyke@legis.wisconsin.gov, Rep.Neubauer@legis.wisconsin.gov
From the JFC chairs: “The public hearings will begin at 10 am and conclude at 5 pm. The format will be similar to past hearings. Management at each of the venues will monitor capacity. Those wishing to testify at the virtual hearing will be required to register in advance, details to come on the registration process. A portal is available for individuals to provide input: www.legis.wisconsin.gov/topics/budgetcomments as well as an email address firstname.lastname@example.org .”
DON’T JUST SPEAK UP….BE HEARD! We strongly encourage you to amplify your voice by sharing your testimony with members of the Joint Finance Committee, your own legislators, and your community.
Governor Evers will hold a series of “Badger Bounceback” live listening sessions on the budget March and April. The session on education is the Badger Bounceback Live Session on What’s Best for Our Kids and will take place Thurs., April 8, 2021, at 6 p.m. Register to attend here.
- Thurs., March 18, 2021, at 6 p.m. Governor Evers’ Badger Bounceback Live Session on Economic Recovery & Opportunity. Register to attend here.
- Thurs., March 25, 2021 at 6 p.m. Governor Evers’ Badger Bounceback Live Session on Accessible & Affordable Healthcare. Register to attend here.
- Tues., March 30, 2021, at 6 p.m. Governor Evers’ Badger Bounceback Live Session on Transportation & Infrastructure. Register to attend here.
- Thurs., April 8, 2021, at 6 p.m. Governor Evers’ Badger Bounceback Live Session on What’s Best for Our Kids Register to attend here.
- Wed., April 14, 2021, at 6 p.m. Governor Evers’ Badger Bounceback Live Session on Justice Reform & Marijuana Legalization Register to attend here.
- Wed., April 21, 2021, at 6 p.m. Governor Evers’ Badger Bounceback Live Session on Climate Change & Our Environment Register to attend here.
2021 WISCONSIN JOINT FINANCE COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
- Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green), Co-Chair
- Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam), Co-Chair
- Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville), Vice Chair
- Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton), Vice Chair
- Sen. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield)
- Sen. Mary Felzowski (R-Irma)
- Sen. Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan)
- Sen. Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls)
- Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-West Point)
- Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee)
- Rep. Terry Katsma (R-Oostburg)
- Rep. Shannon Zimmerman (R-River Falls)
- Rep. Jessie Rodriguez (R-Oak Creek)
- Rep. Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc)
- Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee)
- Rep. Greta Neubauer (D-Racine)
Our friends at the ACLU of Wisconsin have put together a helpful document of this year’s JFC members along with their photos and social media handles. See that here!
Our Legislative Contact Sheet (includes email addresses)
[NE Regional Opportunity] State Sen. André Jacques (R-De Pere) is hosting a series of listening sessions in the district on the budget and other legislative issues from April 9 to April 23: Press release with details here.
Friday, March 19, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., State Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green), State Rep. Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville) and State Rep. Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City) held a budget listening session in Belmont.
The Assembly Democrats also scheduled a series of virtual “Budget Action Meetings” throughout the month of March. According to the organizers, “The goals for each meeting are to 1) Highlight our members’ work and educate people about what is in the Badger Bounceback Budget, 2) Inspire people to participate in the budget process and take one concrete action, and 3) Provide ways to connect with partner groups about ongoing budget organizing. ” The schedule for the upcoming meetings is as follows:
- March 3 at 7pm: Criminal Justice Reform and Democracy
- March 10 at 7pm: Education, Childcare and Higher Education
- March 17 at 7pm: Healthcare
- March 24 at 7pm: Climate, Environment and Equal Rights
- March 31 at 7pm: Economy and Infrastructure
You can learn more about the effort at ForwardWisc.com. For more information contact Rep. Goyke at email@example.com and Rep. Neubauer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Governor Evers and Lt. Gov. Barnes held “People’s Budget Listening Sessions in Nov-Dec 2020. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS AND LINKS TO RECORDINGS.
- Budget Listening Session on Healthcare and Public Health
Tuesday, November 17 at 6 p.m.
- Budget Listening Session on Environment, Infrastructure, and the Economy
Wednesday, December 2 at 6 p.m.
- Budget Listening Session on Criminal Justice Reform
Tuesday, December 8 at 6 p.m.
- Budget Listening Session on Our Schools and Education
Wednesday, December 16 at 6 p.m.
- There were at least 490 people in attendance, and the majority shared our concerns about meeting students’ needs. We heard a lot of support for special education funding, addressing Wisconsin’s teacher shortage, bilingual education needs, mental health, school nursing, early childhood funding, nutrition and more — including a number of people who were well-organized to speak in favor of additional charter spending.
- CLICK HERE to see the recording on Wisconsin Eye
Gov. Evers’ People’s Maps Commission Hearings
Wisconsin’s legislative districts will be redrawn in 2021 following the publication of the 2020 US Census. Hearings on this process began in fall 2020, and the public is urged to submit testimony at the live virtual hearings or submit written comments here.
TAKE LOCAL ACTION!
UPCOMING EVENTS & ACTIONS:
CLOSING THE GAPS Workshop Series Resource Archives:
- School Board Matters, Jan. 27, 2021: video, powerpoint, shared notes doc.
- School Funding 101 with Dr. Julie Underwood, Feb. 11, 2021: video, slide deck.
- School Funding 102 with Bob Soldner, DPI and Dr. Julie Underwood, Feb. 25, 2021: video, slide deck, one-page school finance resource
- Letter to the Editor and Op-Ed Workshop with Matt Rothschild, March 4, 2021: video and folder of resources & tips. Click here for sample letters to the editor on the 2021-2023 budget (note: this file is updated with new letters as they’re shared with us – send yours to hdb@WisconsinNetwork.org to add it to the list!)
- Biennium Budget Breakdown with State Budget Director Brian Pahnke, March 16, 2021: video.
First Budget Action Workshop with the Wisconsin Public Education Network and the ACLU of Wisconsin: Saturday, January 23. If you missed the Workshop, would like to review the materials, or wish to share them with others, you can find everything you need here (and archived on our Budget HQ page):
- Budget Action Workshop Participant Guide (includes agenda, budget overview, organizing readings, and regularly updated budget resources)
- Printable worksheets for Small Group Storytelling Breakouts
- Budget Action Workshop PowerPoint presentation (pdf)
- Video of Jan. 23 Budget Action Workshop [note: video starts recording about 10 minutes into event]NOTE: We welcome you to use these resources to hold your own nonpartisan advocacy workshops or training events, provided that all of our materials are fully credited and distributed free of charge. If you’d like support in holding a local training or Budget Action Workshop, please contact Heather at hdb@WisconsinNetwork.org, or your Wisconsin Public Education Network regional organizer!
Second Budget Action Workshop with the Wisconsin Public Education Network and the ACLU of Wisconsin: Saturday, February 20. We unpacked Governor Evers’s newly-released state budget and started our local action planning. Archive:
Our communities face mounting challenges and critical needs as we adjust to schooling during a global pandemic. It’s never been more important to stand united to ensure our public schools have the resources they need to thrive. Let your community know what’s at stake for local students in the 2021-2023 state budget!
Join Wisconsin Public Education Network partners around the state to take action where YOU live to make a positive difference.
Wisconsin’s children are counting on us!