Evers proposes education funding hike for Wisconsin schoolsState Superintendent Tony Evers is proposing a $615 million dollar increase in state aid for Wisconsin schools.
By: By Kristen Durst, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
State Superintendent Tony Evers is proposing a $615 million dollar increase in state aid for Wisconsin schools.
In the next two-year budget he's also proposing that Wisconsin redo the formula that it uses to determine how much money each district gets. Evers plan would provide school districts with $3,000 in state aid for each student and take poverty into account in determining aid. Evers says the plan is realistic.
"It's a plan that protects both students and taxpayers," he says. "It's a powerful first step that makes some long overdue changes to the funding formula, maximizes existing resources, increases transparency and importantly sets the stage for future support in years going forward. We must reinvest in our students that's the bottom line."
His proposal would have to first be approved by the legislature and Governor Scott Walker. Cullen Werwie, Governor Walker's spokesman, wouldn't comment on Evers' funding proposal, but says the Governor is committed to "transforming education." But Evers says he's talked to the Governor recently, and he's hopeful there's a chance for bipartisan support.
"We've had ongoing conversations with legislative leaders while this budget was developed, and they seemed willing and open to talk about it," he says. "I also spent 45 minutes personally talking with the Governor last week going through our budget and while he certainly made no commitments he also expressed interest and willingness to have discuss and dialogue around the budget."
Republican State Senator Luther Olsen is former Chair of the Senate Education Committee, a position he hopes to hold again in the next session. He said today he prefers the current funding formula based on property values, and he has doubts the state will be able to afford to boost spending for education to where Evers would like. Walker and the Republican led legislature cut funding to education by about $800 million dollars in the last budget.