Budget Committee Approves Largest K-12 Investment in State History
This week, the budget committee made the largest investment ever in our children's education. Funding for K-12 school aid in this budget will increase $639.3 million. Our budget also focuses on education reform and innovation.
We are not giving up on the failing schools in our state. This budget provides $3.6 million for improvements to schools in districts that fail to meet expectations and all schools in the Milwaukee Public School System (MPS). To help kids stay engaged and to better prepare them for the new school year, we also are providing $1.4 million in grants for Summer School Programs in MPS or any school in a district that fails to meet expectations.
There is a growing mental health crisis in our state, so we are expanding access for mental health services for students. This budget provides $3.25 million for Community and School Mental Health grants which will encourage schools to work with community mental health agencies.
There is a nation-wide teacher shortage, especially in rural areas. Wisconsin is not immune to this problem. We are addressing the shortages head on. The budget provides $500,000 annually to encourage undergrads to work in rural areas. Rural districts will get the help they need and it will encourage more students to take jobs in rural areas when they graduate.
Not only is there a teacher shortage, but school districts are struggling to find high-quality leaders for their schools. This budget will create a pilot loan program to help train leaders for our schools.
We are continuing to give school districts more ways to save money. This budget will encourage districts to share services. This change will allow more rural communities to offer services such as Reading Specialists, Bilingual-Bi Cultural Education Programs, emergency nursing services, guidance counseling, technical preparation programs, and gifted and talented services. Making sure students have access to these programs and services will better prepare them for the real world of work.
Education is a large chunk of the state budget, but it's more than just money. I am pleased how we were able to invest, reform, and innovate to make sure our kids are prepared for the future. You can hear my comments on our efforts to protect teachers