Walker proposed $13.7 billion in total state support for public schools for the 2017-19 biennium. That includes about $2.2 billion in property tax credits that are counted as K-12 funding, but don’t go directly into the classroom.
Walker’s campaign spokesman Brian Reisinger touched on the record amount in a Saturday statement:
“Scott Walker made record actual-dollar investments in our schools, the most in state history in what Tony Evers himself called a pro-kid budget,” Reisinger said. “He will continue to make historic investments in schools without raising taxes on hard-working families and seniors to do it.”
Evers’ spokesman Sam Lau referred questions to DPI’s McCarthy.
McCarthy said in an interview Saturday that the last time school finance was overhauled in Wisconsin this way was for the 1995-97 budget cycle when the state added $1.37 billion.
Evers’ request for $15.4 billion in state support for K-12 schools in 2019-21, up 12.3 percent from the $13.7 billion distributed to school districts in the 2017-19 cycle, is similar to what the Legislature agreed to more than two decades ago, McCarthy said.
Britt Cudaback, spokeswoman for the Evers campaign, did not say how Evers would pay for the increase if elected governor, but indicated he would make education funding a priority.
“Budgets are about priorities. If we can find $4.5 billion for a foreign corporation, we can make the investments needed in our students,” Cudaback said, referring to incentives passed for Foxconn to build $10 billion worth of facilities in Wisconsin. “Tony’s priority is to fully fund our schools which can be done without increasing property taxes or forcing over a million taxpayers to go to referenda to pick up the tab. Tony is prepared to make tough decisions as governor and will do whatever is necessary to ensure we’re doing what’s best for our kids.”
Walker, a Republican, and Evers, the only Democrat leading a major state agency, have been at odds for years over how much funding to provide schools and where to spend it.
In the current state budget, Walker adopted much of Evers’ budget request, which included $649 million in new funding — a plan similar to requests that had been rejected by Walker previously.
Walker spokesman Brian Reisinger didn’t release details of the governor’s plans for school spending in the 2019-’21 state budget, but signaled that he also would continue to make K-12 education spending a priority.
“Scott Walker made record actual-dollar investments in our schools, the most in state history, in what Tony Evers himself called a ‘pro-kid budget,’ ” Reisinger said, referring to Evers’ remarks when the current budget was passed. “He will continue to make historic investments in schools without raising taxes on hard-working families and seniors to do it.”
The amounts noted above exclude substantial local taxpayer property taxes, redistributed federal taxpayer dollars and various grants.
Unfortunately, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), lead for years by Mr. Evers, has killed our one (!) attempt to follow Massachusetts’ successful teacher content knowledge requirement(s) – MTEL.
The DPI has granted thousands of annual waivers for the elementary teacher reading content knowledge exam: Foundations of Reading.
An emphasis on adult employment (2009).