Gov. Scott Walker is urging his Republican colleagues in the state Legislature to use his funding plan for K-12 schools, and not consider a zero-increase proposal being floated by some critics.
The governor (pictured at left alongside state Rep. Scott Allen (R- Waukesha) warned that working off a base budget for schools could mean schools would see substantially less than he’s proposed. (See previous post/WASB alert.)
The WASB’s Executive Director John Ashley, current WASB president Terry McCloskey of Three Lakes, and WASB immediate past-president Stu Olsen of Shell Lake, joined with Gov. Walker and with representatives of the Southeast Wisconsin Schools Alliance (SWSA). including numerous school board members and district administrators, at a Monday morning (4/3) press conference at Waukesha South High School where the governor promoted his education plan.
Gov. Walker has proposed giving all school districts in the state an additional $200 in per-pupil categorical aid in the first year of the budget and another $204 in the second, along with a package of additional aid specifically targeted to rural schools. He called the investments he is making in public K-12 education “the building block for a strong and vibrant workforce,” adding,” it’s not about the economy on one hand and then on the other hand about education. We believe the two are tied together.”
“My argument would be, we need, if anything, to build off of the foundation we put in this budget,” Walker told reporters following a tour of an engineering lab at the school. “So at a minimum, I would hope that the Joint Finance Committee would begin with and the subsequently the state Assembly and State Senate would build off what we have invested with the idea being that this isn’t a ‘blank check’ as all the school leaders here know.”
The governor said, “Through all the Act 10 reforms we’ve empowered school districts to put more money in the classroom, to do more with these dollars, and reinforce and reinvigorate some of our best teachers and educators in the state,” adding that because of those reforms his proposed K-12 spending increases “will overwhelmingly go to student success.”