May 21, 2023

Public Education Supporters Rally for Evers’ Budget

Public Education Supporters Rally for Evers’ Budget Featured Image

More than 700 WEAC members and public education supporters rallied at the State Capitol on May 20 to stand up for Governor Tony Evers’ state budget proposal, and his plan to use some of the state’s $7 billion budget surplus to start to catch up with inflation.

In addition to throngs of educators carrying signs and voicing chants in support of public education and students, the rally featured a diverse set of speakers representing students, teachers, education support professionals, and parents of students with special needs.

“This rally shows how much support there is for Governor Evers and his budget from educators and the community,” WEAC President Peggy Wirtz-Olsen said. “We showed Governor Evers and the members of the Wisconsin Legislature that, when it comes to school funding, the governor has the support of the people who know the most about what is happening inside the classroom: educators, parents and students.”

Catching Up With Inflation

In his budget proposal, Governor Evers has called for an increase of more than $2.6 billion for public schools. The governor’s budget grants school districts a sizable increase in revenue-raising authority, with per pupil revenue limit increases of $350 in 2023-24 and an additional $650 in 2024-25—the largest per pupil adjustments since revenue limits were imposed. In six of the last eight school years, state leaders have provided essentially no increase in spendable resources for school districts.

By failing to adjust per pupil school district revenue limits for inflation, policymakers have effectively frozen school district budgets and driven districts to referendums to maintain programs and staffing. If a school district hasn’t successfully passed an operating referendum since 2011, the spending it is allowed under state law trails inflation by $2,236 per student, according to the non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau. Send an email to the Joint Finance Committee in favor of inflationary increases.