State Rep. Joel Kitchens, R-Sturgeon Bay, applauded Gov. Scott Walker’s biennial budget proposal and answered students’ questions about the proposal at an Associated Students of Madison Shared Governance Committee meeting Tuesday.

Kitchen called Walker’s prososed budget “very generous.” The budget will spend $11.5 billion on public education, the most amount of money ever spent on education, he said.

Critics though, say the proposal doesn’t do enough to make up for cuts to education in previous budgets.

In addition to the investments, Kitchens discussed the previous four year tuition freeze, adding tuition would have been $13,304 for in-state students had the freeze not gone into effect.

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On the other hand, Walker’s performance-based funding proposal is something Kitchens said that concerns him

But Kitchen said he’s concerned about Walker’s performance-based funding proposal, which would tie some of the new funding for the UW System to performance measures — including improving college affordability and enhancing work readiness.

He said on the K-12 level, report cards given to schools revealed schools who have wealthy students perform better compared to their poor counterparts, and he’s worried this tendency will be the same on the university level.

“They don’t really measure — to me, very well — what the school is actually doing and I’m afraid if we do that on the university level, it’s gonna be the same kind of deal,” Kitchens said. “I think that’s kind of a dangerous path to go down.”

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Walker’s budget proposal also proposed making segregated fees — which are additional fees all student pay to support organizations and services on campus — optional. Kitchens said he stands by this proposal, because as it stands, students are financially supporting groups they might not agree with and services they might not use.

 

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Another committee member asked Kitchens about the communication between the university chancellors and the state Legislature. Kitchens said there has been a good amount of dialogue between them this year, but that has not always been the case considering the previous $250 million budget cuts the UW System sustained over the past two years.

When it comes to getting in contact with legislators, Kitchens said is best to first look up who the legislator in your respective district is. Often times, he said he receives many emails from citizens all over the state, but is more likely to respond to those sent from his constituents.

Kitchens encouraged all students, even out-of-state and international students, to lobby for issues they feel strongly about and let their chancellors know how they feel.