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Cherry-picking funding facts creates distrust

Recently, Sen. Janet Bewley, D-Delta, released a memo from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau claiming to show Republicans have significantly cut education funding. She claims that aid to voucher school students has had a negative impact on public sch...

Recently, Sen. Janet Bewley, D-Delta, released a memo from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau claiming to show Republicans have significantly cut education funding. She claims that aid to voucher school students has had a negative impact on public school spending, leading to state aid per pupil decreasing approximately $200 since the 2010 budget.

Unfortunately, her memo uses skewed numbers and false assumptions to paint her picture.

In fact, when other funding method and cost-saving measures are factored into the analysis, the LFB reports that combined revenue is up $20 million or $65 per student since 2010-11, according to a more thorough LFB memo requested by Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Brookfield. According to Vukmir, "Decreases [in spending] were offset by accrued savings from Republican led initiatives, which allowed districts to more effectively manage their budgets ... Since 2012, we have increased state aids to public education, and we will continue to budget with students' best interests in mind. Thanks to state Republicans, students in Wisconsin are getting a quality education, and they're doing it with expanded opportunities that weren't available before."

In fact, Republicans have raised per-student funding even while federal dollars are drying up. Federal aid per student has dropped by $236, the result of unsustainable tax-and-spend policies that left Wisconsin high and dry.

Democrats are simply grabbing at thin air for anything they can use as a partisan weapon. I went to Madison in order to find real solutions to the problems we face, not play childish political games. Since Act 10 was passed in 2010, Democrats have continued to cherry-pick statistics in a desire to paint a bleak picture of the state of Wisconsin's education. These false claims only serve to decrease public trust in their elected representative and foster partisan divides.

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We have a lot of work to do to make this state better, and I'm focused on making sure we do that.

Editor's note: Romaine Quinn represents the 75th Assembly District in the Wisconsin Legislature.

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