December 21, 2014

Budget panel travels to Green Bay

Hundreds of people packed a conference room at Lambeau Field Monday, to chime in on Governor Walker’s budget plan.

School funding was a major topic. With Green Bay among school districts targeted for Walker’s voucher expansion, School Board President Brenda Warren is opposed to the idea, saying the program would add to the district’s financial problems by taking money away from the public schools. She says the schools already face a $5-to-6 million deficit. “If we had 200 voucher students leave next year we would have another $1.2 million because of that.”

The governor wants to expand vouchers to districts that have two or more failing schools as a way for parents to have more quality education options.

The public also suggested a bigger priority to programs that offer an alternative to incarceration.

“Right now there is a million dollars and our overall goal us $75 million,” says Kevin Deminski of Algoma, who admits that number is high. He is pushing for at least $25 million as a way to establish seed money for these programs. Deminski adds these programs could cut the number of Wisconsin inmates in half.

The gathering was the Joint Finance Committee’s second of four public hearings on the budget