CEOs, school leaders call on Legislature to use surplus for education

Fatima Fokina

On stage at the Pabst Riverside Theater downtown Wednesday, an unusual mix of delegates from Milwaukee Public Schools, the Milwaukee Bucks, private school supporters and major employers mingled before the house lights dimmed.

John Kersey, executive vice president of local real estate company Zilber Ltd., stepped to the microphone first to explain their shared call to action, which has been signed by more than 150 school and business leaders around the state. 

In their joint letter delivered Wednesday, the group called on Gov. Tony Evers and top lawmakers to use $700 million of the state’s multibillion-dollar surplus to increase aid to schools, which were denied inflationary increases in the most recent state budget. 

The group is asking for an additional $343 in state aid per student to keep up with inflation. They’re also calling for state funds to reimburse schools at a higher rate for special education costs for students with disabilities, moving the rate from about 30% to 50%.

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