Wisconsin school leaders blast Republican K-12 spending plan

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 8:44 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) - School advocates are complaining that the Republican-authored state budget doesn’t commit enough state aid to education even though the federal government is set to pump billions in coronavirus relief aid into Wisconsin districts.

The GOP-controlled budget committee gave schools $128 million more over the next two years.

The state needed to spend almost $400 million more than that to secure $2.3 billion in federal coronavirus relief money.

The committee last week cut property taxes levied by schools by $647 million and backfill the lost revenue with state aid.

School leaders from around the state are urged the Republican-controlled Legislature on Monday to do more, including a group advocating for public schools in northeast Wisconsin.

The group held a rally in downtown Appleton Monday evening.

One advocate with the group says the budget doesn’t provide enough funding for schools to account for inflation.

Advocates say the billions of dollars in federal relief for school districts will be needed to recover from the pandemic, but they will still need extra funding to operate like normal.

“The federal help is a short term thing, once it’s gone it is gone. Then we’ll need to operate and the Joint Finance Committee’s proposal is going to put us in bad shape in about a year,” said Jim Bowman, a member of the Fox Cities Advocates for Public Education.

The group is calling for help funding special education, mental health services and broadband.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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