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WI Republican leaders propose sending $371 to parents of students learning virtually

Posted at 9:57 PM, Dec 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 13:45:27-05

MADISON — Republican leaders in the state legislature unveiled several proposals that are a part of their COVID-19 relief plan on Monday. One of which would give parents of students who are learning virtually $371 each.

Teachers in southeastern Wisconsin are already balking at this proposal because the paychecks to parents would come directly from funds that were already given to school districts.

Republicans who control the state legislature want school districts to send parents a check for $371 if their student has been learning virtually at least 50 percent of the time since September.

“I think it would help,” said parent John Davis.

Davis said he could use the cash to make up for all he’s spent on technology to help his high school daughter learn from home.

“You had to get a laptop, a program to protect the laptop, things of that nature,” Davis said.

Assembly Speaker and Burlington Republican Robin Vos said the checks would be half of the per-pupil aid increase school districts received this year. “If a school board provides virtual instruction to a pupil in lieu of in-person instruction during the 2020-21 school year, the board shall pay $371 to the parent or guardian of the pupil,” the legislation reads.

“I find this proposal very alarming,” said Racine Educators United President Angelina Cruz.

Cruz represents public school teachers in Racine. She said this proposal essentially takes money away from districts that have already been spent to help students and teachers who can’t afford things like hot spots for WiFi and laptops for virtual learning.

“Siphoning off tens of thousands of dollars from schools for keeping students safe is unconscionable,” Cruz said.

Cruz believes the proposal is an attempt to punish districts that have moved to virtual learning by putting parents and public schools at odds over money.

“It’s grossly irresponsible of them to try to pit communities against their public schools,” she said.

Davis believes half the per-pupil aid funding increase belongs in parents’ hands.

“I’d give it to the parents since there is no school and then when school is in, someone who can budget can work it out from that point,” he said.

Gov. Evers’ staff said he is ready and willing to work together on a proposal that will pass both houses with bipartisan support. Evers’ statement made no mention of this proposal in particular, however, Evers expressed frustration after learning republican leaders don’t plan to have the state senate meet until January.

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