Janet Bewley
Press Release

More For Millionaires, Less For Our Schools

“My Republican colleagues’ budget priorities are out of whack.”

By - Aug 15th, 2016 11:52 am

A memo from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau confirms that the three recent Republican budgets have funneled hundreds of millions more to millionaires and unaccountable voucher schools while cutting general aid to over 75% of the school districts in the state.

The breakdown by school district shows that less than a quarter of districts have seen an increase in general aid, the most effective tool for supporting public schools while directly reducing the burden on local property taxpayers. Overall, general aid statewide fell 4.3% by the 2015-16 school year compared to 2010-11, leaving property taxpayers to make up the difference.

“My Republican colleagues’ budget priorities are out of whack. They gave $209 million a year to a wealthy few, claiming it would spur the economy.  The truth is that we created fewer jobs in the 3 years after we enacted that tax giveaway than we did in the three years before. Unaccountable voucher school operators were rewarded with over $200 million more, right out of taxpayer pockets,” said Bewley. “At the same time, our classrooms have been cut by $197 million.”

Bewley pointed out that data from the Department of Public Instruction shows that Wisconsin has lost 2,867 public school teachers and seen a 12.7% decrease in local experience in our student’s classrooms over the same period. “The 25th Senate District alone, with 36 of 40 school districts getting less general aid back under the Walker Administration, has lost 193 teachers,” Bewley said. “It’s time to stop favoring millionaires and voucher operators.  Time we starting taking care of our public school students and looking out for middle class property tax payers.”

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Bewley noted that even including categorical aids, public schools will likely see virtually no biennial increase compared to the recession-era budget of 2009-10.

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