Walker Stops in La Crosse, Talks Education & the State Budget - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Walker Stops in La Crosse, Talks Education & the State Budget

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) -- The Governor again reiterated his desire to increase education funding Wednesday, but said it will not come through higher property taxes. 

"When we put more into our schools and education system we want to make sure we're not pushing that off on the property tax payers," Governor Scott Walker (R, Wisconsin) said. "We've been successful last the last two years where property taxes went down. It's important to us to keep property taxes low so workers are in a position to live here, to grow here and to work here in Wisconsin." 

The Governor stopped in La Crosse announcing the promotion of Reed Hall from interim CEO to permanent CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation -- a state agency responsible for attracting new businesses to Wisconsin while providing current businesses the chance to thrive. 

But the Governor also spoke to News 19 about his priorities for the upcoming budget. 
Walker has said one of those priorities is "transforming education." 

"We want to reward schools that have seen growth," Walker said. "For schools districts that have one or two schools that are failing, we'll certainly put money aside for that too." 

"But we're very much going to tie that money into a responsibility to give us a fundamental turnaround plan, or a corrective action plan," Walker said. "You don't get access to that money if you don't have a turnaround plan. Then you only get one chance. This would be a one-year grant those schools would be getting. They'd have one year to turn things around." 

But State Assembly Rep. Steve Doyle (D, Onalaska) said he's skeptical of the Governor's proposals. 

"I'm not sure how the Governor's numbers are adding up because he's got money adding to education, money he's adding back in to higher education, he's got income tax breaks that he's proposing for people," Doyle said, "all of that is adding up to well beyond what the surplus is. 

Wisconsin is currently running a surplus of roughly $340-million. 

The Governor said much of that will go towards an income tax cut for middle class families. 
But Walker remains confident he can still find money for schools. 

"We have revenue growth projected beyond this year's surplus, for the next two years," Walker said. "That's what will help us fund things like education." 

Doyle said, for the sake of Wisconsin's future workforce, he hopes the Governor is correct. 

"We have to remember that K through 12 schools are supposed to give many of us the skills we need to go out into the workforce," Doyle said. "For some people, you walk out of high school and go into a job." 

"So if we have too many kids in a classroom for example, they're all going to struggle and they're not going to get the education they'd get in a smaller classroom," Doyle added. 

"When you talk realtors and business people, one of things they always tell you is one of the attractions of a state  like Wisconsin is our education system. People move here because they like the quality of our schools," Doyle said. "If we lose that, we'll never get it back." 

Walker will deliver his budget proposal on February 20. 

 

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