State bill to fund rural schools now heads for a vote - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

State bill to fund rural schools now heads for a vote

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MADISON (WKOW) -- More money for rural schools is one step closer to a reality for some districts. A school funding bill is heading for a vote after passing out of committee Thursday.

The bill would allow school districts to raise property taxes without voters approval. If a district spends less than $9,400 per student they would be allow to raise taxes. Governor Walker supports the plan now, but just weeks ago he vetoed a similar measure in the state budget.

Lawmakers took a different approach this time. If a district tried in the past to pass a referendum to increase property taxes, they would not be allowed to benefit from this bill.

Democrats say this unfairly targets districts who have tried in the past to raise funds.

“This is something schools in the rural area should have never had to question whats so ever, said Jon Erpenbach (D) Middleton. “The fact that we actually took money away from them and now where giving them money back to them, to me is kind of mean spirited, but again it gets down to the point that elections are right around the corner," said Erpenbach.

Bill sponsor Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) says he has the governor on board.

“It creates an inequity that’s been around for 25 years and this bill will take significant steps towards correcting that, it’s all about opportunity for kids.”

The measure now heads to the Assembly and Senate floor for a vote.

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