LETTER: Strong schools critical to futureWe need to return to the time when the annual per pupil increase for public schools at least kept up with inflation, and the resources are there to do it.
We need to return to the time when the annual per pupil increase for public schools at least kept up with inflation, and the resources are there to do it.
The budget currently on the table continues to strip more resources from public schools. It wasn’t always that way.
In 2010, a group of Republican legislators had the good sense to co-sponsor a bill that gave a per-pupil revenue boost of $275 to public schools. Assembly Bill 919 even mapped out a plan to raise state aid over time to the percentage it had been for decades.
The bill was sponsored by now Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Joint Finance Committee co-chair John Nygren, and other prominent Republicans. So, what’s changed?
The governor’s current education budget enjoys the support of most legislators in his party, including those who proposed a $275 per pupil increase a mere three years ago. Today’s budget gives $72 million to expand private vouchers but provides absolutely no revenue limit increase for public schools.
Our policymakers need to show the same common sense that led to AB 919’s birth in 2010. A $275 per-pupil increase in the revenue limit is a good down payment on putting desperately needed resources back into the classrooms from which they were taken.
There is no better return on investment to taxpayers than public education. Strong public schools are critical to our children’s futures and key to economic recovery.
We need to hold our elected representatives accountable for helping public schools succeed.
Fort Atkinson, Wis.
Editor’s note: Tom Beebe is the program director for Institute for Wisconsin’s Future.