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Columbus, WI: Board of Ed calls for more SPED funding; 'costs continue to rise'

COLUMBUS – Wisconsin Assembly Rep. William Penterman (R-Columbus) attended a Columbus School Board workshop on Monday after accepting an invitation by the board to discuss a need for increased funding for school districts.

The Columbus School District Board of Education recently made resolutions calling for an increase in special education categorical aid reimbursement from 30% to 60% as well as a predictable, annual increase in state general equalization that at least matches the rate of inflation.

The Wisconsin State Legislature and Gov. Tony Evers are currently working on creating the biennial budget, which affects funding levels for school districts….

“With current inflation levels the revenue needed to provide a quality education to our students will increase as costs continue to rise. What sustainable measures can the legislature address so that funding is more predictable and reflective of what a local district truly needs?”…

Rule asked about increasing the funds for those receiving special education services.

Penterman said he could not give a specific percentage, but he could advocate for a change….

Jorgensen also has advocated for increased funds given for special education. In addition, she has asked to keep caps on voucher schools as well as make transparent the money they do receive.

Jorgensen said she would like to see an investment in helping with mental health needs and an effort to help districts recover from the pandemic and inflationary costs.

“Esser Funds are “One-Time” Federal Pandemic Relief money and expire in September 2024, right in the middle of the next budget,” Jorgensen said.

In addition, Jorgensen said that schools should be given general flexible spending authority.

“Even if a district has declining enrollment, it doesn’t mean that costs decline,” Jorgensen said. “Transportation, food, health insurance, utilities, and other such costs continue to increase.”


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