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PolitiFact Wisconsin: Gov. Evers claims Tim Michels wants to defund public education

TMJ4's Chief Political Reporter Charles Benson and PolitiFact Wisconsin look at a claim about defunding public education.
Tim Michels and Tony Evers
Posted at 4:00 PM, Nov 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-04 17:00:05-04

The word defund has been used a lot in the midterm campaign ads to talk about police funding, but what about public education?

One of the key responsibilities of the governor is shaping state funding for K-12 schools. This is why a claim by Gov. Tony Evers caught the attention of PolitiFact Wisconsin.

"He (Gov. Evers) claimed that his opponent, Republican Tim Michels, wants to defund public education and claimed that Michels also said that it is the definition of insanity to continue to fund public schools," said Greg Borowski with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Michels did use the term "definition of insanity" during TMJ4's Republican primary debate for governor in July, but it was a reference to spending more money all the time - not less.

"The problem … is we're already throwing so much money at education. That's been the fix, if you will, for the last 10, or 20, or 30 years, more money on education, more money on education. And it's not working," said Michels, the definition of insanity.

Michels was being critical of how much money was being spent on education without accountability.

"Michels was calling it the definition of insanity to increase funding to public schools without better results," said Borowski. "But the Evers campaign email makes it sound like he was saying it's insane to continue funding them at all."

There's more. Michels supports expanding school choice throughout the state, which does impact public school funding. Here's why.

"When students enroll in private schools using a voucher, the district they live in loses some state aid, which instead goes to pay for the voucher student," Borowski said.

But PolitiFact Wisconsin says Evers was making a stretch to suggest Michels wants to defund public education.

They rated Evers' claim Mostly False.