Evers signs Felzkowski-authored school spending bill
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Editor
MADISON – Earlier this month, Governor Tony Evers signed a bill authored by State Senator Mary Felzkowski (R-Tomahawk) that will provide Wisconsin residents with access to information regarding how school districts spend tax dollars.
SB 373 will require the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to create an online portal, available beginning in the 2023-24 school year, that displays financial data collected from all school districts, county children with disabilities education boards, and independent charter schools, according to a release from Evers’ office.
“Any member of the public, parent, or teacher can look up their school district and see what funding their school is receiving and where the money is going,” a release from Felzkowski’s office stated.
The bill also creates an 11-person advisory committee to develop a report of recommendations to DPI by Feb. 1, 2023, that includes recommendations on the categories of information that will be accessible to the public through the portal and the resources necessary to implement and maintain the portal. The committee will be comprised of individuals selected by the governor and the State Legislature.
Felzkowski said the aim of the legislation is to “make it easier for the public to track exactly how their school district is spending the funding they receive.”
“Over the last several years, I have worked with stakeholders throughout the education community to forge a consensus on making school district spending information accessible to the public,” Felzkowski stated. “I want to thank my partners, Senator Darling, Representative Magnafici, and Representative Wittke for all their hard work on this.”
Felzkowski said the bill is about “transparency and access, and about every taxpayer, parent, teacher, reporter, and school board member who has at one point or another found our school funding data difficult to comprehend.”
“Every member of the public should have the opportunity for an informed discussion about school spending with their school’s leadership,” Felzkowski stated.