State Superintendent and Dem guv candidate Tony Evers called for “a better way” for investing in K-12 in his annual “State of Education” address.

Evers also knocked the “decade of disinvestment” in school funding during his speech Thursday afternoon at the Capitol, saying the state’s priorities — without mentioning any names or political parties — are “out of whack.”

And he touted his “transformational” K-12 budget proposal that would increase spending by $1.4 billion over the biennium as the best path forward. His plan, Evers said, also gives an “extra lift for kids who need it” through an increase in special education funding, among other provisions.

Under Evers’ budget, $606.1 million would go toward upping special education funding, which would more than double the current reimbursement rate.

He also highlighted his budget’s move to restore the state’s commitment to fund two-thirds of education costs “without any gimmicks.” The state is at 65.8 percent for the 2018-19 school year, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

Evers said the impact on property taxes would be neutral under his proposal.

In closing, Evers called on listeners to join together to “restore respect” for schools and teachers, “reinvest” in K-12 and “bring civility and collaboration back to public education and to public life.”

“It’s not enough to just say that we respect teachers and value education,” he said. “We must lead because we know there’s a better way.”

See a transcript of the speech:

By Briana Reilly

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