Budget Brief: Final Summary of Budget, Veto Announcements Governor's Veto Action Results in "Status Quo" Budget for Educatio Governor's
veto action results in "status quo" budget for education.
Governor McCallum announced his 2001-2003 state budget veto decisions
Thursday, August 30, 2001. The governor signed two very important education
initiatives that place students in classrooms that work, but he did
not sign other items that are just as important to great schools. The
budget will help place kids in classrooms that work by fully funding
the SAGE class size reduction program, maintaining the state's commitment
to fund two-thirds of school operation costs and restoring funding to
4-year-old kindergarten programs.
These items, however, represent a continuation of the status quo for
school funding. Fully funding the SAGE program was promised by the Legislature
during the last budget; two-thirds funding of school operation costs
is part of a continuing property tax relief effort and 4-year-old kindergarten
will simply be restored to current funding levels.
In a surprise move, the governor vetoed the $115 million aid payment
delay to schools. His "buying back" of the aid delay will
require the Joint Finance Committee to ensure that schools will receive
their total aid payments from the state during this budget cycle. It
does not, however, increase state aid payments to schools.
Governor vetoes revenue cap flexibility and QEO changes, missing
an opportunity to truly support great schools:
Other veto actions, however, do not promote quality staff in schools,
nor will they benefit everyone in the community. The governor vetoed
the entire 0.78% revenue cap flexibility provision, thereby denying
schools $45 million in relief from the caps. He also vetoed all of the
modifications to the QEO law, rejecting the opportunity to restore fairness
to the bargaining table.
The governor's veto actions on revenue caps and the QEO will make it
increasingly difficult to recruit and maintain quality staff and will
continue to bind the hands of local school officials who are trying
to provide every kid with a great school. The fact that the budget contains
no extra funding for special education costs means school districts
will be forced to pit special education against other programs, resulting
in decisions that hurt all students.
Final budget highlights:
Veto Revenue Cap Flexibility:
- VETOED: $45M -- Allow districts
to raise their limit by 0.78% annually. This effort would have been
aided as part of the school funding formula.
- NOT VETOED: $14.1M -- Restore
the current law annual inflationary adjustment under revenue caps.
- $8.4M -- Restore the current law 40% funding of summer school
programs under revenue caps.
- $22M -- Provide a revenue cap exemption to school district expenditures
related to "community service" programs.
- $60M -- Maintain the state's commitment to fund 2/3 of referenda-approved
school district construction costs as well as maintain current
law on scheduling of local government referenda
- $700,000 -- Provide a revenue limit adjustment for large area,
low enrollment districts
- $193,300 -- Provide a revenue limit adjustment for the Wausau
School District Integration Transfer Program.
The state-imposed revenue caps, which limit the amount of money school
districts are entitled to receive in state aids and property taxes,
are keeping many school districts from providing classrooms that work.
Districts are being forced to delay spending on necessities such as
building maintenance and the purchase of computers and other technology.
Revenue caps are devastating many school districts throughout Wisconsin.
The vetoed item would have given districts minimal relief from this
onerous law, which is preventing districts from placing children in
classrooms that work by cutting vital programs and services.
Fully Fund SAGE:
- $171M -- Fully funds the SAGE program through 3rd grade in all eligible
schools. The governor's original budget cut SAGE funding by approximately
$37 million by only allowing schools with a poverty rate above 50%
to continue SAGE through the 3rd grade.
There is no better example of a program that makes classrooms work
than the Student Achievement Guarantee in Education (SAGE) program,
which reduces class sizes in early grades in low-income schools and
requires districts to create and implement plans for improving student
performance. The SAGE appropriation, however, was promised to schools
as part of the last state budget. The Legislature and the State Superintendent
of Public Instruction also deserve credit for this item. This full funding
decision occurred during Joint Finance Committee action on the budget.
Deny Any Special Education Aid Increase:
- Provide no general aid increase for reimbursement to school districts
for special education costs.
The ability of Wisconsin schools to provide classrooms that work is
being seriously challenged because of the state's failure to keep its
commitment to fund special education. Schools are being forced to choose
between special education and regular education.
When the governor vetoed the revenue cap flexibility provision in the
budget he denied the only source of funding that school districts had
to offset the lack of special education funding. This action will continue
the situation of pitting regular education programs against state and
federally mandated special education programs resulting in decisions
that hurt all students.
Restore Funding for 4-Year-Old Kindergarten (4K):
- VETOED: Restore $14 million
- The governor's veto will restore current law funding for 4K. Pupils
enrolled in a 4K program will count as 0.5 as under current law. Also,
all children in a 4K program that provides 87.5 additional hours of
outreach activities will be counted as 0.6 pupil as under current
The success of Wisconsin's public schools is inextricably linked to
the general readiness of students to learn. Appropriate funding for
4K programs will provide the youngest learners with every opportunity
to reach their full potential. WEAC supports the governor's veto decision
on 4K, although WEAC and other public school advocates sought to increase
funding for 4K programs in the budget. This is a status quo result for
4K. The budget stops short of increasing funding for 4K programs so
that they are treated the same as five-year-old programs.
Bargaining the selection of group health insurers and bargaining
the school calendar:
(NOTE: The following items were removed from the budget by the Conference
Committee and therefore were not part of the governor's veto considerations.
They remain in this analysis as a review of items that WEAC successfully
lobbied to remove from the budget).
- Assembly proposal to make bargaining the selection of group health
insurers a permissive subject of bargaining.
- Assembly proposal to revise the QEO law so that a school district
would only have to provide "substantially similar" benefits
to teachers from one contract to the next.
- Assembly proposal leaving it up to the State Commissioner of Insurance,
a Republican appointee, to determine what constitutes "substantially
similar" benefits. Under current QEO law, an employer must maintain
both the existing fringe benefits package and the district's percentage
contribution effort in that package.
- Assembly proposal to require school districts to not only solicit
sealed bids for provision of group health insurance but also encourage
them to put their employees in the state insurance pool rather than
continuing coverage under one of the WEA Insurance Trust group health
- Assembly proposal to make establishment of the school calendar a
permissive subject of bargaining.
The quality of a school staff is enhanced when the staff is part of
decision-making over issues such as fringe benefit options and salary
structure. The Assembly Republicans wanted to roll back health insurance
benefits by making health insurance a permissive subject of bargaining
and by changing the QEO law. Another Republican provision would have
made the establishment of the school calendar a permissive subject of
bargaining. Literally hundreds of WEAC members contacted Assembly Republican
leaders demanding that this assault on Wisconsin public school employees
stop. In the end, the Assembly retreated on every point.
Changes in QEO law to protect permissive subjects of bargaining:
- VETOED: New QEO Component: Maintenance
of All Conditions of Employment. In order for a school district employer's
offer to be deemed "qualified," newly require the employer
to maintain all conditions of employment as those conditions existed
90 days prior to the expiration of any previous collective bargaining
agreement between the employer and its represented teaching employees
or 90 days prior to the commencement of negotiations, if there was
no previous collective bargaining agreement.
- VETOED: New QEO Component: Maintenance
of Any Provisions Relating to Permissive Subjects of Bargaining. In
order for a school district employer's offer to be deemed "qualified,"
newly require the employer to maintain any provisions relating to
permissive subjects of bargaining that existed in the previous collective
bargaining agreement between the employer and its represented teaching
employees or that existed 90 days prior to the expiration of any previous
collective bargaining agreement between the parties in any written
agreement by the parties.
- VETOED: Binding Arbitration
Authorized if Employer's Offer is not "Qualified." Specify
that if an investigator from the Employment Relations Commission determines,
as part of an investigation whether a bargaining impasse exists between
the parties, that the employer has not submitted a timely QEO, either
the labor organization representing the school district professional
employees or the school district employer would be authorized to petition
for compulsory, final and binding arbitration, and the current law
QEO provisions whereby an employer could avoid such arbitration procedures
would not apply. Require the Commission to prescribe by rule the methodology
to be used to determine whether or not a proposal submitted by a school
district employer constitutes a timely QEO.
- VETOED: QEO Initial Applicability.
Provide that these provisions would first apply to petitions for arbitration
filed by school district employers or their represented teaching employees
after the general effective date of the biennial budget act.
WEAC supports the eventual full repeal of the QEO law. The law unfairly
singles out educators to cap salary increases, destroys local collective
bargaining and is harmful to employee morale impacting the overall quality
of instruction in schools. These proposed changes to the QEO law sought
to restore fairness to the local bargaining relationship by maintaining
conditions of employment, protecting permissive subjects of bargaining
and requiring the WERC to define a timely QEO. The governor's veto actions
will continue the QEO restrictions on genuine collective bargaining
and will intensify the existing teacher shortage by making it difficult
to recruit and maintain great staff in our schools.
Rejection of "paycheck protection" language in budget:
(NOTE: The following item was removed from the budget by the Conference
Committee and therefore was not part of the governor's veto considerations.
It remains in this analysis as a review of an item that WEAC successfully
lobbied to remove from the budget.)
- Assembly provision to establish a "paycheck protection"
law making it illegal for all employers and unions to collect member
dues for use in political action.
The "paycheck protection" law would undermine the First Amendment
rights of teachers and other education employees to form voluntary associations
to advance their interests through the exercise of other First Amendment
rights -- free speech and petitioning the government for redress of
grievances. No other types of voluntary membership associations are
subject to such restrictions on constitutionally protected activities.
Create a separate GPR appropriation for the Milwaukee Voucher Program:
(NOTE: The governor made no veto changes to voucher-related items in
- Delete the general school aid reduction for the voucher program
for non-MPS districts.
- Require MPS school aids to be reduced by an amount equal to 45%
of the cost of the voucher program.
- Allow the amount of property taxes levied by MPS to offset the voucher
reduction to be counted outside of the calculation of two-thirds partial
- Fund voucher summer school programs at the same 40% level as public
summer school programs.
This provision essentially establishes a separate GPR appropriation
for the voucher program. State aid to schools outside Milwaukee will
no longer be reduced to pay for the voucher program. This provision
will require the voucher program to "stand alone" as an appropriation
in the state budget. WEAC believes the voucher program must eventually
be held accountable to the taxpayers for this appropriation and that
voucher schools should be required to meet the same standards and assessments
as public schools.
Expansion of Charter School Law:
(NOTE: The governor made no veto changes to these items in the budget).
- Allow, on a pilot basis, the UW-Parkside to establish or contract
to establish one charter school in Racine. The charter school could
not operate as a high school or enroll more than 400 pupils. Apply
various other conditions relating to the creation of this new charter
- Provide the school district of Racine with "hold harmless"
funding so that the district will keep the state aid payments for
any pupil who leaves the district to attend this new charter school.
- The Budget Conference Committee also rejected the Assembly provisions
that would have allowed counties, CESAs and WTCS districts to charter
In order for public schools to benefit everyone, they need to be accountable
to the voters through their elected representatives on school boards.
That is why WEAC feels so strongly that new charter schools must be
instrumentalities of the local school districts and that employees of
charter schools must be employees of the district with full bargaining
WTCS-related funding items:
- $1.3M - Provide a 3.25% annual increase in funding for the WHEG
- Cut $4.3M -- Limit TOP Grant to just first year students effective
July 1, 2001.
- PARTIAL VETO: $1.5M - Provide
$750,000 annually for incentive grants to districts with limited fiscal
capacity. The governor's veto eliminates the $750,000 increase for
the first year of the budget.
- PARTIAL VETO: $1.5M - Provide
$750,000 annually for additional course selection grants for the purpose
of adding sections in courses where student demand exceeds capacity.
The governor's veto is a write-down to reduce the increase to $250,000
- VETOED: $300,000 - Provide funding
for assistive technology grants
- Require each WTCS board to accept credits transferred from another
district or from an institution or college campus within the UW system
for general education courses and for courses included under a current
plan for coordinating the transfer of credits.
- Expand the sunset date for expenditures on applied technology centers
without referendum approval from January 1, 2002, to July 1, 2003.
WEAC supported these increases in grant funding for the WTCS, but also
supported a general aid increase to the WTCS. The conference committee
did not provide any general aid increases to the WTCS.
Summary of other items of interest to WEAC:
- VETOED: Delay $115M in school
aid payments to the next biennium. Veto removes provisions delaying
the payment and $700,000 GPR for interest on the delayed aid payment.
- PARTIAL VETO: Vacant positions
in state government. Partial vetoes delete 30-day deadline for determining
vacant positions; removed non-GPR funding sources from the lapse requirement;
eliminates requirement that individual appropriations be part of the
DOA secretary's determination and implementation of GPR lapses; and
removes the requirement that vacancies identified be deleted. Veto
also strikes limitation of lapse provision to only the executive branch.
This veto action may help to preserve vacant teaching and support
positions at the state's correctional and residential facilities.
- VETOED: Create a Legislative
Council Study Committee of School Funding.
- VETOED: Create a Legislative
Council Study Committee of Special Education Funding.
- PARTIAL VETO: Healthy schools
proposal. K-12 integrated pest management reporting. Partial veto
removes certain financial and administrative requirements on school
boards and districts for record keeping and reporting.
- PARTIAL VETO: Retain base level
funding for the High School Graduation Test development, but delay
test implementation by two-years. Restore the parent opt-out provision
to the test. The governor vetoed the two-year delay for implementation
of the HSGT. The first HSGT will be given beginning in the 2002-03
schools as originally planned. However, DPI will not be given any
additional resources to finish creating the test.
- VETOED: $2.5M - Eliminate the
5% base budget cuts to DPI. The governor used his veto pen to cut
the DPI central office budget by 4%. This will result in a cut of
$723,000 to the DPI operations budget. The veto, however, requires
that the cuts not be taken from funding of the state's residential
schools operated by the DPI. Delete all provisions that would require
DPI to report on distribution of federal aids.
- PARTIAL VETO: $900,000 - Provide
$450,000 annually to the minority precollege scholarship program.
Governor's partial veto will write-down the appropriation to a 10%
- VETOED: $300,000 - Aid increase
for after school care programs.
- VETOED: Establish a Wisconsin
Educational Services Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
- VETOED: Calculator use on statewide
Fourth-Grade Examination. Veto removes prohibition on use of calculators
while taking the exam.
- PARTIAL VETO: Create a new Department
of Electronic Government. Vetoes make various changes to the administrative
and appropriations structure of the new department.
- VETO: Recall elections of city,
village, town or school district officials. Veto deletes revisions
to the procedures.
- Fund state residential schools in 2/3 calculation.
- Reject Assembly provision allowing TEACH grants to be given to private
- Require public utilities to provide DOA with energy billing and
use data for public schools.
- Beginning in 2002-2003, prohibit districts from starting school
before September 1. Specify that DPI could only grant a waiver of
this requirement if it determines there are extraordinary reasons
for granting it. Require DPI to promulgate rules to implement and
administer this provision.
- Allow school districts to hold their annual meetings before May
15 or after October 31. Current law requires that meetings may not
be held before May 15 or after September 30.
- Require all public and private schools to offer the Pledge of Allegiance
or the national Anthem in grades one to twelve each school day; allow
schools to adopt a policy requiring school uniforms; require schools
that offer human growth and development classes to offer instruction
in marriage and parental responsibility; encourage armed forces veterans
to visit schools to discuss their experiences as veterans and establish
certain special observance days in statute.
- Establish a children's vision initiative.
- $223,700 - Aid increase for the Badgerlink program.
- $220,000 - aid increase for County Children with Disabilities Education
- $217,800 - aid increase for school breakfast programs
- Rename the morning milk program the school day milk program.
For More Information:
Please feel free to contact Bob Burke, WEAC Legislative Program Coordinator,
with any questions relating to the information contained in this summary.
Bob can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone at 800-362-8034 ext. 254.
Posted August 30, 2001