MADISON, Wis. -- Like many rural areas, our schools are at the heart of our communities. They not only educate our children, they are a place for our neighbors and friends to gather, and they are a source of community pride. Our schools are also an important economic driver, and are sometimes the largest employers in our area. For these reasons and many others, it is important that we make sure our schools have the resources they need to be successful.
This upcoming budget makes another significant investment of resources into our schools. Each district will see a revenue limit adjustment and a per pupil adjustment that equals $604 per student over the next biennium. That is an additional $12,080 for every classroom of 20 kids – that is real money! In fact, it mirrors our last budget, which Governor Evers, who was Superintendent of Public instruction at the time, called “kid friendly” and “an important step forward”.
As I traveled the state as a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding, I heard from many stakeholders that special education funding needed to be made a bigger priority. Let me be clear: I believe all students, regardless of ability, should have an opportunity to receive a quality education. This budget will target an additional $96 million in special education funding, which is a 22% increase over current spending. This is also the same amount request by Governor Evers during his time as Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The budget also targets funding in other ways, such as raising the low revenue ceiling, which will be a game changer for districts like Cameron, Prairie Farm, and Spooner. It also increases funding for mental health, high cost transportation, robotics league grants, and funds a rural teacher talent program to attract high quality teachers to rural areas.
Now you may ask “Romaine, where is all this money going to come from, and why didn’t you just accept the Governor’s proposal?” The answer to that is simple.
Rep. Quinn addresses a class of students at the Capitol. Quinn frequently visits classes and enjoys speaking with students throughout the 75th assembly district.
Right now the economy is the best we’ve seen in a generation — wages are rising, and more people are working than ever before in state history. Because of this, the Republican school funding proposal is paid for with existing funds and new growth. Governor Evers wanted to not only spend all of our surplus, but also raise taxes by more than $1 billion. His budget included raising taxes on manufacturers and farmers who have kept our economy growing, and even forcing a tax hike on geographically large school districts by ending the school levy tax credit. We shouldn’t be pitting taxpayers against one another in order to fund our schools, especially during a time of record new revenue and large surpluses.
Whether you are a Barron Bear, a Birchwood Bobcat, a Clear Lake Warrior, or a Spooner Rail -- this budget provides all of our children within our assembly district an additional $11,178,357.00 in more resources over the next two years.
Discussing school funding with Prairie Farm School Board and community members
Both Democrats and Republicans care about our schools and our children. This budget puts forward a bipartisan investment in our schools while making sure it is affordable and sustainable into the future. After hearing from local superintendents and stakeholders, I don’t see how anyone can oppose a budget that does so much good, especially if they claim to support education.
Rep. Quinn advocated for the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding to include a visit to the Turtle Lake School District to hear from educators, administrators, and citizens about the area’s needs.
The following numbers are a sum of the revenue limit adjustment, low-revenue ceiling change, per pupil categorical aid increase, and special education funding increase. It does not include increases in programs like mental health and high-cost transportation. If you would like to see the numbers for yourself, you can find an interactive map that includes funding numbers for all of our school districts here.
- Barron Area Schools - $1,017,921
- Birchwood - $161,798
- Boyceville - $576,320
- Cameron - $673,924
- Chetek-Weyerhaeuser - $725,067
- Clayton - $229,451
- Clear Lake - $473,406
- Cumberland - $655,088
- Glenwood City - $542,310
- Hayward Community - $1,265,023
- Luck - $365,133
- New Auburn - $204,628
- Prairie Farm - $234,628
- Rice Lake Area - $1,605,630
- Shell Lake - $423,895
- Spooner Area - $981,005
- Turtle Lake - $325,051
- Unity - $718,539
Total - $11,178,357