Green Bay Schools Leader: Walker’s Budget Doesn’t Go Far Enough

Some Green Bay School Board Members Say They Still Need To Ask Homeowners For More Money

Janayna Velozo (CC BY 2.0)

Some Green Bay School District leaders say Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to increase public school funding doesn’t go far enough.

The district’s school board president, Brenda Warren, said that’s why voters this spring will weigh in on two funding referendums totaling $84.75 million.

In his 2017-2019 budget proposal the governor set aside about $650 million for public and voucher schools. For Green Bay that amounts to $4.4 million each year for the next two years. Warren said that won’t fill the district’s projected $18 million deficit for next year alone.

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“Based on what increases we’ve had in the past, we were never expecting that the state would give us $18 million, so this is why we’re going to referendum to fill the gap,” she said.

The district is asking voters to approve two referendums during the April election. One is for $16.5 million for operational expenses, which covers things like computers and staffing. Another $68.25 million question tackles improvements to school facilities, some of which need to be expanded.

Warren said Green Bay is not alone in needing to ask property tax payers to fund schools. She said there’s been a state-wide uptick in school funding ballot measures.

“The amount of the money that we’ve been getting from the state doesn’t keep up even with inflation, and so districts are having to cut even programs they have, they’re having to cut those because we don’t get inflationary increases in our revenue limits,” Warren said.

Because of budget crunches, Warren said Green Bay has put off some facilities improvements and buying updated computers. If the operational referendum fails this spring, she said up to 150 school district employee positions could be eliminated.