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Major details of JFC K-12 budget plan adopted

On Thursday, May 23 the GOP members of the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC) passed an omnibus motion on K-12 education on a party-line vote.  The motion covers two fiscal years (2019-20/1st year & 2020-21/2nd year).  The total amount by which state funding for K-12 education is increased over those two years under the motion is approximately $500 million.

Below are highlights of that plan (numbers are rounded): (more…)

John Ashley statement on JFC K-12 budget package

“I want to recognize the Joint Finance Committee for voting to approve $500 million in increased investments in public schools. The proposal addressed top priorities of the WASB including the $200/$204 per pupil increase in spendable resources, the first increase in special education categorical aid in more than a decade and increases for student mental health services.  We also want to recognize the committee for helping historically low-spending districts by including an adjustment to the low-revenue ceiling. These items were important priorities on the WASB legislative agenda.

“Although $500 million is a significant investment, it is significantly less than what Gov. Tony Evers proposed ($1.4 billion) as well as less than what the Legislature approved in Gov. Scott Walker’s last budget ($635 million).

“We are hopeful the Legislature and Gov. Evers will continue to have discussions on the education budget. We look forward to working with all parties to meet the needs of all Wisconsin students.”

JFC sets vote on K-12 funding for Thursday, May 23

The Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) will meet in Executive Session to vote on K-12 education funding in the 2019-21 state budget on Thursday, May 23, 2019, at 11:00 a.m.  The meeting will be held in Room 412 East, State Capitol.  View meeting notice.

The committee will work from budget papers (see below) prepared by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB).  Those budget papers deal with specific subjects–e.g., revenue limit adjustments,  per pupil categorical aid, special education categorical aid, etc.  The budget papers provide background information and typically lay out a series of alternatives for the committee to consider on each topic. (more…)

New state revenue estimates up sharply, but increase is mostly one-time money

Yesterday, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) released updated revenue estimates indicating the state will end the 2017-19 budget cycle with an estimated ending balance of $928.7 million, $312.2 million higher than had been forecast earlier.

That is positive news as the additional revenue could be used to increase state aid to schools. However, because most of the additional $753 million in state revenue will be collected in the current fiscal year that ends June 30, achieving such aid increases will require strong advocacy from school leaders, parents and other education proponents.

In a memo to the JFC Co-Chairs, the LFB said: “Based on our review of collections data and the economic forecast, we now believe that general fund taxes will be higher than the previous estimates by $592 million in 2018-19, $68 million in 2019-20, and $93 million in 2020-21. The three-year increase is $753 million, or 1.5%.” (more…)

JFC action on educational technology

As mentioned in our previous post, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) voted on several educational technology budget provisions today.

The JFC approved the Governor’s twin recommendations to extend the sunset of the IT infrastructure grant program to June 30, 2021 and to reduce the amount awarded under the IT infrastructure grant program from $7.5 million per year to $3 million per year.

The JFC also approved the Governor’s recommendation to eliminate the technology training grant program, which had been funded at $1.5 million per year.

As a result of today’s votes, funding for these two TEACH grant programs  will decrease from $9 million per year to $3 million per year, in line with the governor’s recommendations.