2012 Assembly District Candidates on Education

Patrick Veeser

Democratic candidate

Patrick Veeser is a first-time candidate and would not have voted for Assembly Bill 40 – the state budget for 2011-2013 that reduced state spending in numerous areas in order to reduce the deficit.

“We have cut $1.6 billion out of our education fund,” Veeser said in an interview with the Pulse. “We have given $2.3 billion away in [tax cuts] to large businesses, corporations and special interest groups… What’s the value of that money, and what would be the value of having that money put back into our public school system?”

Veeser said he supports public education and doesn’t like the education funding policy that sends taxpayer money to private schools when students choose to leave the public school system.

“That’s our tax money, it should have stayed here,” Veeser said. “We need to keep that money in our district.”

Veeser said he would like to restore funding to technical schools that prepare young and unemployed people for the jobs that are available in Northeast Wisconsin. The budget prohibits technical colleges from increasing tax revenue to raise money for operations or risk cuts in state funding.

“Why would we cut funding to these schools that prepare people to work in the great industries we have?” Veeser said. “We have many jobs that can be trained at our tech schools, and to cut tech schools just doesn’t make sense. I would not have voted for this bill.”

Veeser also supports school programs that teach life skills like managing money and raising children.

Garey Bies

Republican incumbent

Garey Bies declined to comment to the Peninsula Pulse, and there is no information about his education policy preferences on his website. The following information is based on his recent voting record.

Bies voted for Assembly Bill 40 – the state budget for 2011-2013 that reduced state spending in numerous areas in order to reduce the deficit.

The budget reduced the amount of revenue school districts could get from property taxes by 5.5 percent, while decreasing state funding for schools by 8.4 percent.

The budget cut funding for a number of school aid programs, including the Preschool to Grade 5 Program; grants for alcohol and other drug abuse prevention and intervention programs; the Children at Risk Program; grants for nursing services; grants for advanced placement courses; grants for English instruction for Southeast Asian children; grants for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs; and grants for alternative education programs.

The bill also continues to allow state funding to fund private and charter schools. When students opt to go to a private school instead of a public school, the state funding tied to those students goes with them.

The budget prohibits school boards from requiring teachers to reside within their school districts.

The budget allows the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents to increase resident undergraduate tuition beyond an amount sufficient to fund specified costs and activities, a restriction the last budget had in place. It also requires University of Wisconsin schools and technical colleges to grant full remission of fees for veterans and eligible family members.