MADISON, Wis. – On the final day of the 2019-20 Legislative Session, Republicans refused to take up proposals offered by Governor Evers’ Special Session on Education that would have fulfilled the state’s 2/3rds K-12 education funding commitment, provided $80 million more in special education funding, and an additional $22 million in mental health funding. These proposals would have been paid for by the state’s $250 million revenue surplus. In response, Representative Sondy Pope (D-Mt. Horeb), the ranking member on the Assembly Committee on Education, released the following statement:
“Throughout the campaign cycle and legislative session, and by the recommendation of their Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding, Republicans promised to restore Wisconsin’s 2/3rds funding commitment instituted decades ago by a Republican governor. With the adjournment of session today, the GOP officially broke that promise,” said Rep. Pope. “We had an opportunity to take a meaningful step investing in our kids’ education and safety, instead the Republicans chose to score political points, and continued their obsession with obstructing Governor Evers.”
Part of Governor Evers’ plan would have injected an additional $130 million in general school aids. In addition, the proposal would have provided $10 million more in aid for rural school districts.
“Their rejection of much-needed sparsity aid is confusing as Republicans represent a large majority of rural school districts. They are denying their own constituents crucial funding that rural districts need to pay for higher transportation costs and enhancing educational programming,” Rep. Pope said. “Additionally, the increase in general school aids the GOP rejected would have provided property tax relief to thousands of Wisconsinites; the same citizens who have voted to raise their own taxes by billions over the last decade to keep their neighborhood schools operational. As elected officials, we must not be satisfied with the status quo, but strive to instigate positive change. It is our duty to invest more into our state’s future – our kids and their educations. ”