State Education Budget – WJFW-TV

Photo by WJFW Newswatch 12

Story By Kyle Pozorski

Local News Published 07/01/2021 6:38PM

Wausau – A press conference of north-central Wisconsin Republicans was held today, in Wausau, to praise the Joint Finance Committee’s budget bill, which passed through both the Assembly and Senate this week. While Republicans are ecstatic about the bill, Democrats are a bit underwhelmed. Republicans say that the budget is historic for education spending.

Republican Mary Felzkowski, representing Wisconsin Senate district 12 (Northwoods), said “the average school across Wisconsin is going to get $2,900 per student, for example I think Antigo is at $2,400, Tomahawk is at $1,900.”

Democrat Governor, Tony Evers, had asked for an increase of $1.6 billion in education funding however, Republicans only came up with $128million. Felzkowski says that even so, the budget still provides additional funding for students in Wisconsin. “$600 (per student) is an amazing budget, we’re talking three times that money came down, and we have a budget in two years” said Felzkowski.

State Democrats are not as convinced that the funding will help school districts. Democrat representative Evan Goyke of Wisconsin’s 18th assembly district (Milwaukee area) spoke over a zoom video call. “Republicans in Madison have decided that they know better than locals, that they know better than you on what the level of spending your district needs.”

Goyke, amongst others are underwhelmed in the Republican budget considering the proposal set forth by Governor Evers. Goyke continued, “and what the Republicans passed in joint finance and then onto the budget is about 10% of what the governor had recommended. About 10% of the governor’s recommendation on dollars that can actually go into the classroom.”

The bill now goes to the governor’s desk, but he says that he has not made a decision on whether he will veto the bill or not. Speaking to media at a press conference near Green Bay, Evers said, “well as I said before there are some issues we want to see first before I make that, reach any conclusions about whether that’s the right way to do it or not.”

Felzkowski among other north-central Wisconsin Republicans also claim that if there was more money given to the school districts, they would not know what to do with it, leaving a surplus in education spending. The Governor is expected to use his line-in veto power to remove some of the wording in the budget, with the possibility of vetoing the entire bill which has not been done to a state budget since the 1930’s.