Wisconsin’s cuts to school aid are the deepest among 24 states where budget information is available, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. Mary Bell, president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, says the report reveals what her members have said all along. “That Governor Walker’s extreme cuts to public education are even extreme in a year when budget cuts are happening in states across the country.”
The liberal policy group says the Badger State reduced funding by $635.00 per student this fall – that’s more than larger states like California and New York. Bell says this report vindicates the concerns of educators. “Really verifying what we’ve said all along, what superintendents across the state have, in large measure, said.”
The report also says Wisconsin has slashed its state aid by nearly $800.00 per student over the last four years — that’s the fourth-deepest cut in the nation. The report attributes education cuts to depressed revenues, rising costs, depleted emergency federal aid, and scant new state revenue this year.
Under the state budget that took effect July 1st, Governor Scott Walker gave schools a chance to off-set at least part of the funding cuts by making employees pay more toward their health insurance and pensions. Bell says those so-called “tools” don’t make up for the cuts, and she says despite the best efforts by teachers, the quality of education will deteriorate.