News that the Legislature is considering cutting off funding for the state’s public schools and slashing funding for Wisconsin’s schools has stirred the ire of many students, parents and teachers who say it is a dangerous, anti-education bill that will undermine school safety and negatively affect children.
The proposal, if passed, would mean the end of the Wisconsin School Resource Officers program, a $5.6 million program that provides grants to school districts to provide education-related services to the most vulnerable students, and would effectively shut down state funding to schools that do not meet state standards, said David Schumacher, executive director of Wisconsin Parent Association.
The legislation was first reported by The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The AP did not say what it would cost to implement the cuts.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Madison are also pushing for a referendum on the issue.
They are planning a Tuesday night meeting to discuss the issue and to vote on the referendum.
If passed, the referendum would allow voters to overturn any cut in school funding.
Under current law, Wisconsin schools receive about $1 billion a year in funding from the state Department of Education, which helps cover the cost of educating children, including transportation, textbooks, supplies and uniforms.
Wisconsin School Districts receive another $1.6 billion from the Department of Health.
The Legislature has passed three bills in the past two years that would cut school funding and would likely require lawmakers to approve them, but lawmakers have rejected the idea.
One such bill in 2016 passed the Legislature by a vote of 54-34 but was vetoed by Gov.
The next year, the Legislature passed a bill that would have cut off school funding, but Walker vetoed it as well.
The proposed cuts in school spending would be made permanent.
They would apply to all school districts in Wisconsin, which has a population of about 14.5 million people.
The cuts would not affect schools serving Milwaukee, Wausau, Racine, Kenosha and Racine counties.
The governor said in his veto message that the Wisconsin Education Fund would no longer be funded to support the services provided to students, including in-person and online education.
He said the state would stop providing the funds to districts for the next school year, and he has asked the Legislature to reverse that decision.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.