Walker proposes big $649 million boost for K-12 schools

Gov. Scott Walker wants to pump $649 million more into K-12 schools, with more than half a billion dollars of that targeted to spend in the classroom rather than diverted to lowering property taxes.

Walker’s proposal to be released Wednesday comes as he’s expected to seek a third term in 2018. If approved by the Legislature it would increase the state’s share of total education costs to 64.6 percent, its highest level since 2009.

Walker says in an interview that he thinks the proposal will surprise a lot of people. The per-student funding increases match what was requested by the state Department of Public Instruction.

Walker says an improved economy makes it possible to increase spending now.

Fitzgerald unwilling to commit to Walker school aid increase

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he is unwilling to get behind Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to increase spending on K-12 schools by $649 million.

And he told reporters Monday he knows that some other Republican senators won’t get support it.

Fitzgerald says he wants to see how the spending increase for K-12 schools stacks up against other needs in the budget, including transportation and tax cuts.

Fitzgerald says he wants his full caucus to discuss the idea before he commits. He says, “I’m cautious and don’t want to commit to anything until I have a full discussion.”

Walker’s proposal has generated praise from public school advocates who had been asking for a $200 per-student funding increase that the governor is recommending.