Democrats propose millions in K12 public school funding while republicans throw scraps
Fully Funding Public Schools Means No Private School Voucher Expansion
MADISON – Today, Democrats on the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) will offer several motions that invest millions of dollars directly into public K-12 classrooms. They will also halt the Republican plan to fund unaccountable private voucher school expansion directly out of public school funding. Democrats anticipate that their plan will provide significantly more money than any Republican proposal for our K-12 public schools while using existing state resources.
“In contrast to the Republicans selling out our public schools by slashing $1.3 billion in funds over the last several years while they increase funding for private schools, our plan provides $454 million dollars for our public school classrooms by reprioritizing existing education funds,” stated Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison). “We have a real plan to fund public schools, while the Republican scheme to take more money from public schools to the private school voucher industry that provides millions in campaign donations, no matter how you say it.”
JFC Democrats’ plan puts millions back into public school classrooms by 1) increasing state aid to our public schools and allowing them to spend at least $300 more for each child; 2) allocating additional funding of $150 during the first year of the biennium and $165 for the second year for every public school child; 3) investing $5 million in funding for rural district aid and $20 million in special education, and 4) stopping the millions of additional dollars Republicans want to take from public schools and give to unaccountable private voucher schools and independent charter schools.
“It is not that complicated if your priority is the education of kids,” said Representative Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh). “Any sort of increase in funding to a second, private school system puts Wisconsin on an unsustainable path that doesn’t just threaten our public schools, but many other priorities as well. Because public schools are prevented from making up for this lost aid through property taxes, this means additional cuts to school districts’ budgets and less opportunity for Wisconsin’s kids.”
JFC Democrats' proposal would allow each district to spend an additional $300 per child more than is currently allowed.
“Schools all over Wisconsin simply cannot make it work anymore when the Governor and the Legislature fail to fund schools in ways we committed to fund them two decades ago. We cannot fail again in this budget. Schools are running referendums left and right to keep the lights on, that’s ridiculous when we have the money to fund our public schools. It just needs to be reprioritized,” said Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton).
“Governor Walker abandoned our kids when he made the largest cut to public education in the history of Wisconsin,” said Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee). “Our kids are not for sale. At a time when our neighborhood schools are struggling as a result of multiple Walker budget cuts we should invest in our children.”