Improving Education Outcomes to Prepare our Children for Success
Every child – regardless of his or her zip code –should have access to a great education; it is a moral imperative. Providing our children with a quality education will equip them with the skills necessary to thrive in their future endeavors. It is also an economic imperative to ensure our children are ready to compete in the new global economy.
Governor Walker has made significant investments aimed at transforming education to provide our students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. Because of our tough, but prudent, decisions, we are now able to invest in our public, private, charter, and choice schools.
The reforms enacted since 2011 saved school districts hundreds of millions of dollars and allowed each district to put more money directly into our children’s classrooms. Due to our reforms, Wisconsin can now put the best and the brightest in our classrooms – and we can pay to keep them there. School districts can now hire based on merit and pay based on performance. We finally have a way to recognize our exceptional teachers and reward them for the good work they do for our children.
Governor Walker’s 2015-17 Biennial Budget makes important investments in our children and increases state support for our schools by providing $105.6 million in 2016-17 for the school levy tax credit and $108.1 million in FY 2016-17 for equalization aids. This budget provides additional resources for rural schools by increasing funding for the Sparsity Aid Program and the High-Cost Pupil Transportation Programs.
Governor Walker’s budget further transforms education in Wisconsin by expanding school choice across the state, providing parents in any school district to with the opportunity to participate in the statewide school choice program by phasing out the cap on the number of school choice participants. Truly, every child deserves access to a great education, so his budget also creates a special education voucher program and increases the open enrollment payment for special education pupils to $12,000 while eliminating the ability of school districts to deny students from enrolling based on financial burden.
This budget provides additional tools for school districts and promotes efficiencies by allowing school districts to enter into Whole Grade Sharing Agreements, which will help districts to reduce costs and pool resources in order to meet the needs of their communities. We also expand the pool of licensed teacher options for schools by creating alternative pathways to allow people with real life experience to gain a teacher license.
This budget further supports our schools through the creation of the Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program for Milwaukee Public schools, a program focused on reforming certain low-performing schools.
Empowering a Stronger UW System
We are helping to make college more affordable for our state’s working families. For the first time in University of Wisconsin System history, tuition will be frozen for four years straight. It was important to us to double down on our historic two-year tuition freeze from our last budget for our students and their families.
Governor Walker’s 2015-17 budget positions the University of Wisconsin System to maximize its ability to remain a world leader in research and instruction by giving it greater flexibilities to manage compensation, human resources, procurement, capital projects, and other areas.