Wis. school districts prepare for major budget cutsby Matt Sepic, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — School districts across Wisconsin are preparing to make major budget cuts.
Gov. Scott Walker wants to cut$ 900 million in state aid to schools over two years as part of his plan to eliminate a $3.6 billion shortfall.
Brett Eiken, a school board member in Trempealeau, said his district is still calculating the possible impact.
"Anything and everything is on the board right now," Eiken said. "We've been waiting to see what the budget's going to mean to us and what the numbers are coming down."
Eiken said the proposed state aid cuts could mean anywhere from $200 to $1,100 less to spend per student.
Last week, some school districts sent out layoff notices. But in Superior, School Board Vice President Christina Kintop said the board voted to extend teacher contracts.
She said that's so teachers can focus on their jobs.
"We wanted to try to ease as much of the pain for the teachers as we possibly could," Kintop said. "By doing so, they are performing in the classroom better because we're putting their minds at ease that they're not going to be given pink slips like other districts have."
Gov. Walker wants state workers to pay more for their pensions and health care. But his proposal would severely restrict collective bargaining rights, and it remains in limbo because Wisconsin Senate Democrats fled to Illinois to prevent a vote.