Democrats release K-12 funding plan

With Wisconsin’s budget deadline just days away, Legislative Democrats on the Joint Finance Committee unveiled a funding plan for Wisconsin’s K-12 public schools Thursday in the hopes of breaking the ongoing Republican stalemate. The plan invests $729 million more in K-12 education than Governor Walker’s proposal and lowers property taxes by nearly $25 million.

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Cullen, Schultz declare a bipartisan war on gerrymandering

Former Wisconsin State Senators Tim Cullen, a Democrat, and Dale Schultz, a Republican, have joined together for a bipartisan effort to end gerrymandering, which they say has caused disruption of the political system in Wisconsin. Cullen and Schultz, who both served as majority leaders of the State Senate, are co-chairs of the Fair Election Project, which has helped organize a lawsuit challenging the legality of how Republicans redrew Wisconsin’s election districts in 2010. The lawsuit, Gill v. Whitford, is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Legislative Update – June 21

GOP legislative leaders are expected to continue meeting behind closed doors today, after spending much time Tuesday hammering out a budget deal on K-12 education, taxes and transportation. There’s a possibility the Joint Finance Committee meeting will meet Thursday, with K-12 education on the agenda. With competing school funding plans, they’re looking for agreement on per-pupil funding levels and approaches to low revenue limits, among other things.

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Legislative Update – June 19

A third proposal for K-12 funding is coming to the table. GOP senators look to be developing a plan that would use state money to help struggling rural districts – something included into the Assembly’s plan – while holding the line on property taxes. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Senate Republicans are still discussing how much state money to pour into it.

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Don’t restrict school referendums, increase state funding, committee told

School officials and other supporters of public education spoke out Thursday against a package of bills that would severely restrict the ability of local school districts to raise needed funds through referendums. At a hearing on the bills, they blamed cuts in state funding of public education for the financial challenges faced by school districts and the rise in local referendums. “The level of referendums would drop significantly if the state would get behind real education reform,” Baraboo School Board Member Doug Mering told the Assembly’s Education Committee.

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Legislative Update – June 15

The Joint Finance Committee unanimously nixed the governor’s plan to move state workers to self-insurance, after halting meetings for over a week, saying it was risky and they can find other ways to insure schools. “I’m happy we were able to do that without sticking it to state employees,” Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, told Madison insiders. Other topics include the debate over K-12 funding, referendum restrictions and private school vouchers.

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