Educators cautiously optimistic about proposed increase in Wisconsin K-12 funding

Leaders of area school districts are happy about the possibility of increased state funding for K-12 education.

Gov. Scott Walker teased his budget proposal on Monday with details on what he would like to see for K-12 education, including $649 million in new state funding, a record level. The $11.5 billion education budget will be part of the complete budget proposal Walker is set to unveil Wednesday.

“We’re all sort of cautiously optimistic,” Cashton School District Administrator David Bell said. “Things are moving forward in a positive way.”

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After earlier cuts, Scott Walker proposes spending boost for schools

Six years after engineering massive cuts to public schools, Gov. Scott Walker will propose a record level of K-12 education funding in his upcoming budget proposal.

In total, Walker would send $11.5 billion to public, charter and private voucher schools in the two years starting July 1, including $649 million in new spending. The governor will introduce his 2017-19 state budget plan Wednesday.

Evers praised Walker’s proposal, describing the plan as a “pro-kid budget” and “an important step forward.”

“Overall, his definition of ‘significant’ and mine are really close,” said Evers, who added that Walker’s proposals hit upon the same priorities his budget request sought.

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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker proposes $649 million more for state schools

MADISON - Two years after Gov. Scott Walker proposed cutting K-12 funding, he is moving sharply in the opposite direction, proposing a half-billion dollar bump in broad state school aid — enough for $200 per pupil increases in each of the next two years.

In his budget request, Evers asked for $58 million more in total funding and $6 million more in district teaching aid than Walker proposed. Still, Evers called Walker's plan "a great starting place."

"It's on the right trajectory," Evers said. "It's a large overall increase and it hit some real sweet spots. I can be supportive of it, and we'll advocate for some little tweaks here and there."

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Tony Evers, CCSSO and the Aspen Institute Release Commitments for Advancing Educational Equity in States

"Across the nation, kids of color, kids with disabilities, those learning English, and those from economic disadvantage face challenges that their peers do not. And unfortunately, some of those challenges are a result of policies and practices we have influence or control over. As leaders of state education agencies, we have a moral imperative to help remove any barriers that stand in the way of a student's success," said Tony Evers, Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction and Past President of the CCSSO Board of Directors. "I am confident that the resources we have developed will help education leaders achieve that goal. I am proud of the work my fellow state chiefs have poured into this issue and would like to thank both CCSSO and the Aspen Institute Education and & Program for their assistance. My hope is that we can capitalize on the momentum we have built to close opportunity gaps for all kids."

Read the full release here


Superintendent blasts challenger's school takeover plan

State superintendent candidate John Humphries wants schools that persistently do not meet state standards to be converted into private voucher or charter schools, or a new model of public school or some other governance model.

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Top 13 percent of earners receiving two-thirds of private school tax benefit

Tax filers making more than $100,000 a year are claiming two-thirds of a private school tuition tax cut enacted four years ago, according to data from the Department of Revenue.

“If indeed a whole bunch of people in Wisconsin think they need to go to referendum in order to offer the education kids need, that tells me the state isn’t meeting its obligation,” Evers said. “If the state is not meeting its obligation to schools, then how can we afford to subsidize private education for above-average income people?”

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Tony Evers seeks $5.5 million to help rural schools keep teachers

The state’s chief of schools is asking Gov. Scott Walker and Republican lawmakers to send millions to rural schools so they can keep their teachers.

As part of State Superintendent Tony Evers’ $13.6 billion request for the 2017-19 biennium, Evers would direct $5.5 million in the 2018-19 school year to provide schools in rural areas with money to give their teachers retention grants, or $750 per full-time teacher.

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Republican lawmakers differ on state superintendent race

Republican state lawmakers who head committees charged with overseeing education policy in Wisconsin disagree on who should be the next state superintendent.

Two challengers to Superintendent Tony Evers have garnered support from conservatives as they try to unseat Evers, who is backed by Democrats and teacher unions. The race is officially nonpartisan, but support in Evers’ past two runs has largely broken down along party lines.

That makes it all the more surprising that Republican Sen. Luther Olsen, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, is backing Evers and not challengers John Humphries or Lowell Holtz.

“I just am not sure we need a change,” Olsen told The Associated Press in an interview this week. “I don’t see a need.”

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Tony Evers shows statewide support heading into 2017

Today we filed our campaign finance report, and reported 117k cash on hand as of 12/31/2016.  Opponents posted 16k and 2k respectively.  

“We are extremely pleased with the level and amount of support we have received in the few short weeks we have stepped up our re-election campaign fundraising,” campaign manager, Amanda Brink said, “Tony’s donors span from Three Lakes to Janesville and Oconomowoc to Chippewa Falls. This is further proof of Wisconsinites commitment to public education.”

Read the full story here.

 


Candidates for state superintendent meet in first forum

State superintendent Tony Evers and candidates seeking to unseat him debated on Sunday the use of public money for private schools, how to increase interest in teaching, and school funding levels in the candidates’ first forum.

Overall on school funding, Evers said that the state is not spending enough on schools and that more funding should be sent to schools with higher numbers of students in foster care, students living in poverty and students who don’t speak English as a first language.

Read the full article from the Journal Times here