Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


New education plan would increase state funding

As Governor-Elect Scott Walker calls for cuts in state spending, Wisconsin School Superintendent Tony Evers proposed a plan to reallocate $900 million from tax credits to state school aid Monday.

The new state Department of Public Instruction plan calls for a 2 percent budget increase, as well as a guaranteed state funding of $3,000 per student.

The plan focuses on reimbursing education programs including special education, high cost special education, bilingual and bicultural education, Student Achievement Guarantee in Education and school breakfast, according to the DPI.


Echoing a familiar campaign sentiment, Evers said in a statement the plan would move Wisconsin forward.

Though the plan would increase the education budget by $25 million, Joe Quick, Legislative Liaison for the Madison Area School District, said the burden would not fall on tax payers.

Instead, Quick said, Evers’ plan is taking existing resources, particularly money generated from property taxes, and allocating them differently.

The plan would change how the education budget is calculated, said Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin.

Instead of basing funding on property taxes, which benefits districts in wealthy areas, the new plane would take into account the income poverty level, Heck said.

Although every district in Wisconsin would see an increase in the state aid for education, Milwaukee and Racine districts would receive a majority of the money, according to the DPI.

“Just as families know the importance of providing their children with a strong education, this plan works to protect students at a very difficult fiscal time in order to help provide them with a better future,” Gregory E. Thornton, Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent, said in a statement.

The Milwaukee school district would receive more money than other districts because Evers recognizes that it takes more money to educate a child in poverty than the average student, Quick said.

According to Quick, the plan would allocate 20 percent more funding to students from poverty-stricken areas.

Under the plan, three new programs would be introduced with the goal of increasing graduation rates and career ready assessments while also providing census-based aid for English Language Learners, according to the DPI.

To encourage the growth of the graduation rate, Evers proposed a new grant that would allocate 20 million dollars to the district that shows its students are “on-track” to graduation, according to the statement.

“Wisconsin needs every student to graduate ready for the workforce or further education,” Evers said, “This competitive grant program will support innovative efforts and hold districts accountable for results.”

The plan proposed Monday suggests a change from the status quo in education funding in recent years, Quick said.

This year, state aid for education was cut by 8 percent and saw a 15 percent decrease the year before that, according to Quick.

Though it would reverse the trend, Quick said the plan has a favorable chance of passing.

“It’s a good proposal because there are no losers. No matter what district you’re in, the plan would be positive change for education,” Quick said.

The plan, Heck said, would be in line with incoming legislators goals because it does not raise taxes on property owners.

Heck added that while the plan is being looked at favorably now, it will undoubtedly have its fair share of rewrites in the next legislative session.

Scott Walker’s office was not responsive to attempts at contact for this story.

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