Monday morning, Governor Scott Walker visited Kate Goodrich Elementary School in Merrill.
As part of the visit, the governor met with school staff and toured the district’s newest elementary school, before holding a personalized meeting with MAPS administration, staff and students in the school gymnasium.
During the meeting, Walker discussed K-12 and rural school investments included in his biennial budget proposal. The governor’s proposal lifts K-12 investment to $11.5 billion over two years and includes $649 million in new state aids for all K-12 schools in the state.
In a press release following his visit, Walker stated, “Our budget proposal not only bolsters student success by making historic investments in K-12 education, it also helps our rural schools address unique needs, like high transportation costs.
“This funding directly benefits the Merrill Area Public School District and schools like Kate Goodrich Elementary. Looking forward, one of our top priorities is student success and we will continue to invest our Reform Dividend into K-12 education to ensure Wisconsin’s workforce is strong for generations to come.”
The Merrill Area Public School District is estimated to receive $41 million in funding from the state under Governor Walker’s budget proposal, including:
•An increase of more than $1.6 million in Per Pupil Aid. Governor Walker’s budget proposal increases per-pupil funding by $200 per pupil in Fiscal Year 2018 and $204 per pupil in Fiscal Year 2019 – the largest increase since the 2005-2007 biennium.
•An increase of $139,703 in High-Cost Transportation Aid. High-Cost Transportation Aid provides additional transportation aid to school districts with per-pupil transportation costs more than 150 percent of the state average and with a density of 50 pupils per square mile or less.
As further stated in the press release, “The Merrill Area Public School District may also be eligible for further funding under Governor Walker’s budget proposal, such as mental health grants, energy efficiency incentives, and special needs grants.”
Following his address to the students and staff, Walker fielded questions from students ranging from “What it’s like to be a working man” to his age, and his family life.
During a press conference following Monday’s appearance, Governor Walker commended the recent 1-to-1 iPad initiative by MAPS and emphasized the need for transportation funding for MAPS; given the large size of the MAPS district.
“I want to assure the funding Merrill Schools receives, is devoted to the students, rather than spent on transportation costs,” he added.