State's budget writing committee prepares to take up education funding

A view of the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, Aug. 24, 2017. (WLUK/Courtney Ryan)

MADISON (WLUK) -- Lawmakers are preparing to take up education funding, this week.

Budget talks stalled two months ago when lawmakers couldn't agree on how to pay for transportation.

As lawmakers resumed budget talks last week, they laid out a timeline to have it finished by the middle of September.

"We'd rather take our time and do it right then rush the process," said State Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette.

On Monday, the Joint Finance Committee is set to take up Governor Walker's proposed $649 million investment in K-12 education.

"To me, you should do your biggest priorities first and obviously we have not done that with public education or transportation," said State Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh.

Hintz, who sits on the Joint Finance Committee has expressed concerns that the late budget has impacted school district's ability to hire.

"We've had a couple of districts that are using substitute teachers until they know what the final funding is," explained Hintz.

Republican State Sen. Alberta Darling, one of the co-chairs of the committee, says she has heard the same concerns.

"I think one of the biggest downsides of our taking this long was the fact that the schools could not go ahead and fill those positions," she said.

Nygren, questions those hiring delays.

"This is a budget for the schools that was previously established before this school year, let's be clear," Nygren said.

The committee has yet to schedule a meeting to take up road funding, which is facing a $1 billion deficit.

A tentative agreement calls for borrowing $410 million and putting in a new vehicle fee for electric vehicles.

However the co-chairs say they are still working out details.

"I would say it's all very, it's close, but none of use are going to say it's completely finished," said Nygren.

Lawmakers say they hope to have the budget on the Governor's desk the week of September 21st.

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