For Immediate Release May 28, 2021
Contact: Representative Amy Loudenbeck 608-266-9967
Representative Tyler August 608-266-1190
Republicans Invest in K-12 Education
Finance Committee makes investments in addition to billions in federal funds.
MADISON… Two local representatives are highlighting action today by the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) to increase K-12 education funding. State Representatives Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton) and Tyler August (R-Lake Geneva) voiced their support for the Republican plan, which increases funding for schools, including a new provision that would benefit local schools in their district.
Specifically, the action taken by JFC will allocate nearly $500 million in new state funding, of which $350 million was a one-time transfer to the Budget Stabilization Fund to address potential unmet needs in the future. Other action included doubling aid to help schools treat student mental health issues as well as increasing special education funding by $87 million, the highest dollar levels ever.
“Although Governor Evers wanted even more spending, we felt this was the right balance since Wisconsin schools are already getting $2.6 billion in new money from the federal government,” explained August. “This responsible plan will steer discretionary federal funding to schools that remained open and had in-person instruction more than 50% of the school year.”
In addition, Loudenbeck and August worked together on a provision that would benefit local schools in their areas. The change will provide additional funding to Lakeland School in Elkhorn, the Wisconsin School for the Deaf (WSD) in Delavan, and the Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (WCBVI) in Janesville.
“As the Vice Chair of the Finance Committee, it was important for me to advocate for families from across Wisconsin with children attending WSD in Delavan and WCBVI in Janesville. These are state-run schools with no local school board to represent them. Since they are not traditional school districts, 90% of all federal monies were not available to them. Similarly, the special needs students attending Lakeland School in Elkhorn were also left out of the federal allocation formula and we wanted to make sure this amazing school was recognized and supported. It was a pleasure to team up with my colleague Rep. Tyler August on behalf of these unique schools in Rock and Walworth Counties and the students and families they serve,” said Loudenbeck.
Overall, Wisconsin schools are set to receive about $1.5 billion in funding from the federal government on top of the $1 billion they have already received. The JFC action on education funding was approved as part of the overall 2021-23 biennial budget bill. The committee will continue its work on different sections of the budget in the weeks ahead.