MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin public schools would receive $150 million more in state funding over two years under the Republican budget plan to be approved Thursday by a legislative committee, less than 10% of what Democratic Gov. Tony Evers called for.
It was also not immediately clear if enough was being spent to ensure federal funding would not be lost.
Wisconsin is slated to receive $2.6 billion in federal coronavirus relief funding approved by Congress, including $1.54 billion under the American Rescue Plan that President Joe Biden signed in March.
The federal law requires the state to spend the same proportion on K-12 schools and higher education in the upcoming fiscal year that was spent between 2016 and 2018. For K-12 schools, that means the state would have to spend $387 million more over the next two years, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
In addition to the $150 million in new funding, the Republican plan includes putting $350 million aside for future spending outside of the next budget. Evers called for $1.6 billion in new funding and urged Republicans on the budget committee to accept his plan.
“By cutting or keeping spending levels flat, you continue to jeopardize Wisconsin’s short-term economic recovery and long-term economic prospects by not investing in our future,” Evers wrote to Republicans ahead of Thursday's meeting.
When asked whether the Republican would meet the federal requirements, budget committee co-chair Rep. Mark Born said that issue was still being examined and will be dealt with “along the way.” Born said he had only recently become aware of the issue, even though it had been raised in an April 8 memo from the fiscal bureau.
Born did not answer a question about that memo that was asked as a news conference was...