La La Land Congress Wants To Give Billions To Public Schools To Stay Closed

Joy Pullman:

When schools shut down this spring, Congress sent them $31 billion — nearly half its annual schools outlay — for sanitation and online learning, even though students weren’t in schools to theoretically contaminate them and online learning barely happened for millions of children. The vast majority of this money has not even reached schools yet.

Nevertheless, the Wall Street Journal reportsthat education special interests are demanding, through their Democrat representatives, nearly half a trillion in additional deficit spending for the fall without requiring schools to operate. Yes, you read that right: Democrats want nearly $430 billion extra to put kids in the equivalent of Khan Academy online math lessons. Did I mention that Khan Academy is free? And that the ask to duplicate it is 600 percent more than annualfederal spending on K-12?

“There is absolutely no way that federal funds included in the next COVID relief package…will reach schools in time to open in August and September,” notes Inez Feltscher. “Due to bureaucratic inertia and the requisite multiple rounds of paperwork, new federal COVID-response funds are unlikely to reach schools before 2021.”

Even though schools haven’t spent a fraction of their existing coronavirus loot, Republicans are also on board with larding on more. They merely want to inflate federal K-12 spending by 150 percent, $105 billion. In case you were concerned that Congress isn’t spending the next generation’s money fast enough while neglecting to ensure schools prepare the nation’s young to gratefully contribute to their country, WSJ reports neither side will even require schools to operate to have their federal funds increased by several magnitudes:

Costs continue to grow for local, state and federal taxpayers in the K-12 space, as well:

Let’s compare: Middleton and Madison Property taxes:

Madison property taxes are 22% more than Middleton’s for a comparable home, based on this comparison of 2017 sales.

Fall 2020 Administration Referendum slides.

(Note: “Madison spends just 1% of its budget on maintenance while Milwaukee, with far more students, spends 2%” – Madison’s CFO at a fall 2019 referendum presentation.)

MMSD Budget Facts: from 2014-15 to 2020-21 [July, 2020]

Property taxes up 37% from 2012 – 2021.

MMSD Budget Facts: from 2014-15 to 2020-21
1. 4K-12 enrollment: -1.6% (decrease) from 2014-15 to projected 2020-21
2. Total district staffing FTE: -2.9% (decrease) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21
3. Total expenditures (excluding construction fund): +15.9% +17.0% (increase) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21
4. Total expenditures per pupil: +17.8% +19.0%(increase) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21
5. CPI change: +10.0% (increase) from January 2014 to January 2020
6. Bond rating (Moody’s): two downgrades (from Aaa to Aa2) from 2014 to 2020
1. DPI WISEdash for 2014-15 enrollment; district budget book for projected 2020-21 enrollment
2. & 3.: District budget books
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics (

– via a kind reader (July 9, 2020 update).