GREEN BAY, Wis (WFRV) Wisconsin's Superintendent for Public Instruction wants more money set aside for education in the next budget.
It's called the "Fair Funding For Our Future" plan, and it would give schools an additional $615 million over the next two years. One lawmaker, however, is saying not so fast.
Green Bay teachers hope the proposed increase will reduce class sizes and stop programs like music from being cut, but State Senator Robert Cowles says, it will be hard to give that much spending a stamp of approval.
Wisconsin's education budget is shrinking.
"Programs will be cut if the money doesn't get put back in the budget," says Green Bay Education Association President Lori Cathey.
In 2011, according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the state legislature cut over $700 million from the education budget. Cathey estimates that number has doubled going into next year's budget talks.
A $615 million increase in spending could turn things around, including in Green Bay.
"My hope is that it will help keep class sizes low and increase the amount of opportunities available to the students here in Green Bay," says Cathey.
But Cowles doesn't believe Evers will get everything he wants.
"They shoot for the moon to start off, and they will have to settle for probably something less," says Cowles.
Other agencies, like the Department of Natural Resources and Work Force Development are asking for similar dollars. He says the state will also have to find money to pay for Medicaid, all possibly taking away from that $615 million figure.
"The question is, how much are we able to do based on the growth in the economy, and that component we don't know yet," says Cowles.
That will come when the non-partisan State Fiscal Bureau releases their estimate of available revenue over the next couple of months.
Cathey hopes, when the numbers come in, there will be money there for schools.
"It's going to be a difficult budget cycle, but I think they really need to invest in education," she says.
Senator Cowles says, to put the request in perspective, $615 million is about 5.5% of the state budget.
Governor Walker will release his proposed budget in January.