June 18, 2015

Volume 1 Issue 8

State Representative Janel Brandtjen

Joint Finance Committee (JFC) provides $200 million to schools;

Administrators and school boards say itís not enough.

Once again our school administrators along the with rest of the public education establishment have exposed their limitless craving for more money.  Regardless of whether they have more students this year than last or if they are experiencing declining enrollment, it makes no difference.  They need more money, period.

Unfortunately money is tight.  Incomes are stagnate and revenues are flat.  Blame it on Obama, blame it on Scott Walker or blame it on the little boy who lives down the lane.   Simply put, money is hard to come by again this year, surprise surprise.  I have been contacted by many parents worried about funding cuts to the IRIS program that assists families with disabled children.  We are doing our best to sustain programs that help low income seniors get the medicines they need and our roads are in disrepair (we are still feeling the effects of Governor Doyleís raid on the transportation fund).  Governor Walker put forth a budget that reflected the financial condition of Wisconsin. It basically said: if there is money we can save by consolidating, eliminating or restructuring then we best start saving it now.  I agree 100%.

Walkerís original budget called for a reduction of $150 per student in year one of the budget but restored the $150 in year two.  Administrators and other school officials asked their legislators to restore the $150 per student in year one.  I and other legislators that I spoke with agreed that restoring the money would be a priority given that we had expected the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) to upgrade their economic forecast and several hundred million dollars would be available. I regretfully report that the forecast was not changed and the new money was not realized. I would further note that the $880 million in new revenue (thank you Governor Walker) that was originally projected was used to offset increasing healthcare costs (thank you President Obama).

However the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) in their ultimate wisdom voted not only to restore the $150 per student in year one ($127 million), they also ADDED $100 to the existing $150 in the second year ($73 million) for total of $200 million!

Much to the surprise of the JFC (their surprise not mine) there was no tickertape parade, no spontaneous joyful celebrations and certainly no ride in the chair of cheers.  Instead of a thank you the reaction was, although disheartening, predictable.  Republicans are evil.

A quick review of the history surrounding public education will reveal the reason for such a cold reception to $200 million for education.  Itís called 50 years of the entitlement mentality.  The education establishment is entitled.  They are entitled to having a monopoly on all things school related such as funding, zero accountability, hiring, and of course students. Educators are entitled to year round pay, Cadillac benefits, and a 188 day contract.  Administrators are entitled to six figure salaries, lucrative retirement plans, and it seems they can lobby elected officials without school board approval.  A quick note to school boards: Time to awaken from your slumber, in this post- Act 10 environment we will need you to pay attention.

   God Bless Wisconsin! 

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Please Remember Father's Day!  Sunday June 21, 2015


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Rep.Brandtjen@legis.wisconsin.gov State Capitol Room 121 West - PO Box 8953, Madison, WI 537088 Toll Free: (888) 534-0022 or (608) 267-2367