MILWAUKEE, WI – “Projections for state tax collections have been revised upward by an unprecedented $4.4 billion through June 2023, positioning state reserves to reach historic levels and giving Wisconsin a once-in-a-generation chance to address some of its most longstanding challenges.” So begins a new report “Golden Opportunity For Wisconsin” by the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum.
“Indeed, this would have been a golden opportunity for Wisconsin’s children” stated School Board Member, Megan O’Halloran. “But my hopes that legislators would prioritize meeting basic school funding needs were dashed when I heard that the state’s budget committee voted against increasing school funding and continued to underfund special education.”
“Some members of the Joint Finance Committee cited the fact that school districts received federal COVID relief funds as justification for inadequately supporting students,” continues O’Halloran, “disregarding the fact that the COVID relief aid was provided on the condition that it would be in addition to – and not instead of – routine state aid.”
Instead, the Joint Finance Committee passed a paltry one-tenth of the proposed amount. This short changes school districts all over Wisconsin and jeopardizes the federal COVID aid students desperately need.
Legislators can take action now. Wisconsin has enough resources to meet the needs of every child in every school in this state. They can address the long broken funding formulas that value some children more than others. They can increase the special education reimbursement rate that forces districts to transfer a billion dollars from general operating funds to provide these vital services.
I ask the public to join Milwaukee Public Schools and communities across the state on June 21st to call on the Legislature to use this golden opportunity to prioritize children and pass a budget that restores Wisconsin’s place as an education leader.
Join Director Robert Peterson, and Director Megan O’Halloran for a press conference to be held at 9:30 am in front of the Central Services Building to address this Golden Opportunity. Speakers to include Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Senator LaTonya Johnson, Representative Evan Goyke, Superintendent Dr. Posley, Chair of the MPS Foundation John Kersey, MTEA Vice-President Ingrid Walker-Henry, and Wauwatosa School Board Director Shawn Rolland.