By Joe Bachman
“Find what you love in life and figure out a way to get paid to do it.”
Advice given by Governor Scott Walker to a classroom full of Lincoln High School students in his visit on Friday afternoon. Walker visited with students and school staff to discuss an array of topics, from K-12 public education in relation to the state budget, to unemployment and college tuition expenses.
“We’re pleased to tell you today that we are putting more money into K-12 education than we’ve ever put in the state’s history,” said Walker. “The school districts are getting an additional amount for every student that goes up both years of the state budget. We also have additional incentives for students to succeed in whatever your career choices may be.”
Governor Walker also boasted about the raise in budget funds for the UW-system, as well as funds for technical colleges. Walker didn’t hesitate to bring up the tuition freeze currently in effect for Wisconsin college students.
“If we’re going to continue to have people prosper in this state, I’ve got to continue to have more people with the education and skills to succeed — and that’s why we’re here today.”
Walker also addressed local concerns regarding school funding for education, especially when it comes to what to expect for his ‘per-pupil’ aid proposal in the state budget. Under the budget, per-pupil aid would increase by $200 per student.
“I’m only one person, so I can’t guarantee what 132 people do — what I’ve seen is some feedback from a few in the legislature that this was a bigger amount than they expected — it’s the most that’s been put into public education in the state of Wisconsin,” said Walker. “We thought it was worthy because of our workforce issues in the state and the need to make sure with a series of other programs we were building the foundation in our K-12 school systems.”
Some within the local school board have been hesitant to take these numbers to be exact, and plan to budget frugally because of it. However, the Governor seems confident that the figures will hold.
“Every time I go to another school and every day that goes by it makes me more and more confident that the legislature is going to pass the budget with a sizable increase for kids.”
Walker also made note that Wisconsin will put over 98% of state funds into K-12 public education, as opposed to voucher schools; a hot topic across not only Wisconsin, but the nation as of late. Governor Walker noted that while students with unique circumstances will benefit from private schools, the budget is geared towards public schools.
“This budget overwhelmingly makes a commitment to public education in the state,” said Walker. “I want great public schools, and I think the money speaks for itself.”