Even though Governor Walker has signed a new two-year budget, Democrats are hoping to keep upping the amount of help small rural schools receive from the state in what is known as sparcity aid.
This fund is an extra pool of money beyond usual state coffers to help small rural districts who have small enrollments.
State Senator Janet Bewley of the Ashland area, whose district includes parts of Vilas and Price counties says proposals for more money for lower spending school districts and just a higher sparcity aid package failed to get into the budget...
"....even those things would have kept Wisconsin behind what the budget should have been with ordinary inflationary rates based upon eight years ago. We need to fund or rural schools. Rep. Sondy Pope and I have put together these two bills together to restore the sparcity aid at a higher level than even what (Gov.) Walker wanted...."
Bewley says people who live in the north expect sparcity with longer and more expensive school bus rides and road plowing...
"...we also expect when we pay our taxes to the state that some of it will be returned in school aids in a way that makes sense to areas that are sparcely settled. Schools in these areas need aid. The Governor agreed....."
But, Bewley says, the legislature took the extra money out. She says the budget committed the lowest percentage of general funding to school aids in twenty-two years.
The future of both bills is uncertain in the Republican majority legislature.