MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Public Schools and four other schools districts sent a letter to the state legislature last week asking for additional funding for public schools across Wisconsin.
"For far too long schools have been starved of the resources that they need, and then charged with failure to thrive," said Megan O'Halloran with the Milwaukee Board of School Directors.
Earlier this year, Gov. Tony Evers proposed an additional $1.6 billion in his biennium budget to be spent on K-12 education. The Republican-led joint finance committee ended up approving just an additional $150 million.
Republicans on the committee argue the $150 million should be plenty with an additional $2.6 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds expected to distributed to Wisconsin Schools.
State Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Cedarburg) said in a statement:
"Milwaukee Public Schools, unless Governor Evers vetoes the budget, will receive an additional $797 million in federal money, or $11,242 per student. That is over 79% of the operations budget MPS adopted for the 2020-21 school year. If MPS officials don’t believe they can provide education with this level of additional funding, they should find different jobs."
Milwaukee Teachers Education Association and other school leaders say the federal money is used on pandemic-related expenses, not day-to-day costs of educating children.
"The state legislature has figured out a new way to deny children the education they need by using pandemic funds and not budgeting for those needs," said MTEA Vice President Ingrid Walker-Henry.
MPS argues additional funding is needed to prepare students for a post-secondary path, fund special education aid, fund mental health aid, as well as expand broadband access.