(The Center Square) – The Republicans who will write Wisconsin’s next state budget want to know why some schools in the state are getting thousands of dollars per-student, while others are only getting a few hundred.
Rep. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, and Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, said on Tuesday that a new analysis from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau shows a huge disparity between school districts across Wisconsin in the amount of money they are getting from the recent federal stimulus plans.
“We have districts getting over $10,000 per pupil and others getting a few hundred dollars per pupil,” Born said. “The way that Congress distributed these funds does not treat students equally in Wisconsin.”
Wisconsin’s haul of school stimulus money comes to $2.5 billion. It’s split into several different pots, depending on when it was approved by Congress. All schools in the state are guaranteed to get something, but the state’s largest and most urban school districts are getting millions.
Milwaukee Public Schools will receive $797 million. That is one-third of all stimulus money being sent to Wisconsin. Racine schools are set to receive $85 million, Kenosha schools are expecting $72 million, and Madison schools are scheduled to get $70 million.
Compare that to the $1.4 million that suburban Elmbrook schools are getting, or the $745,535 that Cedarburg schools are set to get. Both of those school districts will receive less than $300 per-student. MPS’ per-student haul is more than $11,000.
“Many school districts have dedicated significant resources and efforts to teach our kids safely and effectively,” Marklein said. “Yet, some of those schools are receiving significantly less than schools that are closed for in-person learning. This formula is not providing aid where it should.”
The two Republicans are not proposing any solutions for the disparities. Republican lawmakers tried to give themselves some say in how Wisconsin’s stimulus money is spent, but Gov. Tony Evers scuttled that proposal with a veto last week.