Walker's projections about school district savings under his budget were incorrect in more than 99% of districts, according to Rep. Sondy Pope-Roberts (D-Middleton) in a column published today. Pope-Roberts has been in the WI State Assembly since 2002, and is current ranking member of the Assembly Committee on Education. (biography here)
Pope-Roberts presented evidence to Walker in a hand-delivered letter that shows significant differences in Walker's numbers compared to those projected by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (click here for access to the Pope-Roberts "Comprehensive Chart" spreadsheet). Pope-Roberts found numbers that showed Walker overestimated district savings by an average of $129,000, with Milwaukee's savings overestimated in Walker's numbers by $12.5 million dollars (click here). According to the analysis of the Pope-Roberts "Comprehensive Chart" spreadsheet, Walker "correctly projected savings for just three of the state’s 424 districts." The official release from the office of Pope-Roberts even includes the serious declaration of the figures being "public education budget numbers invented by Governor Walker." (my emphasis).
This comes in the face of $834 million in budget cuts to public schools, with Walker's proposals to allow unlimited increases in the number of charter and "virtual" schools, and removing the income requirements for private school vouchers, in essence, promoting payments to even wealthy residents to attend private schools. Some consider this a direct attack on public schools. Aside from merely the fiscal ramifications which Walker apparently misjudged (as compared to the numbers from Legislative Fiscal Bureau), Walker has proposed that districts would no longer need reading specialists, and, believe it or not, teachers would no longer need to obtain teaching licenses. JS Online
So, again, are we to trust educational reform to a Governor with an obvious agenda and a penchant for misstatements?
And that's not a misstatement.