- Gov. Evers proposed a plan to give another $2 billion to Wisconsin public schools.
- Tim Michels believes students should be eligible for universal school choice.
- DPI’s data suggests that English language arts proficiency was down 16% in 2021.
- Evers refused additional funding for a school that serves special needs students.
- Evers has vetoed a bipartisan literacy bill and is in favor of capping school choice enrollment, denying students equal access to a quality education regardless of zip code.
Michels released a statement on Twitter on September 6th, 2022 slamming Governor Tony Evers for failing Wisconsin schools while in office.
He tweeted, “The tired, old Evers approach does not work. He’s spent his career in education, and our schools keep getting worse, especially MPS. I will get Wisconsin headed in the right direction.” Michels added a photo below it explaining how he would like to see schools change if he becomes Governor of Wisconsin:
With just nine weeks until the election, plus when many school districts begin their year, the candidates for Governor of Wisconsin are trying to make their plans clear on how they’ll be spending American tax dollars on schools. Gov. Evers plans to spend around $2 billion more on public schools, while his opponent Tim Michels states that he wants students to be eligible for school choice. His idea involves programs such as vouchers that utilize taxpayer-funded money to pay for private schools.
Evers $2 billion-dollar plan includes:
- $10 million for programs focused on reading/literacy
- $5 million to teach kids how to handle their money wisely
- $20 million for before/after school programs
- $240 million for mental health programs
- $750 million to increase special ed aid, increasing reimbursement rates from 30% to 45% in 2023-2024.
- $800 million to prevent property taxes from rising while increasing revenue limits by $350 per pupil in 2023-2024, and $650 in 2024-2025
Conservatives, along with Michels, believe that there is enough money invested in education to provide students with universal choices. For example, Tim Michels stated in an interview with Fox6, “You’ve been throwing more and more and more money at education over the decades. I believe there is enough money in education for universal school choice.”
Michels commented on his ideas for the future, “Universal school choice will bring competition into the education marketplace. Competition is a great motivator. It will bring greater efficiency and a greater focus on education. We will empower parents. We will get back to the ABCs, and we will stop the CRT.”
Republicans point out the federal government’s COVID-19 aid, more than $2.6 billion, was provided to Wisconsin schools already, in addition to what the state is giving these districts. Gov. Evers, former Wisconsin superintendent of public instruction, has battled over school funding with the Legislature. His newest plan is already facing rejection.
Evers says this is a “very important issue” and that “we just can’t have a press conference tomorrow by Republicans saying, ‘This is a bunch of crap,’ or, ‘We’re not going to do this.’ We have to do this. If we want to finally make a difference for kids, we have to do this.”
From 2009 to 2019, Evers was the Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction. In 2019, he became Governor of Wisconsin. Evers refers to himself as the “Education Governor,” yet we can’t see the improvements or value he has added to Wisconsin schools aside from throwing money at them.
Despite funneling over $5 billion in federal and state support to Wisconsin’s education system in recent years, more money is the only plan Evers has. DPI’s data suggests that English language arts proficiency was down 16% in 2021. Evers also refused additional funding for a school that serves special needs students.
In addition, Evers has vetoed a bipartisan literacy bill and is in favor of capping school choice enrollment, denying students equal access to a quality education regardless of zip code. Governor Evers also vetoed a bill that would permit any student in the state to qualify for a voucher. Among all this, Evers’ staff continues to push the message that metrics indicate we are headed in the right direction.
Anna Kelly, who was the Republican Party of Wisconsin Communications Director at the time, stated, “Tony Evers has adopted the same message that already failed for Democrats in Virginia: spend more, ignore parents, and kowtow to teachers unions. As students continue to struggle under Evers’ leadership, Wisconsin parents see past his empty rhetoric.” Today, Anna Kelly is the Michels campaign spokesperson.
Evers announced he would provide $90 million more in federal COVID-19 recovery money to schools, including $15 million for mental health and another $74 million to manage staffing issues. This money is out of the legislature’s hands, but the proposal laid out by Evers can still be addressed. The Governor proposes a budget, the Legislature can choose to pass or make changes to it, and then the Governor can sign or veto it.