Restore state funding for schools to two-thirds level in 2019-21 budget

While running for governor, Evers vowed to increase school funding so that the state paid for two-thirds of public school costs. The budget he proposed in his role as state superintendent included this as well.


"Tony Evers vows to restore state commitment to fund two-thirds of schools in 2019-'21 budget," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Aug. 1, 2018.

"Scott Walker backs two-thirds state funding for schools; Tony Evers talks pre-existing conditions," Wisconsin State Journal, Aug. 15, 2018.

"Evers statement on K-12 education budget," news release from Department or Public Instruction, Sept. 17, 2018.

Subjects: Education


Evers fails to hit promised school funding mark

While running for governor, Tony Evers promised to restore the former standard of two-thirds state funding for schools. He introduced a budget that did that, both as state school superintendent and later as governor.

He was calling for a throwback to the 1996-2003 era when the state had a commitment to fund two-thirds of K-12 costs through the state budget. 

The 2003-'05 budget, under Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, eliminated that commitment and state funding hasn't reached that level since. In 2018-'19, the most recent budget, the state share covered 65.4% of K-12 costs, according to the state's nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

Evers promised to push support across the two-thirds barrier, but Republicans weren't on board.

The final budget — written by the Republican Legislature and tweaked through Evers' vetoes — will actually lower the percentage slightly to 65.3% in 2019-'20, according to the fiscal bureau. The percentage is then expected to rise slightly to 65.5% in 2020-'21.

Evers doesn't get credit for effort since we assess outcomes and not intent. But his promise didn't narrow the timeframe to his first budget, so he'll get another crack at this in his second budget.

For now, we rate this Stalled.


Legislative Fiscal Bureau analysis

Legislative Fiscal Bureau, 2017-18 Estimated State Support for School Districts, Dec. 11, 2018

Legislative Fiscal Bureau, Informational Paper 24, January 2019