When Gov. Tony Evers signed the Republican-leaning two-year state budget, he promised to put more than $100 million in federal pandemic relief money into schools because GOP lawmakers didn’t do enough.
In early December, Evers announced Wisconsin school districts would get an additional $134 per child through the $110 million in federal COVID-19 funds he was directing their way. And with his re-election race looming next year, he did a statewide swing to tout the move. Evers announced the funding during a stop in Milwaukee, where he was joined by state Superintendent Jill Underly. They also stopped in Chilton, Stevens Point and Holmen.
Joint Finance Committee Co-chair Mark Born says GOP lawmakers made targeted education investments in the budget, while the $110 million in federal money Evers announced for K-12 comes from a “slush fund” at the governor’s disposal.
“Governor Evers continues to say ‘what’s best for our kids is what’s best for our state,’ but if he truly believed that, he would have spent less time criticizing Republican plans to support and encourage in-person learning, and would have joined us in advocating for schools to reopen their doors,” the Beaver Dam Republican said.
The federal government has approved three different COVID-19 packages that include funding for schools. Some of that money, though, comes with restrictions on how and when it can be used.
Evers’ office said there are no time restrictions on when districts must use the $110 million. The money will be distributed on a per-pupil basis, amounting to about $134 per student.
“I’ve always said what’s best for our kids is what’s best for our state, and these funds will go a long way toward helping ensure our kids get the services and resources they need to rebound and recover,” Evers said.
A breakdown from the governor’s office shows Milwaukee Public Schools — the state’s largest district at nearly 72,000 students — will get $9.6 million. Norris School District in Mukwonago — the state’s smallest at 16 students — will receive $2,139.
The aid also will benefit independent charter schools with payments ranging from $669 for one with five students to $181,322 to one with 1,356 students.
See the distribution by district: https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/21123Schools.pdf
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