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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Gov. Scott Walker used his veto power to reject certain aspects of the state’s two-year budget, some of which will affect the UW System.

Gov. Scott Walker used his veto power to reject certain aspects of the state’s two-year budget, some of which will affect the UW System.

UW provisions among Walker’s vetoes

Gov. Scott Walker issued 99 partial vetoes of the state’s two-year budget on Wednesday, rejecting several highly-anticipated additions to the bill, which was written by the Republican-held Wisconsin Legislature.

Walker’s ability to partial veto is unique and powerful; in most states, the governor only has the ability for a complete veto or approval. Walker, however, has the ability to strike out specific aspects within the bill.

For the budget bill, his partial vetoes include cutting several higher education proposals, some of which directly impact the UW campuses. One aspect of the budget bill addressed funding for UW system schools, specifically performance-based funding and the metrics used to judge schools.

Performance-based funding requires that schools must meet certain metrics before they can receive a portion of state funding for the year.

The state already has performance-based funding for technical colleges, which allows schools to choose to be rated by seven out of nine performance metrics offered to them.

For the UW System performance-based funding, Walker cut the ability for schools to choose their own performance metrics. Walker justified his decision by saying that schools wouldn’t chose stringent enough metrics in order to receive the funding and wouldn’t be driven towards improvement as a result.

The Board of Regents will still be able to propose a plan for distributing funds to campuses, which the state’s Joint Finance Committee must approve.

The Wisconsin Technical College System, which operates on performance-based metrics, can pick seven of nine metrics proposed to measure themselves against.

State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, told The Daily Cardinal last spring that because each technical school has a different mission, the ability for the schools to choose their own performance metrics was critical to the transition’s success.

Walker also struck a funding increase for school districts that don’t spend as much taxpayer money on their students compared to other districts.

This portion of the bill, offered by Assembly Republicans, had received a lot of support. The bill would have increased funding to low-revenue, mostly rural schools from the current minimum of $9,100 to $9,300. Walker vetoed, saying that it would have increased taxes for local districts without consent from those voters.

State Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee which is responsible for drafting the budget bill, voiced his concern with Walker’s veto.

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“I am severely disappointed in Governor Walker’s decision to reject an opportunity to correct a long-term inequity in our K12 funding system,” Nygren said in a press release. “The veto will continue this funding imbalance and have lasting impacts on the quality of education available to some of our children.”

Walker will sign the budget into law on Thursday in Neenah. 

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