Gov. Walker proposes support for rural schools - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Gov. Walker proposes support for rural schools

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ATHENS, Wis. (WAOW) -

A new state push to support rural schools was introduced in Central Wisconsin. 

Governor Scott Walker was in Athens on Tuesday, discussing the measure which will raise local property taxes. 

The Athens School District is one of several rural communities who would benefit from sparsity aid. 

"We have future needs at the elementary school, middle school and high school that we're being very cautious about the funding and so that's going to help us balance the budget that I have set up," Athens School District Superintendent, Tim Micke said. 

Micke made it very clear on Tuesday about how grateful he is for those who are behind the proposal.   

"I'm just so appreciative that the governor and the legislatures are really trying to get the message that we're all a part of Wisconsin," Micke said. "We want to feel as included with all school districts in the state." 
    
The plan would give an additional $100 for each student at low-spending schools .    

"That would be on top of the $200 we already put in this year and the $240 on top of that next year," Gov. Scott Walker said. 

 School districts qualify for the sparsity aid if they have 745 students or fewer and a population density of fewer than ten students per square mile.  The proposal could mean an increase in local property taxes. 

"Even with these changes allowing lower-revenue districts to be up at a level compatible with other school districts across the state, the overall level of property taxes in 2018 at the end of this year will be lower than they were when we started in 2010," Gov. Walker said. 

This proposal was first introduced in 2017. So on Tuesday, Governor Walker shut down rumors of this being an election year ploy. 

Superintendent Micke doesn't believe a referendum would be necessary for their community but also said the Athens community has been supportive of referendums supporting their schools in the past.

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