A resolution calling on the Legislature to address the school funding crisis in Wisconsin is being criticized by Republican lawmakers. The proposal suggests lawmakers develop a new funding system for public schools by 2009, but it does not require them to take any action.
The joint resolution received a hearing at the Capitol on Thursday, where dozens of education officials and members of the public turned out to testify.
While questioning the authors of the proposal, State Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) raised concerns about reaching the goals it tries to set. Olsen says experience shows that reaching a consensus on education funding is almost impossible, especially one that makes everyone happy.
The Ripon Republican also pointed out the Wisconsin already ranks 8th in the nation for what it spends on education. Olsen says that kind of funding just isn't fiscally sustainable, regardless of what is done to shift around school funding. He says giving districts extra money would still result in them asking for more just a few years later.
State Representative Sondy Pope-Roberts (D-Middleton), one of the resolution's authors, defended the proposal. She says many schools are falling short because the system is flawed and changes need to be made. The Middleton Democrat says the resolution simply calls on lawmakers to examine the problems in the current system, and try to find a better way of doing it. She says supporters just want to open a process that helps look for a better way to give schools what they need.