State Budget

ThoseGuys119, flickr

On Tuesday, the legislature’s budget committee will vote on funding for K-12 schools. One item Gov. Walker has included is a phase-out of Chapter 220. He says participation is minimal.

Wisconsin created the program to integrate public schools in Milwaukee, after a federal judge declared them segregated in 1976.  The state hailed Chapter 220 as a voluntary way to desegregate Milwaukee’s public schools. It paid for black and white students to attend schools farther away from home, in order to make them more racially balanced.

Milwaukee Public Schools will hold the final public hearing Thursday on its proposed budget for next school year. The district faces a $29-million deficit brought on by falling state and federal aid.

Gov. Walker has proposed cutting $127 million from public schools next year. That number could change when lawmakers take up K12 spending in coming weeks, but if it doesn’t, MPS would lose $12 million. On top of that, Superintendent Darienne Driver says the district’s federal funding is going down by $17 million.

Republicans in Madison have dialed back one of Gov. Walker’s spending cuts for public radio and television. The Joint Finance Committee on Tuesday voted to reduce state aid to the Educational Communications Board by about $2.3 million. Walker had proposed a cut about twice that size.

The Educational Communications Board partners with UW Extension to operate Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television. The board also manages emergency alert systems and develops Wisconsin-specific educational materials for K12 schools. WUWM in Milwaukee is not affiliated with the ECB.

Gov. Walker has asked legislators to abandon his proposal to merge WEDC and WHEDA, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.

The Legislative Audit Bureau released a study Friday morning indicating that the public-private Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, WEDC, has not complied with Wisconsin law.

Richie Diesterheft, flickr

Wisconsin is one step closer to changing the way it funds its state parks. 

Republicans on the Joint Finance committee advanced Gov. Walker’s plan Thursday to pull back state funding for parks and let users and corporations pay.

Wisconsin isn’t the only state searching for new ways to fund its parks, according to Republican Sen. Tom Tiffany.

Justin W Kern

    

Wisconsin received disappointing budget news on Wednesday. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau told the state not to expect additional tax revenue to roll in, over the next two years.

State leaders were hoping revenue would exceed expectations, so they could restore some cuts Gov. Walker made in his budget.

Walker says he had hoped for better news, so he would not have to carry out his plan to cut $127 million from K-12 education.

Wisconsin's State Capitol
Ann Althouse, Flickr

State leaders had hoped additional tax money would enable them to restore funding for public schools and reduce a proposed $300 million cut to the UW System.

But, according to projections from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, there will be no extra revenue over the next two years.

beautifulcataya, flickr

In anticipation of state budget cuts, University of Wisconsin Chancellor Rebecca Blank says the flagship campus will have to eliminate approximately 400 positions and end some programs and restructure others. She specifically cites the fields of information technology, agriculture and the arts.

Gov. Walker cuts state funding for the UW System by $300 million in his two-year budget proposal. Republican leaders say they hope to reduce the cuts, particularly if state revenue increases by the end of the current fiscal year.

robbyb, flickr

The Legislature’s budget committee, on Wednesday, began digging into Gov. Walker’s proposed budget for Wisconsin. Before the meeting, Republican leaders removed 14 policy items the governor had tucked into his plan. 14 of 49.

Among those removed was Walker’s proposal to make the Natural Resources Board an advisory one.

UWM Officials Announce Buyout Program

Apr 14, 2015
Adelie Freyja Annabel, Flickr

UW-Milwaukee officials on Monday explained details of a new buyout offer for employees. The plan encourages faculty and staff who are close to retirement to leave early.

The campus stands to lose as much as $40 million in state aid over the next two years, if lawmakers approve Gov. Walker’s budget. One way UWM is looking to deal with the shortfall is through a buyout program.

Chancellor Mark Mone says the university will offer the deal to about 300 of its 4,500 employees.

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