Tony Evers seeking $1.4 billion increase for schools in DPI budget request

State Superintendent and candidate for governor Tony Evers is seeking a substantial increase for public schools in his agency’s budget request according to  press reports.  The  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel pegs the additional amount at  $1.4 billion.

A large portion of the increase will be devoted to special education funding and increases in other categorical aids.  Another large portion of the increase is slated to go into general equalization aid to offset potential increases in local property tax levies that could stem from allowing state-imposed revenue limits to be adjusted for inflation and to hold districts harmless against losses.

From the Journal Sentinel:

“Evers’ plan for the 2019-’21 state budget includes a $339.8 million increase the first year and a $1.1 billion increase the second year.  

“Included is a $606.1 million increase in funding for special education programs, which would bring funding for such services to $900 million by 2021.

“Evers also is seeking a $58 million increase in funding for mental health services and an additional $40 million for bilingual-bicultural programs.

“The budget request also seeks $20 million in funding to create grants for after-school programs and $2.5 million to allow schools to cover driver’s education training for students who can’t afford it. 

“An additional $12.5 million would go toward restoring state funding for a program known as the Milwaukee Math Partnership, which was cut in Walker’s first state budget, DPI spokesman Tom McCarthy said.”

From the State Journal:

“Evers is calling for an increase in total aid of more than $2.6 billion over the current biennium. His proposal also calls for, starting in the second year, eliminating property tax credits that total about $1 billion per year and shifting it to general aid.

“The move doesn’t necessarily mean (overall statewide) property taxes will rise because Wisconsin has a “revenue limit” in place that effectively caps how much each school district can raise property taxes to fund operations.

“Evers’ proposal also raises the revenue limit by $200 per student in the first year and another $204 in the second year. Limits vary by district but on average are between $10,000 and $11,000 per student.”