Gov. Scott Walker
Op Ed

Why My Budget Hikes K-12 Spending

I believe giving every child access to a great education is a moral imperative.

By - Mar 31st, 2017 11:41 am
Gov. Scott Walker. Photo from the State of Wisconsin.

Gov. Scott Walker. Photo from the State of Wisconsin.

Our state budget invests more into K-12 education than ever before in Wisconsin.

In total, the budget I submitted to the state Legislature in February includes $11.5 billion for K-12 education, and because of our reforms, these dollars will overwhelmingly go into the classroom to help improve student success.

We provide $200 per student in the first year, and another $204 per student in the second year, for every school district in the state. This represents an increase of $649 million for all K-12 schools. Plus, we increase support for rural schools so the high costs of things like transportation don’t take away from their ability to provide a great education.

On top of that, our budget increases funding for access to technology in our schools, and we seek to expand broadband to every part of the state. We also increase support for early college credit programs that give our students a head start on a technical college degree or an undergraduate degree at a college or university.

The Wisconsin Association of School Boards recently put out an alert to its members to support my state budget proposal and to encourage members of the state Legislature to support the plan, too. The school board leaders are concerned that some lawmakers might want to cut back on our historic levels of funding for K-12 education.

If you support our schools in Wisconsin, I ask that you contact your local lawmaker and encourage her or him to support the increases for K-12 education included in my budget plan.

As the father of two sons who graduated from public schools, and the uncle of two nieces who are still in public schools, I believe that providing every child with access to a great education is a moral imperative. And as Governor, I also believe that it is an economic imperative.

Improving student success will help us build an even stronger workforce.

New numbers show that the labor force in Wisconsin is the largest it has ever been, and the current unemployment rate of 3.7% is the lowest since November of 2000 (when Tommy Thompson was still Governor and Bill Clinton was still President). Overall, the percentage of people working (68.3%) is one of the best in the country and 5.3 points higher than the national rate.

Now, more than ever, we need to invest in ways to build our workforce:

  • More money into K-12 than ever before.
  • More money into our technical college system than ever before.
  • Over $100 million more into our University of Wisconsin System.
  • Increased funding for customized worker training.

These are all ways to fill our workforce needs for the future.

We are also pushing a new program called Wisconsin Works for Everyone that will help people transition from government dependence to true independence through the dignity of hard work. We will help our neighbor when they are down and out, but public assistance should be more like a trampoline than a hammock.

Each of these ideas will help us fill our workforce needs for the foreseeable future. Now, we need the members of the state Legislature to approve these priorities in our next state budget.

The people of Wisconsin want their state government to invest in student success and in building a strong workforce. This is what I heard at our listening sessions across the state. I will fight for our historic investments in K-12 education and worker training.

Categories: Op-Ed, Politics

12 thoughts on “Op Ed: Why My Budget Hikes K-12 Spending”

  1. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Fine, we are going to invest more money into education. Then what will be our dividends? Since 1970 we have invested ten times more money for far fewer students and scores are down. In 12 districts kids cannot even red. Aren Duncan casein to Milwaukee and told eh Left/Barrett that MPS was National Disgrace. Bruce Murphy, Dan Bice, Ernst Franken didn’t care, none of people on this site cared, nothing happened.
    All this extra money will do nothing, but give nice fat raises to the Educrats, taxpayers and kids will get nothing.
    Fact is that the Milwaukee cartel cares about kids, only money bennies and power.

  2. Donald George MacDonald says:

    Many people in power conspire to oppress our rights and spirits as individuals in order to enforce their dim and dark version of social order.

  3. Dudemeister says:

    I somehow don’t think that WCD realized this article was opined by the Governor himself.

  4. Tony B. says:

    “In 12 districts kids cannot even red”? “Fact is that the Milwaukee cartel cares about kids, only money bennies and power”?

    You’d have an once of credibility if you took a minute and proof read your comments.

    If you have a problem with the money going into education maybe you should become a teacher and see just how hard they work for the money. I see my daughters teacher working very long hours and put up with a lot of BS. I honestly think she deserves a raise.

  5. PT says:

    Walker’s 2017 Budget Forces School Districts to Slash Teacher Pay to Qualify for Increased Aid
     Governor Walker and his Republican legislative buddies just can’t stop attacking Wisconsin teachers.
    Walker’s 2017-19 budget will force school districts to Slash teacher pay by up to 5% in each of the next 2 years in order to qualify for increased school aid. Republican legislators confirm that the intent of the Republican controlled Legislature is to “make sure that not one dollar of the increased school aid will go towards teacher pay”. 
    Under the budget proposal, Walker would force school districts to require teachers to pay at least 12% of their health insurance premiums in order to qualify for increased school aid. This proposal comes after massive pay cuts since Governor Walker’s Act 10 that has reduced the take home pay of the average Wisconsin teacher by over $13,000 since 2011. 
    The latest cuts will disproportionately impact the newest (and lowest paid) teachers as health insurance premium increases make up a larger portion of pay for these teachers.  
    If you are a new teacher, there has never been a better time to FLEE Walker’s Wisconsin.  You will earn DOUBLE or TRIPLE over your career when you leave Wisconsin.  
    Scott Walker will NEVER stop hurting Wisconsin teachers. Minnesota is looking for great teachers just like you.
    Love Teaching. Leave Walker’s Wisconsin.

  6. David Ciepluch says:

    Walker has removed billions from K-university education and public worker wages and shifted that wealth in tax breaks to his benefactors, and political payoffs in his WEDC pay to play scam.

    This has been the standard operating procedure for Walker throughout his political career. Gut budgets, and hope the entre roof does not cave in before he moves on to his next disaster. Just like he left the Milwaukee pension a mess, an outdated electrical system in the Courthouse that started a fire and caused millions in damage, and falling facades on a parking structure that killed a citizen – examples of his demolition by neglect and budget cutting. All part of the “starve the beast” strategy.

    And Walker throws out a few nickels to give the media some material that he might actually have an ounce of decency and ethical standards. Walker is a true con-artist, but pales in comparison to the Republican President and his expertise in snake oil sales and graft taking.

  7. Deb Strzelecki says:

    Puhleez! Walker thinks we’ve forgotten Act 10 and the education funds he gutted in the early years of his tenure as governor. Now that he’s looking to run again in 2018, he “increases” the education budget and he’s Mr. Good Guy. I’d say good riddance if he would’ve gotten a job in the Trump administration, but then look who’s lieutenant governor.
    Wisconsin, we can do way better in 2018.

  8. Thomas says:

    Walker’s bill distributes aid *per pupil*, not according to the equalization formula that gives property-poor districts more aid than rich districts. Rich and poor would get the same dollar amount per pupil.

  9. Thomas says:

    Walker’s proposal bypasses the equalization formula which aids poorer districts more strongly than rich districts. Rich and poor would receive the same amount per student under this proposal.

  10. WashCoRepub says:

    Dems are so confident of their victory over Governor Walker, they’re all just lining up to run against him! It’s an embarrassment of political talent.


  11. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    Why is Scotty saying he’ll raise spending on K-12?

    1. Cutting public schools has failed, and polls badly. This is Scotty’s way of admitting “I screwed up.”

    2. He’s relying on you getting amnesia on the first 6 years of failed austerity…and the cuts that will resume if this state is dumb enough not to FIRE THIS BUM in 2018.

    3. There won’t be enough money available to fund this, but Scotty’s relying on letting the Legislature do the real work of figuring it out.

    4. And as others mention, this is set up to benefit richer schools in growing communities. And the full $649 mil doesnt even exist, but partly relies on “savings” from self-insurance that won’t likely happen

  12. Vincent Hanna says:

    WashCoRepub is a tool who does nothing here other than bash Milwaukee and carry water for Walker, but even a blind squirrel gets a nut every once in a while. Dana Wachs is the best the Democrats can do? He might be a nice guy and a good representative, but he’ll get killed in a statewide election. And the Democrats learned nothing from Mary Burke as they were courting another rich businessperson to run. The Dems are a joke.

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