To the Editor,

Governor Walker touts the “historic education investments” he included in his budget proposal. But truthfully, he should be saying, “partial restoration of education investments!”

Past $1.2 billion cuts in public education were a “historic disinvestment.” Biggest in state history and arguably the biggest in the nation! Public education still has not been made whole. His statewide listening sessions have moved him to focus on this issue and thus he has made an education investment that starts to fix the problems that occurred with the severe cuts. Another possible influence for action is that the next gubernatorial election is approaching!?

The governor also says he is fulfilling his promise of tax relief...$8 billion by 2018. But we need to qualify talk that responsible budgeting along with “reform dividends” put the state in great shape. Challenges faced in education, corrections, healthcare, the environment, transportation, and others, have been made worse by the questionable budgeting...including complicated/unfair/inequitable taxation schemes.

Our Legislature's Joint Finance Committee leaders said lawmakers will “likely” keep intact the $649 million increase for K-12 schools proposed by Gov. Scott Walker. Teachers, administrators, school board members, parents, and public education advocates turned out in great numbers to speak in support of that increase at six public hearings. Many more sent written testimony!

The Finance Committee continues their deliberations on the budget. On May 1st, the budget moves into Executive Session... but open-to-the-public. Committee discussions and voting will occur during May and into June. The Assembly and Senate will consider the final budget in June with the Governor expected to sign it by July 1st.

We should not take it for granted that the public education investment figure will stay at the proposed level. Stay in contact with your legislators to make sure they stay on track to make public education whole again! John Binder


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