Wisconsin Public Education Network: At Legislative Budget Hearings, the People Demand a Pro-Public Budget!


718 Total Live Testimonies —

  • 135: Public K-12 Education
  • 114: Healthcare
  • 96: Higher Education
  • 55: Childcare & Pre-K
  • 54: Municipal Services & Shared Revenue
  • 41: Independent Living & Family Care
  • 38: Charter & Private Education
  • 22: Criminal Justice Reform
  • 22: Environmental Initiatives
  • Other popular priorities: gun control; drivers’ licenses for undocumented Wisconsinites; roads and transportation

Approximately 40% of overall testimonies have focused on childcare, public pre-K-12, and higher education.

See our full tracker and notes here.


In back-to-back state budget listening sessions, leaders in public education, board members seeking to move on from referendum dependency, and public school champions representing roles and districts across Wisconsin showed up in huge numbers to demand that the Joint Finance Committee deliver the budget Wisconsin kids deserve.

We have tracked public testimony at this week’s hearings in Eau Claire and Wisconsin Dells and are unsurprised that public pre-K-12 & higher education has been by far the most common priority — followed by healthcare concerns. Overwhelming majorities of those testifying are doing so in favor of Gov. Evers’ education budget and delivering on the needs of Wisconsin kids. And with a $7 billion+ surplus sitting in Madison, the money is there to meet and exceed all of these expectations.

Wisconsin Public Education Network joined our partners around the state to directly address the public and the media ahead of both hearings. Find here the full video of our press event in Eau Claire, and here the video of our press event in Wisconsin Dells.

In Eau Claire, public education, including early childhood care and higher education, made up nearly half of all testimonies delivered to the committee.

We also note the fact that State Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly traveled to Eau Claire to deliver testimony as a citizen — after having not been invited to do so before the public hearings began — on the budget she needs and expects for public schools statewide. Dr. Underly also spoke at our press event in Eau Claire. “What an incredible legacy this Joint Finance Committee can leave when they pass this budget and support our public schools and libraries,” she said. “What a difference they stand to make.”

Another notable event in Eau Claire was impossible to capture in our traditional testimony tracking numbers. In the late morning, Neillsville Superintendent John Gaier spoke to the committee on the shared burdens facing school districts across northern, central, and western Wisconsin, the lasting impacts of low revenue limits, inadequate special education reimbursements, and more; he urged the committee to use Gov. Evers’ proposal as a “floor, not a ceiling.” At least 20 superintendents stood to support this testimony, and approximately 50 supporters overall. You can see video of his testimony here.


A frequent theme among public education champions in Wisconsin Dells on Wednesday was the reliance on school referenda to keep the doors open and the lights on — and the opportunity to step away from referenda by fully funding public schools at the state level.

“Public schools are an essential part of all rural communities,” said Joni Anderson, a school board member in Adams-Friendship, which just passed a high stakes referendum. “[Our students] will remember what you did today.”

If you join the overwhelming majority of testifiers in wanting to see a pro-public budget become state law, join us in being a budget ambassador and embedding advocacy and awareness into your everyday conversations. Click here to join.

There is one more live hearing on the budget — in Minocqua on April 26 — and Team Public will be there. Join us if you can make it! And whether or not you can make it, written testimony can be delivered directly to the committee at any time this month. We recommend also sharing with your own lawmakers, as all legislators will ultimately vote on the budget bill, and CCing us so we can record and amplify your testimonies.

WisconsinNetwork.org/budget is the home of public education budget advocacy!

— Team Public

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