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October 17, 2019

9/27/2019 11:19:00 AM
The rest of the story needs to be told

Dear Editor:
Senator Marklein addresses rural schools in his latest E-Update and, as usual, the rest of the story needs to be told.
The senator says, "...the legislature's budget invested $500 million more for schools...For rural Wisconsin, we directed more funding through the Equalization Aids formula."  True.  However, the legislature's budget contained $1.4 billion LESS in education funding than Gov. Evers' budget, and much of this was to be distributed through the Equalization Aid program.
"...we increased per-pupil aid" , he says, but the Governor had to use his veto pen to increase what they had authorized by $65 million which still isn't enough to cover the two-thirds of the public school funding via the budget as the Governor initially sought.
"We doubled the current funding for student mental health programs."  The legislature allocated $3 million instead of the $22 million Gov. Evers' proposed.  In addition, the legislature removed $2.58 million for staff training in mental health issues.
In the area of training, the legislature removed Gov. Evers' proposal to allow schools to hire QUALIFIED retired teachers.  Instead, Sen. Marklein and Rep. Tranel are touting Senate Bill 183 which waives current certification requirements for Special Education Teachers.
All of a sudden that "$500 million more for schools" looks pretty stingy compared to the Governor's proposed budget and makes one consider how badly the previous administration had funded schools.  Public schools, and especially rural public schools are still desperately underfunded and that is nothing to brag about, Senator Marklein.
Jill Gaskell, Blanchardville

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