By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — The education establishment cries of poverty have begun despite unprecedented levels of federal cash pumping into Wisconsin’s K-12 schools.
The Southeastern Wisconsin Schools Alliance (SWSA) on Friday expressed its extreme disappointment that the Republican-led Joint Finance Committee is “only” offering $128 million in new state funding for K-12 education.
“Elmbrook remains disappointed in the lack of commitment to children from the Joint Finance Committee,” said Mark Hansen, Superintendent of the Elmbrook School District in a SWSA press release. The organization is a consortium of 31 K-12 school districts.
“They had an opportunity to change the lives of kids today, and they passed on it. I am tired of partisan politics getting in the way of what is best for our kids. It is time for them to step up and correct this,” Hansen added.
This wailing and gnashing of teeth as the federal government is sending $2.6 billion in pandemic relief to Wisconsin’s schools.
Preliminary estimates show property rich Elmbrook is expected to get more than $8.7 million in new funding — or about $1,200 more per pupil. That’s a pretty generous boost, particularly for a district that has surreptitiously injected critical race theory and other controversial lesson plans into its curriculum.
As Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green), co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee pointed out, the committee has invested a total of $128 million in new state funding into K-12 education. JFC has marked a total of $15.3 billion for K-12 education over the next two years. That’s a slight increase from the current total budget of $15.2 billion, and much lower than the $17.3 billion Gov. Tony Evers sought in his bloated $91 billion biennial budget proposal, including hundreds of millions of dollars more in state taxpayer money. But when adding the $2.6 billion in federal pandemic funding, Wisconsin’s K-12 education system is looking at a total of $17.9 billion in funding — a 17 percent increase over the current budget, according to the MacIver Institute.
And JFC pushed the state funding reimbursement rate up to 30 percent, and 40 percent of High Cost Special Education. Evers sought as much when he was Superintendent of Public Instruction. As a tax-and-spend governor, however, he’s demanding more. Much more. In fact, Evers proposal seeks 10 times more.
That’s the education establishment, and the left at large. No amount of taxpayer money is ever enough.
“This is a tremendous investment of state resources in addition to Federal funding that is already arriving at schools, colleges and universities all over Wisconsin,” Marklein said. “Education has always been – and continues to be – the single largest investment in our state budget. Year after year, we have invested in our kids, our teachers and our schools. This year is no different.”
But Wisconsin’s educrats would have you believe that the sky is falling.
Photo courtesy of USA TODAY