Feds Gave $669.6 Million to Wisconsin Public Schools—More Than 20 Times What Proposed State Cuts Would Save
(CNSNews.com) - The federal government gave $669.6 million to the public schools in Wisconsin in fiscal 2008, according to the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). That is more than 20 times as much as the $30 million that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is trying to save in the current fiscal year by asking state employees, including teachers, to pay for a fraction of the cost of their own pension packages and health-insurance premium.
Because of this federal subsidy, taxpayers in the 49 other states make a handsome contribution to the salary and benefits packages of Wisconsin school teachers.
Fiscal 2008 is the last year for which the NCES has published the state-by-state dollar amount of federal subsidies for public schools.
Wisconsin faces a $137 million shortfall for the state's current fiscal year, which ends June 30, and a $3.6 billion shortfall for the next two fiscal years.
To help close this budget gap, Gov. Walker, a Republican, has proposed legislation that would make state employees, including teachers, pay 5.8 percent of their salary in contributions to their pension plan and 12.6 percent of what the state pays for their insurance premiums.
The governor’s proposal would also prevent state employees’unions from engaging in collective bargaining over state workers’ benefit packages, allowing them only to bargain over wages. Also, state employees’ wages would not be allowed to increase faster than the rate of inflation (the Consumer Price Index) unless voters approved the increase in a referendum.
Teachers and other state employees and the unions that represent them have been protesting the governor's proposals for the past week.
Gov. Walker’s proposed budget changes would save the state an estimated $30 million this year and $300 million during the next two fiscal years. But that is a pittance compared to the federal subsidies that flow annually into Wisconsin public school system.
In fiscal 2008, according to the U.S. Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics, the federal government provided Wisconsin public schools with $669,634,777.
The $669.6 million in federal tax dollars that was directed to Wisconsin public schools in fiscal 2008 is more than 22 times as much as the $30 million that Wisconsin would save in this fiscal year from the changes proposed by Gov. Walker and more than twice as much as the $300 million the governor’s plan would save the state over the next two fiscal years.
Wisconsin spent $10,791 per pupil in its public elementary and secondary schools in fiscal year 2008, according to the NCES. That amount includes salaries and benefits for teachers, school administrators and support staff as well as other school expenses.
Wisconsin’s $10,791 per-pupil spending in its public schools was more than the $10,353 that neighboring Illinois spent; or the $10,048 that neighboring Minnesota spent; or the $9,520 that neighbor Iowa spent.
In fact, the $10,791 Wisconsin spent per pupil in its public schools in fiscal 2008 was more than was spent on public schooling by any other Midwest state, according to the NCES.
Wisconsin’s closest Midwest competitor was Nebraska, which spent $10,565 per public in its public elementary and secondary schools in fiscal 2008.