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Wisconsin leads the nation in cutting school funding

Posted: 9/6/2011 2:30:31 PM

September 6, 2011
Contact: Christina Brey, 608.298.2519


Wisconsin leads the nation in cutting school funding

A new study shows that Wisconsin cut K-12 school funding more than any other state in the nation under Gov. Scott Walker's budget that took effect July 1.

An independent, Washington-based think tank, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, released the study. The study reports on the 24 states where current-year data is available. Those states educate about two-thirds of the nation's K-12 students.

“This is a disturbing reminder of how the governor’s extreme cuts to public schools impact students,” said Mary Bell, a Wisconsin Rapids teacher and president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council. “Other states have worked hard to make education a priority, while Wisconsin’s governor and his followers in the Legislature have turned their backs on students.

“The massive cuts to public education and the attack the governor has waged on educators puts Wisconsin’s education tradition in jeopardy,” Bell continued. “Wisconsin has the best graduation rates in the nation and ranks at the top on college preparation and Advanced Placement courses, but these unprecedented cuts are resulting in larger class sizes and fewer teachers. Strong schools go hand-in-hand with building a strong economy, that’s a lesson our state leaders need to learn.”

In analyzing the budget data, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report states that the nation's economy is at risk from these school spending cuts. "A ... negative economic consequence of the cuts is that they counteract and sometimes undermine education reform and ... hinder the ability of school districts to deliver high-quality education, with long-term negative consequences for the nation's economic competitiveness," wrote the report’s authors.

The current Wisconsin budget provides $776 less state aid per student than it did in 2008, which is the fourth-largest school aid cut among states studied in terms of dollars per student.

The report mentions that one of the most noticeable results of the funding cuts over the last several years is that there are fewer teachers. Nationally in the past year, 156,000 teaching positions have been eliminated or left unfilled, according to the national Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is on top of 45,000 net job losses in 2009-10 and 36,000 in 2008-09.

"State-level K-12 spending cuts of this magnitude have serious consequences for the national economy, both by reducing purchasing power in the short run and by undermining the nation's economic competitiveness in the long run,” the report concludes.

Read the report here.

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Comments 2

  1. Dick Dierks 9/8/2011

    When do we get rid of this governor and his cronies in the legislature!!!!!!!
  2. Kathy Casey 9/6/2011

    I knew our state of Wisconsin was always the leader to follow in the area of education, but I never thought I would see the dismal day of these headlines. "Things at their worst shall cease, or else rise upwards to what they were before." Let's hope Cervantes is right.

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