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Below are four views on the Governor’s new proposed budget:
WEAC Statement on Governor Walker’s 2013-15 Budget Address
The following statement can be attributed to Mary Bell, president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council:
“Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker used his 2013-15 budget address to spin phrases designed to create an illusion that his plans for education are in the best interest of citizens. Parents, teachers, education support professionals, school board members and administrators see past the lip-service and recognize that flat-lining public school funding while at the same time expanding taxpayer funding for private schools will harm neighborhood public schools.
“Wisconsin children deserve an education budget that doesn’t hand out taxpayer dollars to unaccountable private vouchers. Neighborhood public schools need adequate per-pupil funding that acknowledges a cost-of-living increase. If our governor won’t stand strong for public schools, it’s up to state legislators to get the job done.”
Americans for Prosperity Foundation-WI and MacIver Institute: It’s Still Working!
MADISON – Americans for Prosperity Foundation-Wisconsin State Director Luke Hilgemann and John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy President Brett Healy released the following statement on the 2-year anniversary of Act 10 being introduced to the public.
“Two years ago, it seemed like it was going to be impossible to bridge the gap of irresponsible spending and state deficits,” said Hilgemann. “It was going to take significant leadership from the Governor and the Legislature to eliminate a $3.6 billion deficit and then there was the announcement of the bill that would become Act 10 and we had the answer. It was a bold and responsible reform that has been an unmitigated success for Wisconsin taxpayers and an example for the rest of the country.”
Special Session Assembly Bill 11 was announced to the public on February 11th and would be officially introduced on February 15th. The bill was eventually signed into law by Governor Walker on March 11th as Act 10.
“It’s working, pure and simple,” said Healy. “In October, we announced that the savings to state and local governments has topped $2 billion and the total continues to grow. Act 10 gave government at all levels the tools they need to rein in costs while continuing to provide the same level of service. While states like Illinois are increasing taxes, laying off teachers and cutting services, Wisconsin continues to be an example of how to budget responsibly.
AFPF and MacIver joined forces in 2011 to create the “It’s Working” project. The effort educated the public on the benefits of Act 10 through a series of town halls, social media and paid advertising.
Wisconsin teacher guest editorial: We have the
opportunity to reinvest in Wisconsin’s public schools
By Amy Traynor
We are in a time of great change for our public schools. We are adopting new standards, implementing new testing and accountability initiatives, and implementing all kinds of other reforms. At the same time, districts across the state are having to ask voters for more resources through referendums because of state and other funding cuts. Like educators across the state, I keep asking myself the question: What’s going to give first?
In my own classroom, continued budget cuts have caused staff reductions – resulting in higher class sizes and fewer chances for one-on-one instruction. I am teaching more students, and in some of my classes as many as a third of the students are identified as having special needs. These are children who benefit most from individual attention and instruction, and teachers used to be able to count on consistent help from classroom aides and support staff. Yet with budget cuts, that support isn’t always there.
My school has put an emphasis on staff collaboration, allowing us to coordinate on students’ unique challenges and skills. This is a critical part of instruction, where all the pieces of what we do in the classroom are put together not only by educators but also the students. They see how math is connected to English and to science. It allows educators to broaden our instruction beyond just one subject and to incorporate everything that a student is going through. But with all of us taking on more students and more courses, I’m concerned that collaboration might be targeted for cuts.
Fortunately, we have a solution. We have the opportunity to re-invest in Wisconsin’s public schools, support educators, and work collaboratively to build strong community connections. Currently, the state is projecting $1.3 billion in surplus revenue over the next two-year budget cycle. The governor and the Legislature should stand up for students and invest some of those funds in our public schools.
The last biennial state budget dramatically altered Wisconsin’s school funding landscape. Statewide funding dropped an average of $560 per student. What public schools need now is the restoration of per-pupil funding that allows them to at least cover basic inflationary costs. Please urge your legislators to support the $225 per-pupil increase requested by State Superintendent Tony Evers next school year. Coupled with an increased state investment, the proposed modest increase in student revenue will hold the line on property taxes.
Most important of all, Wisconsin students will benefit because public schools will be better positioned to provide them the full set of opportunities they need to succeed. History shows that there is no better strategy to promote economic development than to ensure that all children have the opportunities they need to grow and prosper.
A student is not just a number. Parents tell us they want opportunities for children and a well-rounded education for all students – and the upcoming state budget is a great place to make public education a priority.
Amy Traynor, Wisconsin’s Middle School Teacher of the Year, is a mathematics teacher at DeLong Middle School in the Eau Claire Area School District.
Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin: Walker budget would help WI remain a national leader
MADISON — Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin State Director Luke Hilgemann issued the following statement following Governor Walker’s Budget Address:
“I am pleased to see that Governor Walker is taking the opportunity to build on the budget reforms of 2011,” said Hilgemann. “The tough choices that were made last session have led to many of the bold policy reforms that have been proposed. Specifically, the expansion of school choice and a statewide income tax cut are two proposals that will put Wisconsin on the path to prosperity.”
“We look forward to engaging our 125,000 member activists in the budget process and encouraging the Governor and Legislature to push for bold reforms. By staying true to the principles of economic freedom, limited government and lower taxes, Wisconsin will remain a national leader.”