Today, Governor Walker announced a $475.6 million investment in new state funds into public education and other quality opportunities for students throughout our state. The education initiatives in the Governor's upcoming budget focus on performance, accountability, achievement, and supporting teacher development.
"Every child, regardless of their zip code, deserves access to a great education, which is why it is so important to make sure all of our schools are performing well," said Governor Walker. "We need to reward and replicate success while providing tools to struggling schools to help them improve. Our goal is to help each school excel, so all of our kids have access to a world-class education."
The Governor's budget will make this significant investment aimed at transforming education to equip our students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. Initiatives will reward successes and provide incentives to drive achievement and accountability.
According to the 2012 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data and a recent Harvard study measuring states' progress in both reading and math, Wisconsin shows Wisconsin ranks 38th out of 41 states with complete data between 1992 and 2011. We need to help underperforming schools dramatically improve their results.
Among the education programs and initiatives funded in Governor Walker's budget are:
Performance and Accountability Initiatives:
K-12 School Equalization Aids: Invest an additional $129.2 million in our public schools by adding $42.9 million in fiscal year 2014 and $86.3 million in fiscal year 2015 to the public school equalization aid formula.
K-12 School Performance Incentive Program: In addition to increases in equalization aids, the state will create a new fund of $64 million in the 2014-15 school year based on performance on the school report cards.
Reward High-Performing Schools: $24 million will be awarded to schools with grades of "significantly exceeds expectations" or "exceeds expectations." $30 million will be awarded to schools that improve report card scores by at least three points (out of 100 total) over the prior year. Although school districts are permitted to set policies regarding district wide objectives for use of awards, awarded schools will have discretion over spending the awards. Awards could fund one-time items such as teacher bonuses, purchases of new technology, or facility upgrades.
Help Under-Performing School: $10M will be available as competitive grant funding for school districts that present innovative plans to turn around failing schools. Support for these districts recognizes the unique challenges faced by schools and provides opportunity and support for improvement.
Data Systems: Fund $13.9 million, which are the remaining funds needed to implement the Statewide Student Information System, and $6.6 million for the Longitudinal Data System and WISEdash interface.
UW Incentive Grant Program: The state will invest $20 million to support initiatives that further economic development, address employer needs through development of a skilled workforce, and improve affordability to students
UW Block Grant: Provide the University of Wisconsin System with increased flexibility through continued implementation of a block grant funding structure. In addition to other programs, the UW's block grant (adjusted base of $884.1 million) will see an additional $42.9 million in FY14 and $67.8 million in FY15
College Tuition Tax Deduction: Index the college tuition tax deduction to inflation to protect the value of the tax deduction for middle class taxpayers.
Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) Performance Funding: In addition, the budget will phase in performance funding for all of the state aid given to technical colleges. It will begin at 10 percent in 2014-15 and would eventually total all $88.5 million general aid through performance by 2020. This would be roughly one-tenth of WTCS school operational budgets. The funding formula would be developed by WTCS with DOA oversight. The formula would be required to have a focus on job placement and programs focused in high demand fields.
Wisconsin Covenant: Wisconsin will honor the commitment made by the prior administration to students by allocating $4 million in FY14 and $8 million in FY15 to cover the cost of tuition grants to students.
Governor Walker believes our children should be learning from the best and brightest in their classrooms. The Governor's budget also focuses on:
Supporting Our Teachers:
· Educator Effectiveness System: Provides $13.5 million to implement the system for evaluating all teachers and principals statewide, cover Department of Public Instruction (DPI) implementation, and approximately $80 per teacher to districts to purchase and implement the system.
· Teach for America: Funds $1 million for an expanded Teach for America presence in Milwaukee.
· WISELearn Portal: Teachers need tools that adapt to their style of teaching and best practices proven to get results so they can effectively tailor instruction to each child. The budget provides $1.5 million for WISELearn, which will include the development of an online portal that will offer blended learning opportunities for students, online content for teachers and students to grow, and tools for teachers to collaborate with peers and expand their reach through digital learning.
· SMARTER Balanced Assessments: Support the Department of Public Instruction in its effort to move away from the much-criticized WKCE test and towards a less burdensome, more useful test to be adopted in grades 4-8. $11.5 million will be included as a part of the ACT Suite.
K-12 Initiatives (Previously Announced):
Explore, Plan, ACT, WorkKeys: Fund $11.5 million over the biennium for the ACT, the WorkKeys (which measures work readiness), and the precursor Explore and Plan tests to help parents and teachers understand which students are ready for college or a career by 11th grade. Using these tests will allow schools to provide these students with opportunities to begin taking AP and other advanced course work, while ensuring 12thgraders who are behind get the remedial education they need to catch up. These tests are vital to measuring student academic growth in high schools for the purposes of state school report cards.
Read to Lead Screener: In 2011, Governor Walker convened a bipartisan group of legislators, researchers, teachers, and others under the Read to Lead Task Force. In 2012, he signed Act 166, which, among other reading and teaching reforms, paid for a screener to measure the literacy skills of every child as soon as he or she enters kindergarten. Beginning in the fall of 2013, we will follow the recommendations of the Task Force by extending the screener to 4K and 1st grade. The following year we will also add 2nd grade. The total cost of these additions will be $2,847,000 over the biennium.
Academic and Career Plans: Give every child the opportunity to create an academic and career plan based on his or her interests, beginning in 6th grade. These individualized plans, developed with and frequently revised by parents, teachers, and guidance counselors, will help make sure our children are on track to graduate with a diploma and a plan. Approximately $1.1 million will be provided to school districts to fund this effort beginning in the 2014-15 school year.
University of Wisconsin System Initiatives (Previously Announced):
Incentive Grant Program: Invest $20 million to support initiatives increasing economic development, addressing employer needs through development of a skilled workforce, and improving affordability.
UW Flexible Option: Fund $2 million to support start-up costs to develop additional programs and course offerings in the new UW Flexible Option degree program.
Core Credit Transfer: Ensure students, who have earned credits in general education courses, get to keep those credits, even if they transfer to another school. Require the UW and Technical Colleges to develop a core set of 30 credits transferrable between all institutions, while giving private and tribal colleges the option to participate as well.
Wisconsin GI Bill Tuition Remission: Align standards under the Wisconsin G.I. Bill with state veterans benefit programs in other states and eliminate an arbitrary time limit for spouses of veterans, who were disabled or killed in the line of duty, to use educational benefits.
Wisconsin Technical College System (Previously Announced):
Increased Aid and Flexibility for Workforce Training: Increase state general aids to technical colleges by $5 million. A growing percentage of these funds -- beginning in 2014-15 with 10% -- will be tied to performance to allow the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) to adjust its offerings to meet future skills gaps.
In addition, WTCS will be given flexibility over $22 million in existing funds related to worker training. WTCS can use these funds to incentivize training program expansion in areas of high-demand.