Report: Wisconsin K-12 Funding Lags Behind Pre-Recession Level

A national report out Monday by the Education Law Center says states have recently been increasing funding for public education but few are spending as much as they did prior to the Great Recession.  Only four states have restored education funding cut during the recession and Wisconsin isn’t one of them. While the state Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee filled in Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed K-12 education cuts, public school advocates say the proposed state budget still falls short.

Dan Rossmiller with the Wisconsin Association of School Boards said public school funding in the state remains a concern, even with tools like Act 10, which has allowed districts to save money by having employees pay more for health care and pension.

“We have some flexibility now that we didn’t have before but we’re also not seeing the kind of predictable increase in resources that keeps pace with inflation,” said Rossmiller.  

Walker’s initial biennial budget proposal included a $127 million cut to K-12 that the Legislature’s budget writing committee zeroed out. But Rossmiller said his group is opposed to other education items in the budget that they argue will negatively impact schools. Those include voucher expansion — which would siphon money from public schools — as well as teacher licensing changes and allowing homeschoolers to participate in extracurricular activities at public schools.

Read More: Wisconsin Public Radio