As the state budget stalemate continues, Wisconsin lawmakers seem to agree on a big increase in state public school aid for the next two years.
The biggest portion of funding for schools comes from state aid, which some argue has decreased in recent years, leading to many districts voting on operational referendums to find additional funding.
Elsewhere, assembly Republicans unveiled their education package for the new budget, and while State Representative Gary Tauchen believes their proposal will help every district in the state, he expects a compromise will be needed to finalize the budget.
“The proposal that we had helps every school district in the state and provides more money to the classrooms over the governor’s proposal,” Tauchen said on the WTCH Breakfast Club. “This is one of the areas that is still not completed, so there’s going to be some compromise as we move forward with the education budget I’m sure.”
Governor Walker’s proposal would increase per pupil funding from $240 to $654 over the next biennium, but concerns are that rural schools could lose out on $20 million in sparsity aid, which covers the higher costs of rural districts.
Tauchen says the assembly is trying to ensure state aid is received by districts who spend within their means.
“What we’re trying to do is target state aid to the lowest spending districts and over the course of time, the gap between the lowest spending and the highest spending districts has really spread,” he explained.
Right now, the senate package would include $740 million more in general state aid to Wisconsin schools, less than what Governor Scott Walker wanted but more than what state Superintendent Tony Evers sought.