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Walker: Budget Will Include Plan To ‘Dramatically’ Help Rural Schools

Governor Says Plan Will Be Unveiled On Statewide Tour

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District (CC-BY)

Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday his state budget proposal will include a plan to “dramatically help rural schools.”

The governor’s 2017-2019 budget proposal will be unveiled Feb. 8, but he has been previewing some elements in the weeks leading up to his budget address, including a plan to cut University of Wisconsin System tuition and make changes to welfare qualifications.

Speaking at an event Wednesday in Madison, Walker said his budget will incorporate plans to support rural school districts across the state.

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“I want to make sure every child, every student in this state, has access to a great education,” he said. “That’s not just a moral imperative, increasingly it’s an economic imperative.”

Walker had planned to unveil specifics about his proposal during a series of events around the state on Thursday, but his office later canceled, saying they would be rescheduled.

In his State of the State address earlier this month, the governor said rural schools face unique challenges including transportation costs, declining enrollment and broadband access.

He has also said a “significant” funding increase for all K-12 schools will be a part of the budget.

In November, state schools Superintendent Tony Evers submitted a budget requesting a roughly $700 million increase for schools in the next budget. His plan includes a grant program intended to attract and retain teachers at rural schools.