State representatives split on Gov. Walker's education budget pr - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

State representatives split on Gov. Walker's education budget proposal

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Wausau (WAOW) -- Education spending could be at an all time high in Wisconsin if Governor Scott Walker's budget proposal pans out. Walker is looking to increase funding by $649 million.

This comes after years of cutting funding, such as the $700 million slash in 2012. School leaders said they're hopeful for the possible increase.

"I'm cautiously optimistic until the Governor actually presents the budget," Wausau School District Chief Financial Officer Bob Tess said. "Very encouraging, this is the most education friendly budget we've seen in the last seven, eight years."

The Wausau School District was preparing for $1.2 million in budget cuts, but Walker's proposal would include giving schools an extra $200 per student, which would make a big difference.

"That's about $1.6 million in additional funding for the Wausau School District," said Tess. "We were prepared to be engaged in some pretty difficult conversations in the next couple months. We are in declining enrollment, we were anticipating no revenue increase."

Lawmakers are split on whether the money will be enough to help the issues facing schools.

"It was money taken away back in his first budget, I think he's seen the devastating affect it's had on rural schools," 43rd Assembly Representative Don Vruwink said. "That money will give a short term relief, it won't give up the money that was taken away, it doesn't address the biggest needs rural districts have."

85th Assembly Representative Pat Snyder disagrees.

"Now that our revenues are starting to pick up in the state I think the important thing we have to know education is a key," said Snyder.

For school leaders, they said the money is a step in the right direction.

Governor Walker will announce his budget in Madison Wednesday. Stay with Newsline 9 for coverage of the event.

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