School Funding and the Pandemic: How Much Money Is Enough?

Libby Sobic and Will Flanders:

Without fail, each state budget cycle always results in cries from the public school establishment that “we need more money in public schools!” Governor Evers continues this status quo assertion with his 2021-23 budget proposal for massive increases in spending for K12 education (about $1.7 billion). These declarations are often made without regard to the research showing that more money does not improve student proficiency.  But as taxpayers in a state with low reading proficiency statewide, the largest racial achievement gap for minority students nationwide and immense learning disruption after the pandemic, Wisconsinites must expect local school districts to be smart about their investment of taxpayer dollars.

As the Joint Finance Committee debates Wisconsin’s education budget this week, the following will provide clarity around the state and local funds and federal stimulus funds flooding into the state.

K-12 Funding Pre-Pandemic 

Wisconsin invests in our K-12 schools by creating options for families. On average, Wisconsin school districts average revenue (of local, state and federal funding) per student was $14,737 in 2019-2020.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.