Increase spending on early childhood education

“As governor, Tony will: Increase investments in early childhood education and quality childcare, which includes helping Wisconsin families with skyrocketing childcare costs”

Subjects: Education


Final budget ups funding for some childhood programs

Gov. Tony Evers' 2019-'21 budget included a host of child-focused initiatives, including additional spending for childhood education and childcare — as he promised on the campaign trail.

But Republicans who control the state Legislature didn't sign off on everything. 

A plan to provide grants for childhood education, summer school and teacher certification in urban school districts didn't escape the chopping block, nor did Evers' push to count 4-year-old kindergarten students for state aid and revenue purposes.

According to Evers' veto message, the final budget he signed into law provides more than $85 million through 2021 to fund increases in the Wisconsin Shares childcare program and $1.4 million to improve childcare options in Milwaukee's struggling 53206 zip code.

Evers' staff didn't identify any spending increases for early childhood education, which was also part of this promise. But this promise didn't have a timeframe, so he could still fulfill that promise in the second budget of his term.

That leaves our rating as In the Works.



Tony Evers, veto message for 2019-21 budget, July 4, 2019

Email exchange with Melissa Baldauff, spokeswoman for Gov. Tony Evers, July 31-Aug. 1, 2019

Budget includes more funding for 4K, childcare programs

After years as the state school superintendent, Gov. Tony Evers brought his emphasis on education with him to the statehouse.

His 2018 campaign pledges included increasing spending on "early childhood education and quality childcare." And his first budget includes a couple items would address those points.

One would commit $5 million in 2021 to support the expansion and creation of early childhood programs in the state's five largest school districts. The other would change the funding formula to give the full per-student state aid to schools that provide full-day 4K programs.

Evers' budget also includes a number of items on the childcare front, including raising the maximum reimbursement rate for licensed child care providers through the Wisconsin Shares program and grants to improve overall child care in high-poverty areas.

Evers didn't promise to raise spending by any specific amount, so these are steps toward fulfilling this pledge.

With this and all other budget proposals expected to get pushback from Republicans in the Legislature, we rate this promise In the Works.


Tony Evers campaign website, Public Education in Wisconsin, accessed April 16, 2019

Tony Evers Executive Budget, Department of Public Instruction (items 1 and 4), accessed April 16, 2019

Email exchange with Melissa Baldauff, spokeswoman for Gov. Tony Evers, April 15-16, 2019

Email exchange with Jason Stein, research director, Wisconsin Policy Forum, April 16, 2019