State agencies released their 2019-21 budget requests on Monday. These requests help inform the Governor’s development of their budget bill, which will be introduced in January or February of 2019.
Educational Communications Board (ECB)
ECB’s full request can be seen here: https://doa.wi.gov/budget/SBO/2019-21%20225%20ECB%20Budget%20Request.pdf
Media Lab: Most notably, they are requesting $500,000 of state GPR funding in Fiscal Year 2020 and 2021 to reinstate funding for Wisconsin-based K-12 educational media production. State funding was eliminated for this programming in the 2015-17 state budget.
“Wisconsin’s students need and deserve equitable access to effective and engaging educational media, particularly in curriculum areas specific to Wisconsin,” writes ECB in their request.
Public Instruction (DPI)
DPI’s full request can be seen here: https://doa.wi.gov/budget/SBO/2019-21%20255%20DPI%20Budget%20Request.pdf
As you have likely read, DPI is requesting a $1.4 billion increase for schools.
State Superintendent Tony Evers writes in a cover letter that DPI’s budget request responds to challenges raised by citizens and school throughout the state by: “ending the decade-long freeze on special education funding; prioritizing student mental health; restoring and expanding crucial student supports; and reforming our broken school finance system.”
Specifically, DPI proposes:
- A $600 million investment in special education, increasing the reimbursement rate from 25% to 60%, while expanding funding for English learners and rural schools;
- Nearly $64 million more for student mental health funding;
- Funding for full-day 4K, funding for afterschool programs, and initiatives targeted to Wisconsin’s largest urban school districts;
- Reforming the school finance system. DPI says this will guarantee a minimum amount of state general education aid for each student of $3,000. The plan also includes indexing the revenue limit adjustment to inflation and eliminates the School Level Tax Credit and First Dollar Credit and folds them into the state general equalization aid formula (a full description of the plan can be found on page 13 of the budget request)
- Two-thirds state funding for schools.
Library and educational technology items include:
Personal Electronic Computing Device Grants: DPI continues funding of the one-to-one device program created by the last state budget. Their request provides $9.1 million in each year of the biennium.
School Library Aids (estimate): DPI estimates that school libraries will receive $37 million in aid each year. This is an estimate of the Common School Fund distributions.
Public Library System Aid: DPI requests an additional $2.5 million in funding for public libraries in the first year of the biennium and an additional $4 million in the second year of the biennium. According to DPI, this is being done in part to maintain a one-time funding increase of $1.5 million received by public libraries in the last state budget biennium that is set to expire. DPI writes in its budget request that: “The present level of funding jeopardizes the current status of full participation by all libraries in the state. If public libraries do not participate, access to public library service by non-residents is reduced or eliminated.” The Wisconsin Library Association has said that they would use the additional funds “to address workforce development, technology infrastructure, and promotion of lifelong learning.”
Library Service Contracts: DPI requests increased funding of $133,200 in the first year of the biennium and $168,100 in the second year of the biennium to fully fund the library service contracts. The contracts are currently held by: the Milwaukee Public Library (MPL), the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison), the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL), and the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC).
BadgerLink and Newsline for the Blind: DPI requests an increase of $345,800 in the second year of the biennium to fund BadgerLink contracts and Newsline for the Blind.
Wisconsin Reading Corps: DPI requests an increase of $700,000 in each year of the biennium for the Wisconsin Reading Corps. The program provides one-on-one literacy tutoring for students. Funding for the program is currently set to expire on June 20,2019. DPI is requesting that the program continue.
Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL)
BCPL’s full budget request can be read here: https://doa.wi.gov/budget/SBO/2019-21%20507%20BCPL%20Budget%20Request.pdf
BCPL submitted a cost-to-continue budget to fund current agency operations. They say that the BCPL is currently “managing more trust assets than at any time in agency history.” This includes the Common School Fund.