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Governor Evers: Budget Surplus Plan – Tell Your Story

By John Forester | February 10, 2020

SAA members might recall that at the conclusion of the Joint Finance Committee’s work on K-12 education in the 2019-21 State Budget, we thanked the JFC for providing $500 million in support for Wisconsin school children.  We also pointed out that Wisconsin has a lot of work to do to strengthen the educational opportunities afforded all Wisconsin school children – no matter their zip code or their educational needs.

Governor Evers’ $251 million plan to boost funding for special education and school-based mental health, and provide property tax relief through equalization aid, is a significant step forward in this regard.  As you know, Governor Evers has called on the Legislature to take up his proposal in special session tomorrow, February 11th (see SAA 02/06/20 blog post).

Evers’ call comes as GOP legislative leaders are leaning toward cutting taxes with the $452 million in anticipated budget surplus.  They have made it clear that legislative Republicans are not interested in supporting the Governor’s plan.

We believe it is important for legislators to understand the impact the Governor’s proposal would have on the school districts they represent.  Please use the talking points below and your own experiences in sharing your district’s story with your legislators.  For your convenience in contacting your own legislators, I have provided links to the Senate Directory, the Assembly Directory and Who Are My Legislators.

Special Education

See the estimated district by district breakdown of the proposed additional $79.1 million in special education funding here.  Explain your district’s general fund transfer to pay for special education and how you would use the additional funding in your district.

School – Based Mental Health

The Governor’s plan provides $19 million in additional categorical aid services and expands eligibility under the program to include school counselors, psychologists, or nurses.  It also includes an additional $3.75 million in community collaboration grants.  Again, explain the need you have in your district to support students with mental health challenges.

Sparsity Aid

The Governor’s plan would add $10.1 million in sparsity aid payments, including establishing a second tier of sparsity aid.  Share with your legislators how this will impact your districts.  See the estimated district by district breakdown of this proposal here.

General Aid Increase

The Governor’s plan provides $130 million in property tax relief through equalization aid.  The Governor has emphasized, “We can invest in our kids and reduce property taxes.”

Stay tuned as the battle over use of the anticipated budget surplus plays out.

Thanks for listening and, as always, thanks for everything you do on behalf of the kids you serve.

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