Last week, Governor Walker released a budget proposal that includes recommendations for changes that will affect Wisconsin schoolchildren, seniors, workers, and families for years to come.
Here at the Wisconsin Budget Project, we’ve been busy helping advocates understand how the Governor’s proposal could help or hurt future opportunities for Wisconsin’s residents.
We’ve released our first issue area summary, which describes what the Governor’s proposal would mean for students in Wisconsin K-12 schools. There’s a lot to like in the Governor’s education budget, including:
- A big boost – $509 million over two years – in state support for public K-12 schools;
- $31 million aimed at addressing the challenges of rural schools, which often have declining enrollment and high student transportation costs; and
- $6 million to improve mental health services in schools.
But there are also some provisions in Governor Walker’s budget proposal that would make it harder for Wisconsin schoolchildren to get the excellent public education they deserve. For example, the Governor’s budget proposal would:
- Distribute the bulk of the new money for schools in a way that moves the state away from its commitment to providing more assistance to districts with less capacity to boost local property tax support for schools;
- Eliminate the requirement that school districts offer a minimum number of hours of instruction; and
- Direct some state education aid towards cutting property taxes rather than putting those resources to work in the classroom.
For more about what the Governor’s proposed budget means for Wisconsin K-12 schools, read our two-page summary. We’ll be releasing summaries of other issue areas soon, so keep an eye on our website for more information.