Governor Tony Evers has received the state budget passed by the Legislature this week, setting into motion the time period he has to issue possible vetoes. So far, the governor has not tipped his hand as to what his veto strategy might be.
After signatures from Senate and Assembly leaders, the budget bill has been enrolled and sent to Evers, who will have to act within six days (not including Sundays). The deadline is not impacted by the Independence Day holiday, so Evers will have to act on the document by Friday, July 5.
The budget passed by the Legislature includes far less spending for education than the document proposed by the governor and supported by WEAC, but does begin to take steps to invest in K-12 public schools and Wisconsin Technical College System.
Republican majority leaders are cautioning the governor not to veto the entire budget, which is one option on the table (and something that hasn’t happened since the state went to its current appropriation process in 1931). Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said if the entire budget were to be vetoed, that would threaten the additional funding for K-12 education and other areas.
“My word to him is sign the bill, because your schools and especially our children in the state of Wisconsin are depending on it,” Sen. Luther Olsen, a member of the Finance Committee and chair of the Education Committee, said at a press conference.
WEAC will keep members posted on the next steps by the governor, providing action alerts to voice your support for students and public schools.
Included in the document passed by the Legislature are provisions:
- Raising revenue limits by $200 per student in the first year of the budget and an additional $204 in the second year;
- Providing $97 million more special education categorical aid;
- Including an additional $20 million for student mental health;
- Calling for an additional $4.6 million for high-cost transportation; and
- Raising the revenue caps for low-spending districts to $10,000 over the next two years.
There is no doubt that our advocacy for students and public schools has gotten the attention of elected officials, and we have more work to do to continue to build support for the remainder of the legislative session and beyond. From improving pay so quality educators enter and stay in the profession, to implementing policies that support families and communities, WEAC is committed to continuing the struggle we are in together.
For a roundup of all the bills we’re watching, with analysis, click here.