Walker visits Cadott High School

Governor Scott Walker spoke at Cadott High School on Tuesday, voicing his approval of a bill that would expand per-pupil funding for rural school districts.

SARAH SEIFERT, The Herald

CADOTT—In a Tuesday appearance at Cadott High School, Governor Scott Walker spoke his support for a bill that would increase sparsity aid for rural school districts.

Specifically, Walker said, the increase would give Cadott’s students better access to transportation.

The bill is attempting to resurrect a portion of Walker’s February budget proposal. The sparsity aid measure was ultimately rejected by the Legislature earlier this year.

Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and Rep. Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz) are now attempting to bring the measure back as independent legislation, and Walker was slated to tour three rural districts – Cadott, Wausakee and Belmont – on Tuesday to pitch his support, according to a Tuesday press release.

The bill would give an additional $100 in per-pupil funding to low-population districts, on top of existing $300-per-pupil state funding.

It would also set up a buffer for school districts that don’t quite meet the low-population requirements: a second, lower tier of sparsity aid.

“What it is, is bargaining for all rural districts across the state to make sure there’s an additional amount (of per-pupil funding) on top of the overall increase…we know there’s a unique cost when it comes to transportation,” Walker said, speaking to a government class at Cadott High School.

At a Sep. 22 appearance in Chippewa Falls, just after signing the 2017-2019 state budget into law, Walker said the new budget would give an extra $3.6 million to Chippewa County schools.

“(This is) a significant increase for the Cadott School District…and others across the state…we’ve doubled the amount of money set aside for Fab Labs,” Walker said.

“Fab labs,” or local fabrication laboratories, offer technological tools for students to use, such as computer equipment and 3-D printers. In April, 21 Wisconsin school districts received fab lab grants, including Altoona and Ladysmith.

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Sarah Seifert covers the city and community of Chippewa Falls. Contact her with tips or story ideas at 715-738-1608 or at sarah.seifert@lee.net.

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