Scott Walker proposes 1% education aid increase

2013-02-17T11:15:00Z Scott Walker proposes 1% education aid increaseThe Associated Press The Associated Press
February 17, 2013 11:15 am  • 

Gov. Scott Walker will propose a modest increase in funding for Wisconsin public schools in his budget to the Legislature on Wednesday, two years after his steep cuts and all but elimination of collective bargaining for teachers sparked the unsuccessful movement to recall Walker from office.

Walker is also making incentive money available, which could be used as incentive payments for teachers based on how well schools perform on state report cards, Walker told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview.

Walker provided details of his education funding plan to the AP ahead of its public release Sunday. Not only will he put more money into K-12 schools in his two-year budget, Walker will increase funding for the University of Wisconsin System and technical colleges two years after their funding was also slashed.

The roughly 1 percent increase in aid to schools Walker is proposing comes after he cut aid by more than 8 percent in the first year of the last budget. Schools would get $129 million in aid under Walker's plan, but total K-12 funding would go up $276 million.

Walker will not lift the lid on revenue limits, which determine how much state aid and property tax income school districts can spend. Walker said he was concerned about moves that might cause property taxes to increase.

State Rep. Sondy Pope, the ranking Democrat on the Assembly's Education Committee, said Walker's proposal isn't enough.

At the rate of state aid funding for public schools, it would take 12 years to replace the money lost in the last budget, she said. Walker contends schools have been able to save money because the collective bargaining law also required teachers to contribute more toward their pension and health care benefits.

The nonpartisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance reported in November that those cuts in benefits and limiting union-negotiated raises to the rate of inflation offset about two-thirds of the reductions in school revenue in the 2011-2012 academic year.

Pope said the increase in aid Walker is proposing won't be enough to help schools struggling to make ends meet.

"These people are trying to starve Wisconsin public schools," she said.

Republican Sen. Luther Olsen, chairman of the Senate's Education Committee, said he was glad to see Walker putting more money into public education.

"It's a lot better than having to cut like we did in the last budget," he said. "It's not as much as I wanted but we're glad it's not negative or zero."

The Republican-controlled Legislature will review Walker's budget over the next four months and make changes before voting on it sometime in June. The two-year spending plan takes effect in July.

Walker's funding for schools includes $73 million more for voucher schools, $23 million for charter schools, and $21 million in grants for special needs students to receive a voucher to attend private schools. A proposal for those special needs vouchers passed the Assembly last session, despite broad opposition from the state Department of Public Instruction, disabilities rights groups, and the state school boards association. It did not pass the Senate.

Walker's plans for expanding the voucher system are highly anticipated but he did not immediately provide those details.

Funding for the UW System would go up $181 million under the budget, two years after it was cut $315 million. Technical college aid would increase $5 million.

UW spokesman David Giroux said the increased funding, coupled with the university being exempted from so-called lapses that could have resulted in $66 million in cuts, was "very positive."

"We want to create a stronger workforce for Wisconsin, and new taxpayer investments are essential to that effort," Giroux said. "It looks like we will have enough funding to preserve today's levels of college access and quality, along with new investments in UW programs focused on job creation. That's a smart investment."

Walker is making $64 million available in incentive payments for K-12 schools, tied to their grades on statewide report cards. Of that, $24 million would go to schools with an A or B grade, $30 million would go to schools that show a certain level of improvement on the report cards and $10 million would be available to the lowest performing districts for a one-time grant if they provide an acceptable improvement plan.

On average, that would equate to a roughly $1,000 per-teacher bonus in the highest performing and improving schools.

"Our goal with this is to provide an incentive every year for schools to be in those top two categories," Walker said. "I want things to be driven by performance."

The statewide teachers union, which was a prime driver in last year's effort to recall Walker, has steadfastly opposed such a plan and has instead called for greater investments in public education.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(32) Comments

  1. AllAmerican11B
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    AllAmerican11B - February 18, 2013 7:23 pm
    Mr. jthlmnn,
    As far as your last sentence, I DID a couple of searches in the limited time I had before I posted that and found absolutely nothing with actual numbers. Where is the source for the numbers?

    This is the only comment I've ever seen you post, did you come on here just to sling a bit-o-mud directly in my path? Why don't you read my other post in this thread that was posted roughly an hour before you posted your comment, it's not hard to find, use the scroll button on the right and go up. You want to sling some mud my way, do it towards my actual opinion and not a freaking question.
  2. jthlmnn
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    jthlmnn - February 18, 2013 2:53 pm
    2012 public school enrollment- 870,470. Voucher school enrollment in February 2012 - approximately 23, 200. Private schools are not automatically participants in the voucher program. The program is limited to a few specified districts and private schools with those areas must apply. Admission and continuation criteria are minimal. Voucher schools are not required to: 1) employ certified teachers; 2) accept students with Exceptional Educational Needs if significant adjustments to school programs or facilities are required; 3) have their students participate in state level testing programs. They also have the ability to select the students they will accept for the program. Finally, after the "3rd Friday" headcount is taken each semester, the voucher school may expel students (returning them to the public school system), yet keep the money that the state allocated to the voucher school those students. (Money stays where the the students aren't, and public schools face an unfunded higher expense.) I am surprised you couldn't find this on your own, that is, assuming you tried.
  3. AllAmerican11B
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    AllAmerican11B - February 18, 2013 1:41 pm
    When people have viable choices, it is rarely a bad idea.

    The ONLY problem I have with vouchers for alternate schools is if the people receiving the vouchers are getting back more from of the tax system than they paid into it the system to support public schools.
  4. AllAmerican11B
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    AllAmerican11B - February 18, 2013 1:20 pm
    "129 million for the state's publicly enrolled students and 117 million for the handful of students enrolled in voucher schools."

    Be honest with yourself, "handful" is a really lame way of describing a number.

    I don't know the numbers, can you provide the actual numbers for the following and a source?

    Students enrolled in Wisconsin public schools = ___________

    Students enrolled in Wisconsin non-public schools = ____________

    Also, are all non-public schools considered voucher schools? If not, is there a detailed list of criteria that defines what a voucher school is?
  5. buckthorn
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    buckthorn - February 18, 2013 12:47 pm

    Then perhaps you might care to explain how Walker could claim that the state budget is both balanced and in deficit (through 6/13)? The guy plays games with numbers, just as he does with the job numbers. But the larger point is Walker's demented priorities in the supposed service of budget tightening, and his drive to dismantle and weaken the public sector wherever he can. Kind of funny, when you think of it, since Walker has made his career in government. Now, I will grant you the point about State budgets (although there is more room for fudging than you imply), but I will stick to my position regarding austerity in general.
  6. 196ski
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    196ski - February 18, 2013 9:12 am
    buckthorn, there is no option on austerity when you have to balance the budget as the State does. This is the money we have, this is what we can spend. Raising taxes in a closed loop like the State just redistributes dollars. Europe got into the mess they are in because they spent themselves into the poor house. In most of Europe the austerity measures haven't even started yet. Because they are part of the European Union they are unable to just print currency as we can in the US. That printing however comes with a price tag. The middle class has lost 3K in real income during the last 4 years due to the devaluation of the dollar through quantitative easing.
  7. buckthorn
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    buckthorn - February 18, 2013 8:57 am
    "Fiscal responsibility" as in, say, Walker's shiny new Economic Development Corporation? Another proud moment for the people who prefer right-wing fairy tales to facts. Believe in any mythology you want, but austerity during a recession is just about the worst thing you can do. Western Europe is a case in point.
  8. firefightn15
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    firefightn15 - February 18, 2013 5:06 am
    The difference being in your definition of progressive....I just love how loosely the term is used. A liberals idea of progressiveness is tax, borrow, and spend; when done repeat....only that cant sustain. It sounds like Obama's idea of cutting expenses....for every billion of increase his cronies find a couple of million in cuts and call that fiscal responsibility. Wisconsin took control of the purse strings because Doyle left the handbag open and this has nothing to do with wanting to harm education, it has everything to do with unfettered spending because the education system developed a hunger for the easy money.

    True fiscal responsibility must really stick in the craw of the liberal progressive!

  9. 196ski
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    196ski - February 17, 2013 10:29 pm
    Sorry JackJoe, I already know how much support teachers get. The parents that are involved have children that do well in school. The parents who are not involved have students that perform poorly. As I alluded to, go back and reread, the problem is not the education system, this is a societal problem. Parents who either don't understand their obligation to raise and educate their children or don't care. Either way too many of our children are not being educated to the point they can function in our society.

    As for the derogatory comments, they reflect on your character and not mine.
  10. JackJoe
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    JackJoe - February 17, 2013 10:00 pm
    Well, why don't you stay home and teach your own kids then, and maybe Scotty and the boys would give you enough vouchers to pay your rent and grub?

    We spend more money for teachers than India because our teachers can't commute from India.

    Why don't you ask a teacher just how much support they get from parents these days, including you the way you sound?
  11. 196ski
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    196ski - February 17, 2013 8:28 pm
    "There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent" - Gandhi.

    No country spends more on education than we do, over twice the average of OECD countries that are beating us in education results. The answer is not money, it is a societal problem.
  12. 196ski
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    196ski - February 17, 2013 8:24 pm
    "Fire Walker and all republicans next year."

    Elect Democrats and significantly raise taxes so that public service employees can get raises and Medicaid benefits can be extended.
    Walker has no control over import tariffs on paper. That is an Obama Administration issue and he has shown no inclination to do so. Ironically Romney ran on that very proposal. I guess the mandate we gave Obama means we are not interested in the dumping of foreign government subsidized products like paper and steel.
  13. pmbalele
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    pmbalele - February 17, 2013 8:13 pm
    I have told Wisconsinites to fire Walker next year, but they don't listen to me. Walker with his friends CEOs are in collusion to import paper from China without tariff. Then they sell paper to local people on welfare, laugh at them as BIT loaders. Does Walker care if you have a job? No. If he loses election next year, he has been promised a job with Koch Brother, his brothers from another mother. These people are ruthless – don’t have a soul. Remember last week what Walker said. He was going to scale down Badger Care and Medicaid. He does not want poor people and especially Blacks in this state. There you go. Fire Walker and all republicans next year.
  14. sebastian111
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    sebastian111 - February 17, 2013 7:41 pm
    Walker, you are shameful! I guess the people who voted for Walker "twice" are OK with packed classrooms, closed schools and a loss of quality teachers. Right wingers claim that public education is "failing"; well it is only after all of draconian educational cuts such as these, that it will fail. Our school system used to be one of the best in the country, not anymore. This hurts our kids and our communities. I expected so much better from Wisconsin.
  15. Honestly
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    Honestly - February 17, 2013 7:01 pm
    Why would a person add funding for something he never saw important. Only giving money to top schools will just widen the gap and who in their right mind that has skills will go into education. Sometimes the obvious is the least understood.
  16. irisK
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    irisK - February 17, 2013 6:22 pm
    Scott Walker believes that teachers and public employees get paid too much, and have benefits that are lavish. His businessmen buddies complained that it is impossible to afford to hire people because of that. So, the schools have to keep cutting salaries and benefits in order to make up for the cuts. Calling teachers greedy and accusing them of not caring about the kids is part of that plan.
  17. pikerover
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    pikerover - February 17, 2013 6:02 pm
    How much is that per student
  18. array1
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    array1 - February 17, 2013 4:35 pm
    Please feel free to disregard walleys drivel. The rest of us do.
  19. Walleyemaniac
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    Walleyemaniac - February 17, 2013 3:43 pm
    Wrong in the eyes of progressives!Which by the way is a mental illness that has no cure.
  20. canthisbeso
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    canthisbeso - February 17, 2013 1:59 pm
    Not living on the "island" I can't speak for Madison. Wisconsin has always been a progressive State. Having heard time and again that Wisconsin would never vote for the progressive Tammy Baldwin--guess what happened--we did. Schools are what has made this State great. Not funding them properly--for every child while giving money to big business and roads is not only a shame but completly wrong.
  21. B223
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    B223 - February 17, 2013 1:58 pm
    Wow! All that money going to voucher schools that don't have the accountability of public schools. Some probably are quite good; others not so much, but we'll never know because they aren't held to the same standards as public schools. Talk about throwing your money into the wind!
  22. lute
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    lute - February 17, 2013 1:02 pm
    Wouldn't it make more sense to give the funding to the schools that scored low on the "report cards"?

    The whole thing is such a con game anyway- education has suffered huge, punitive cuts under Walker while his real constituents have been well rewarded (road builders, privatization interests, etc). Talk about a redistribution of wealth!
  23. Mr Mellow
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    Mr Mellow - February 17, 2013 12:07 pm
    A one percent solution from our gubernatorial shill for the One Percent.
  24. Walleyemaniac
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    Walleyemaniac - February 17, 2013 12:04 pm
    Wisconsin is about as progressive as Mississippi!Madison is a progressive city!Dont you dare try to campare Madison to the rest of the state.The state that voted in the right Govoner not once but twice!Get off your island and go have a look around!
  25. bro
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    bro - February 17, 2013 11:41 am
    If Walker's goal in education were to destroy rural Wisconsin schools, he has devised the perfect plan to do so. Now Luther Olsen is glad to see a 1% increase and they had to make the big cuts???? Olsen represents many small rural schools which are falling apart, yet he's glad?Strange how someone who used to be known for sticking up for rural Wisconsin has now become a puppet to the governor. What did you sell your soul for Mr. Olsen?
    People in rural Wisconsin need to wakeup and reallize what these fools are trying to do to Wisconsin. Its all bought and paid for by out of state interest money.
  26. canthisbeso
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    canthisbeso - February 17, 2013 11:03 am
    Mr. Walker again wants it both ways--jobs, jobs, jobs. Lest we forget in order to maintain and add jobs we need an educated work force. How many times I have heard Mr. Walker tout the need for technical education, post high school education etc. Yet he will not put OUR money where his mouth is. A progressive State needs a progressive govenor. We certainly do not have one.
  27. Tricolor Dog
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    Tricolor Dog - February 17, 2013 10:46 am
    1% increase is embarrassing on it's face. Tax cuts to corporations in the billions and a paltry 1% increase in the means to drive our economy back from the brink of third world status....I'd have just done it and kept my mouth shut. Why give people any more reason to hate you than they already do?
  28. spooky tooth
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    spooky tooth - February 17, 2013 10:24 am
    Small towns will be hit hardest without public schools. Nobody will be staying or moving to small towns without public education. Maybe with the combined republican attack on women and ending public education it will be enough for rural red moms to turn blue.
  29. PatrickL
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    PatrickL - February 17, 2013 10:23 am
    The devil is always in the details and Gov. Walker's K-12 and Technical College budget is going to drag public education in Wisconsin through hell once again. The majority of schools will face a tough road with cuts to programs and staff. Districts all over Wisconsin will have no choice but to reduce benefits for staff or lay them off. Certainly there are schools in urban areas that will receive additional funding, but many of those schools already have the resources available. Small town schools that are struggling to stay afloat, will receive next to nothing in additional aid. Plus, what an insult to the Technical College system. We had one of the best in the country and they are to receive a paltry $5 million dollars extra. They are the first line in providing training and re-training for workers all over Wisconsin. But instead they are being downgraded. In the first year of his administration, business leaders asked him to restore funding for the tech. college system. He has ignored their pleas again. It is painfully clear that concrete is much more important than education in our state.
  30. dAnconia
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    dAnconia - February 17, 2013 9:10 am
    No voucher schools in our small town and a school district budget short fall that Act 10 didn't fix. Can't raise property taxes so district is putting 28 kids in many classes and deferring maintenance on all buildings. It was better before funding cuts.
  31. Fartinthewind
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    Fartinthewind - February 17, 2013 9:04 am
    129 million for the state's publicly enrolled students and 117 million for the handful of students enrolled in voucher schools.
  32. spooky tooth
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    spooky tooth - February 17, 2013 8:30 am
    If you want to see the end of your public schools keep supporting Walker and his out of state big investors trying to finish them off.

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