Gov. Scott Walker said Thursday he does not want to penalize school districts that increase operating revenues through referendum votes, putting him at odds with some Republican lawmakers who put forth that proposal last month.
Walker made those comments after speaking to students at Pecatonica High School.
Voters in the Pecatonica School District approved an additional $325,000 for operating expenses on a recurring basis April 4th, joining residents in dozens of other communities who chose to raise their own taxes.
Those are the kinds of votes Governor Walker hopes school districts can avoid in the future and thinks they will be able to if the state legislature approves his request to add an additional $650,000 K-12 public schools in the 2017-19 budget.
Some Republican legislators are already saying enough is enough when it comes to those referendums.
Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) recently proposed a bill that would cut state aid for any district that raises money for operating expenses through future referendums.
But Governor Walker indicated he wouldn't support such a measure.
"The question might be whether or not the aidable assistance goes up. realistically, if there was anything, that would be more of the adjustment, it wouldn't be taking money away," said Gov. Walker. "It would just a be a question of whether you'd be giving more to those districts who choose to do that, because one of the other complaints I hear from school districts is, if they choose not to do that, they feel like they're penalized if they operate within their budgets and somebody else goes beyond that. But I certainly wouldn't penalize it."
However, Gov. Walker does agree with at least one reform suggested by Sen. Stroebel, which would only allow districts to schedule referendum votes to coincide with spring or fall general elections.