Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget would eliminate $300 million worth of funding for the state’s university system, health care, food stamps and public media.
Now schools are trying to brace themselves for the impact.
The dean of University of Wisconsin at Rock County said faculty would be laid off — if Walker’s budget is approved, the school’s funding would be back to where it was in 1998.
At University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, one-quarter of the campus’ employees have been offered buyouts and the campus at Stevens Point said it would eliminate several majors, ThinkProgress reported.
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Primary schools will also lose $127 million next year because Walker’s budget will eliminate a $150 per-student fund that the school districts received over the last two years. Milwaukee public schools will lose more than $12 million.
"Over the last several years we’ve seen more kids in each classroom, less individual attention for children, and cuts to music, art and physical education programs,” said veteran Milwaukee fifth grade teacher Bob Peterson.
“There are also way fewer guidance counselors and social workers, and given the Depression-like economic conditions that are in the community here, that’s a real serious problem. They now don’t have time to give kids guidance around post-high school possibilities like technical schools, apprenticeships or college.”
Peterson now works with the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association. He said the education cuts are slated for property tax relief, which doesn’t benefit most families.
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“Walker keeps bragging that he’s reduced property taxes each year, but most people don’t see any real difference, and it has cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said. “You can see it’s a talking point he’s using in his very self-interested political campaign.”
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