Contact: Senator Jon Erpenbach (608) 266-6670
Senator LaTonya Johnson (608) 266-2500
Representative Chris Taylor (608) 266-5342
Representative Evan Goyke (608) 266-0645
MADISON, WI – Tomorrow the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) will meet to take up one of the most important issues for Wisconsin families: education. After historic cuts to public schools eight years ago, and inadequate funding ever since, anything short of Governor Evers’ Budget proposal only continues the Republican legacy of chronically underfunded schools. Voters across the state have resorted to raising their own taxes in order to keep their school doors open because of failed Republican policies that favor giveaways for the wealthy and big corporations over our children. Tomorrow, JFC Democrats will send a clear message that we are ready to invest in the future of our state.
The People’s Budget makes significant investments in public education. Republicans hamstrung communities throughout Wisconsin with years of inadequate dollars for public schools — and they continue to insist on providing less funding for no reason other than protecting millions in giveaways to the wealthy and special interests. In contrast, Democrats plan to provide $618.8 million in general aid over the biennium to reverse this trend and ensure that our schools are fully and fairly funded.
Parents, students, and advocates have demanded that the state fund special education, after a decade of stagnant funding. Compared to current law, the People’s Budget would increase special education funding by 30% in the first year, and 60% in the second. The historic increase is a much needed and highly sought after investment from school administrators across the state. Schools districts in Wisconsin have had to take on more and more of the responsibility to fund vital and mandated special education services due to Republican’s refusal to invest in those programs. Democrats are answering the call from communities across Wisconsin by adding $606 million to increase reimbursement for high cost special education, while providing an additional $7 million over the biennium to increase incentives for districts that help students in special education programs to transition to higher education.
The People’s Budget lets taxpayers know that their hard-earned dollars are being invested wisely. Our local school districts and taxpayers are already spending the money to make up for our state’s refusal to invest in necessary programs, and without proper funding that burden will continue to rise. The Republicans have spent years ignoring the will of the people, who want investments in schools – not more of the broken status quo.
The Governor and JFC Democrats firmly believe that what’s best for kids is what is best for our state, and the People’s Budget delivers on our promise to act on the people’s behalf and invest in our future.