KAUKAUNA (NBC 26) — Gov. Tony Evers, together with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jill Underly, visited Electa Quinney Elementary School in Kaukauna on Thursday.
The visit is part of a statewide tour Evers is giving to welcome students and teachers back to school. The governor also plans to visit schools in Melrose and Racine on Thursday. He visited an Oshkosh school earlier in the week.
The tour also comes as the governor announced Wisconsin K-12 public schools are getting $90 million more in federal COVID-19 relief money. Evers, a Democrat up for reelection in November, said the money would help schools keep and retain teachers and ensure that the student-to-teacher ratio doesn't increase.
A spokeswoman for Republican Tim Michels, who is challenging Evers, accused the former teacher, principal, school administrator, and state education secretary of handing out the money “so he can pretend to care about education.”
Evers has repeatedly clashed with the Republican-controlled Legislature on education issues, vetoing bills this year that would have broken up the Milwaukee school district and made private voucher schools available to everyone. Republicans have also faulted Evers for not forcing schools to open earlier during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Legislature has rejected multiple calls from Evers to increase education spending.
The $90 million Evers announced Tuesday comes from the federal American Rescue Plan Act and will be distributed to public school districts and independent charter schools on a per-student basis. It will amount to nearly $100 in funding per student, the governor's office said.
The bulk of the money — about $75 million — will be directed toward hiring more staff and addressing other issues caused by rising costs and national inflation, Evers' office said. The remaining $15 million is directed toward mental health services.
The money is on top of $110 million in federal pandemic relief funds that Evers gave to schools in 2021.
This article contains content from the Associated Press.