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Letter from Rep. Petryk: Republicans request funding for K-12 Public Education

MADISON -- A group of Assembly Republicans sent a formal request to Co-Chairs Nygren and Darling of the Joint Finance Committee to review and increase funding for Wisconsin's K-12 public education.

"The Governor's budget proposal does not provide enough funding for our public schools," stated Representative Petryk (R-Eleva). "We must do better to provide support for our state's students and educators. With a strong and successful public education system, Wisconsin's economy can continue grow and prosper."

Going into the 2011-13 biennial budget, lawmakers were facing a $3.6 billion deficit and were forced to make considerable cuts to state programs, including funding for K-12 education, in order to balance the budget. The state in now in a better position financially and has a projected surplus going into the next budget biennium, according to the latest revenue estimates by the nonpartisan Fiscal Bureau.

"Rural schools deal with challenges such as declining enrollments and high transportation costs," said Representative Krug (R-Rome). "They face significant issues that larger school districts don't. In light of the state budget surplus and the surplus recently discovered in the UW budget, I intend to advocate that a portion of the excess funds be directed to rural school districts."

The Legislators are hopeful that this issue will be a top priority for the members of the Joint Finance Committee and that a clear plan for funding will be added to the budget proposal.

"While it's important that we continue to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars, it is also very important we look out for schools by putting a reasonable amount of money back into K-12 education," said Representative Larson (R-Colfax). "With that said, we would like to see an increase in funding come from the state, and not have it be put on the backs of property taxpayers."

The request to the Co-Chairs of Joint Finance was sent today. Please see the attachment to review the request and to see the list of supporters.