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Sat Jun 26, 2021, 02:05 AM

Angst and uncertainty over Wisconsin's budget for schools [View all]

Blaise Paul, the business manager for the school district of South Milwaukee, calls the Republican budget for schools “the very definition of fiscal irresponsibility.”

“It’s shocking to me,” he says. Back at the beginning of the year, Paul says he wasn’t worried about the state budget. He knew the state revenue picture was good and he expected the Legislature would maintain its commitment to fund schools with at least an inflationary increase. Instead, when he and other school district officials met with their state Rep. Jessie Rodriguez (R-Oak Creek), she informed them that there would be no per pupil increase in spending in the Republican budget — “a goose egg,” as Paul put it.

“I’m not a Republican, I’m not a Democrat, I’m a school official that wants to do right by all of our kids,” says Paul, “and a budget that would provide an inflationary increase would be doing right by our kids. Instead, this is a budget that provides no inflationary increase. And I don’t understand why.”

When school district officials asked how they could maintain school programs, Rodriguez told them to use federal COVID relief funds through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) program, “which completely caught me off guard, because those funds are for rebounding from the worst pandemic we’ve seen in 100 years,” says Paul. The Legislature’s idea that the district should use COVID relief money to cover ongoing operational expenses was so irresponsible, it “shocked me to my core,” he says.

Read more: https://wisconsinexaminer.com/2021/06/25/angst-and-uncertainty-over-wisconsins-budget-for-schools/

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TexasTowelie Jun 2021 OP
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