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Joint Committee on Finance Approves Additional Funding for Public Schools

State Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette), Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Finance released the following statement:

“The Joint Committee on Finance approved a Department of Public Instruction (DPI) plan to allocate nearly $175 million to K-12 public and private schools to improve virtual education and mental health offerings during the public health emergency,” said Rep. Nygren. “This funding was provided by Congress and President Trump as a part of the CARES Act. As teachers and students around the state adapt to virtual learning, these much needed funds will play an important role in ensuring the continuity of education for our students.”

The CARES Act requires 90% of this funding to be distributed according to a formula established under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This formula directs funds to school districts based on the number of proportion of low-income students in a school district. 

DPI plans to use the remaining 10% to fund initiatives to train teachers on virtual education and to increase the number of courses that are offered virtually. DPI believes this will better prepare K-12 schools to provide increased virtual education offerings whether that is due to COVID-19 or another reason students may not be able to physically attend school, like a snow day. Funding will also be used to improve mental health services provided to students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Under DPI’s original plan, the department planned to retain $500,000 for administrative purposes. After discussions with DPI, the amount of administrative funding was reduced by $150,000, freeing up additional resources to be used for programs directly benefiting students and teachers.”

“As the husband of a public school teacher, I know firsthand how trying the last couple months have been for the educators around the state,” said Rep. Nygren. “I would like to thank our dedicated teachers around the state for their continued passion and enthusiasm in educating our future generations. Wisconsin students are served well by you.”