Governor Evers Calls Special Session on Increasing School Spending

Governor Tony Evers is calling the state Legislature into a special session Tuesday to consider a plan that would increase state spending on education by $550 million over the next two years.

The governor announced the special session call Monday afternoon. He’s calling on lawmakers to use money he freed up with partial vetoes of the state budget to increase per-pupil aid for K-12 schools by $240 million, special education funding by $200 million and higher education spending by $110 million. Evers made $550 million immediately available to spend on state programs by vetoing a transfer of funds into the state’s so-called “rainy day fund” in the budget.

Republican co-chairs of the Legislature’s state budget committee were critical of the governor’s special session call on Monday afternoon, calling it “political posturing.”

“The Legislature’s budget, which (Evers) signed, accounted for the massive Federal funds for schools, made significant investments in our student’s education and respected taxpayers,” said Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, and Rep. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, in a prepared statement. “It was a good budget and we continue to stand by our decisions.”

The state Assembly was already expected to be in session Tuesday. GOP leaders there are expected to convene an extraordinary session to attempt to override Evers’ veto of a bill that would have eliminated extra federal benefits for unemployment recipients in the state. The override is not expected to succeed, because Republicans do not have a two-thirds majority in the Assembly and no Democrats are expected to vote in favor of the override.