And specifically, the US Department of Ed is telling the WisGOPs that their scheme to shove $350 million into the state's rainy day fund is not an "investment" into K-12 education.
The U.S. Department of Education is already warning Wisconsin that the Joint Finance Committee underfunded schools so extensively yesterday that Wisconsin may not meet the requirements for schools to get emergency aid from the American Rescue Plan. https://t.co/JoVFtSwcKY pic.twitter.com/VejfwI5iSa— Tamarine Cornelius (@Tamarine608) May 28, 2021
It has come to our attention that the Wisconsin legislature is considering an omnibus motion as it finalizes the State’s 2021-2023 biennial budget. It is our understanding that, as part of this motion, the State would transfer $350 million from Wisconsin’s general fund to a budget stabilization fund in the second year of the biennium. These funds would be available for appropriation by the legislature for K-12 education or for any other purpose. We are concerned that this proposal may have an impact on the ability of the State and its local educational agencies (LEAs) to comply with Federal fiscal requirements if the funds, in fact, are not appropriated for K-12 education. Each of the Federal pandemic relief statutes – the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act), the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (the CRRSA Act), and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the ARP Act) – contain maintenance of effort (MOE) requirements that apply to States that receive Federal education support. Specifically, as a condition of receiving funds under the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, Wisconsin assured that it would maintain State fiscal effort for both elementary and secondary education and for higher education in fiscal years (FYs) 2020 through 2023. These provisions are designed to ensure that States do not reduce support for education because of the influx of Federal financial assistance and that students receive the much-needed supports and services that the additional Federal resources are intended to provide. The failure of the Wisconsin legislature to appropriate sufficient levels of funds specifically for K-12 education may preclude the State from meeting applicable MOE requirements. Specifically, Wisconsin may not consider funds that the legislature transfers to the budget stabilization fund to be State support for K-12 education until such time as those funds are appropriated by the legislature for the sole purpose of supporting K-12 education and made available to school districts for their use during the applicable fiscal year. Consequently, the $350 million that the State might transfer to the budget stabilization fund may not be considered State support for education at the time of the transfer unless it is actually appropriated for K-12 education for the applicable fiscal year and not “for any other purpose.”But maybe the WisGOPs are just fine with that scenario. Check out the responses from the two WisGOPs that chair the Joint Finance Committee, starting with the State Senator from a swingy SW Wisconsin district who has constantly told his constituents that he's an "independent voice".
On Friday, budget committee co-chairpersons Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, and Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, dismissed the warning. “My position remains the same as it was yesterday,” Marklein said in a statement. “We will continue to consider the potential impact of the (minimum state funding thresholds) for the future, but we will not paralyze our state budget process.”Oh, I dunno Howie. I'd say not knowing whether $2.2 billion will be yanked out of the budget due to your stupid games might "paralyze our state budget process." Especially if Governor Evers would veto the entire budget and tell you gerrymandered dopes to start over and get it right. Marklein's Assembly counterpart, Rep. Mark Born from Beaver Dam, let the mask slip with his response, with a nice side-order of race-baiting and resentment.
In another statement, Born called the amount of federal funding schools are slated to receive (if requirements are met) “obscene,” and questioned whether it was legal for Evers to have accepted such federal funds given that the federal government has imposed additional requirements on the Republican Legislature during the budget process. “Ultimately, this is a political letter sent by a Biden bureaucrat at the request of a hyper partisan liberal-democrat from Dane County who cut state aid for K-12 education when he was Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Finance,” Born said, referring to U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Black Earth, who asked the Department of Education about the funding thresholds.In addition to the whininess and Koched-up BS, it's cute how Born tries to compare the time of the Great Recession, when Federal aid was badly needed to backstop a major lack of state revenue. That's not today's situation, where Wisconsin is likely to have $2.5 billion or more in surplus at the state level as the 21-23 biennium begins. we didn't need $810 million in infrastructure funds to build a high-speed rail line that connected Minneapolis, Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago. And Walker also turned down $23 million in federal funds to extend broadband to underserved (and mostly rural areas) 1 month after taking office. Wisconsin Eye's Rewind show spends a good 15-20 minutes on it this week. I'll embed the video when it pops up on their YouTube channel, but there's a lot to unpack there, including the possibility that WisGOPs TeaBag the budget and do nothing if Evers were to veto the whole thing.
Post a Comment