You may hear Democrats say that Republicans cut education. Here’s the truth:
In the 2003 budget, Democrats ended two-thirds funding for public schools and cut education. In his 2009-11 budget, Governor Doyle and Democrats cut public education by $284 million. They also didn’t offer any reforms to help districts bear that cut.
Governor Doyle left the state in a fiscal mess. We faced a massive $3.6 billion structural deficit, in part because he used one-time federal stimulus money to pay for ongoing education costs.
Every part of the government was cut in order to dig our state out of the hole that Democrats dug. Thanks to the reforms in Act 10, school districts were able to make up the dip in funding with savings in health care and pension cost.
Act 10 allowed school districts to have their employees pay for part of their pension and health care. That’s saved school districts $2 billion in pensions alone. They’ve saved billions more because districts could finally negotiate for health care. Those reforms are still saving taxpayers money.
It’s also important to note that districts that took the Act 10 reforms didn’t have to lay off teachers. Schools didn’t close and sports weren’t cut.
Since then schools have seen an increase in funding ever since. This year is no different. Funding for public education will top $12 billion thanks to a $500 million INCREASE we added to the budget. Our schools are getting more actual dollars than ever before and more of your tax dollars go to funding K-12 education than anything else in the budget.