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Walker Cites Concerns With Assembly GOP Education Plan

Assembly Republicans' Plan Departs From Governor's Budget Proposal

Line of school buses
Larry Darling (CC-BY-NC)

Gov. Scott Walker said Monday he has some concerns with a draft plan from state Assembly Republicans that would spend less on public schools than his budget.

According to a Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo released by finance committee co-chair Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, Assembly Republicans are working on a plan that would allocate about $90 million less on per pupil spending than the governor proposed in his budget. The plan would also give some schools more power to raise local taxes to fund schools, lifting a levy limit from $9,100 per pupil each year to $9,800.

Speaking with reporters Monday, Walker said he has some issues with the plan.

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“We’re putting more actual dollars into K-12 education than ever before — that plan, as I understand it, would include a reduction of state commitment there,” Walker said. “We’ve also made a commitment to continue to lower property taxes. I think that’s a priority. That plan would allow property taxes to go up, particularly in some school districts. So those would be big concerns.”

Nygren pushed back on the governor’s criticism at a separate event Monday, saying the Assembly plan helps send money to high-needs districts.

“Our proposal actually spends more in the classroom than the governor’s proposal,” Nygren said. “If we’re going to make a record investment, my belief is now is the time to address the biggest discrepancy in educational opportunity in our state and that’s how we have funding differences when it come to school levies.”

Nygren said those tax limits are “very significant in creating barriers for kids, especially in these lower-spending districts.”

Walker said Monday he’s committed to keeping property taxes below 2014 levels in the next budget and is evaluating ways to partially veto a budget that doesn‘t do that.

The state budget is scheduled to be complete by June 30.

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