Gov. Walker defends cuts to education - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Gov. Walker defends cuts to education


By Colby Robertson - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor Scott Walker is defending his 2011-2013 biennial budget and the proposed cuts to education.

Governor Scott Walker's biennial budget proposes an 8% cut of state aid to districts. It also reduces their ability to make up the difference through property taxes, but the Governor stands by his decision in a press conference Wednesday at the Capitol.

The Wisconsin Association of School Boards says Walker's biennial budget proposal of cutting $900 million is the largest cut to public education in modern Wisconsin history.

But, Governor Walker says that's why it was so important he sign his budget repair bill. He says his bill offsets the cuts and gives districts the tools they need to balance their own budgets.

Governor Scott Walker says, "Today we're releasing this information about all the school districts here in Wisconsin. Big and small, from rural to suburban and the benefits our budget reforms provide for them."

With the Superintendent from New Berlin by his side, they talked about the benefits districts will start to see because of the tools they're given.

New Berlin Superintendent Paul Kreutzer says, "This bill will allow us to retain teachers. We will not have to layoff one single teacher in the fiscal year we are about to encounter."

But other school district leaders say the cuts are devastating to the kids.

Tomah School Board Member Mary Ellen Justinger says, "What's happening in Madison is having a very negative affect on our kids in Tomah."

Hundreds of school administrators and board members from across the state came to the Capitol to speak one on one with legislators. It's something the Wisconsin Association of School Boards hosts every two years after the budget is announced.

WASB Government Relations Director Dan Rossmiller says, "These are the biggest cuts ever in Wisconsin funding for schools, state funding for schools the combination to the cuts in aide and revenue cuts are a significant challenge."

Governor Walker argues savings from stripping collective bargaining rights in the budget repair bill will negate the nearly $900 million reduction in school aide. He stands by the cuts hoping down the road, other school districts will join in support.

Governor Walker says, "It's good for our students at schools, it's ultimately good for our teachers because we're going to allow the best and brightest to stay in the classroom and we're giving the schools the tools they need not only now, but in years to come, to make sure they can protect those jobs and keep them in the classroom."

The Governor says another big advantage is that these reforms give districts the ability to hire and fire based on merit. Walker says teachers won't be judged solely on seniority, making sure the best teachers are in the classroom.

But State Superintendent Tony Evers says, "the per pupil revenue limits put in place by Walker's proposed biennial budget presents a crushing challenge to public school districts."


MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor Scott Walker met with school superintendents from various school districts in Wisconsin Wednesday afternoon to discuss the impact of the budget repair bill on schools.

Gov. Walker's proposal cuts 8 percent of state aid to districts and limits the ability to make up the difference through property taxes.

Last week, Gov. Walker passed a separate bill that forced teachers to pay more for their benefits.

Walker says those savings will help to negate the nearly $900 million reduction in school aids he is proposing in the two-year state budget.

Meanwhile, many teachers unions and school districts are working together to revise their bargaining agreements.

Read the revised budget repair bill signed by Gov. Walker.

Read Gov. Walker's full 2011-2013 executive budget.

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