Governor Walker plans to invest nearly $12 billion into K-12 education over the next two years. The League of Women Voters discussed the history of education funding in Wisconsin with La Crosse School District administrator Janet Rosseter weighing in on the budget proposal.
According to Rosseter, the amount of referendums in Wisconsin public schools is at an all time high.
"There have been more referendums in the past few years. As revenue limits as that time span has gone on where we've had more of an impact with them, then school districts are looking to revenue limits to expand their capacity," Rosseter said.
Some referendums are project specific, others are operational and needed to simply keep schools running.
"I think you're going to see a dramatic reduction of referendum questions because as they get the highest amounts we've ever had in K-12, for most school districts it's going to remove any incentive or need to have a referendum question on the ballot," said Gov. Scott Walker during a visit to De Soto School District on Tuesday morning.
Rosseter said it will be tough to turn that proposal into a reality.
"It's not something that we want to bank on. It's something that we need to take into consideration with different proposals," she said. "We've heard some legislators say that the proposal as it's proposed right now may be difficult to come through with. So we just need to plan in a continuum and see where we go."
Gov. Walker is aware of the challenges ahead but is optimistic it will be approved.
"My hope is that they'll see what I've seen by listening to people in every county of the state," Gov. Walker said. "And that is, workforce is the number one issue, and top of the list if you're talking about preparing for workforce needs now and in the future is making sure our students in every school district--whether it's rural or urban or suburban and anything in between--that every student has access to a great education."
The K-12 investment will go toward different education areas including transportation, mental health services, and energy efficient initiatives.
Lawmakers are in the early stages of discussing the budget. The final budget will not be approved until July 1, 2017.