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News & Press: Legislative & Policy Updates

Evers proposes more funding for school-based mental health programs

Monday, February 10, 2020  
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February 7, Wisconsin Health News

Gov. Tony Evers called on the Legislature Thursday to meet next week and take up a bill that would provide millions more to school-based mental health services, among other education investments and property tax relief. 

The plan would use around $250 million in projected revenue surplus funds, providing an additional $19 million in state spending for school-based mental health services. It would also expand payments under the program to include increased spending on school counselors, psychologists or nurses.

The plan also allocates an additional $3.75 million for a school-based mental health collaborations program.

“This is a no-brainer, folks,” Evers said in a statement. "We know the bipartisan support is there, we just need elected officials to put people before politics.”

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said the state’s current budget spent more money on schools than ever before, including doubling funding for two school-based mental health programs. 

“Senate Republicans have been focused since late last year on using our surplus for a tax cut for hard-working families, and the governor knows that,” he tweeted. “I don’t see us budging off that position.” 

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said he met with Evers Thursday and that the governor didn't mention his plans. He said Evers is "only interested in scoring political points."

"It shouldn’t come as a surprise that when there’s a surplus, Republicans look to return those dollars to the hardworking taxpayers of the state," he tweeted. "Democrats are fixated on growing the size of government, which they know we won’t do."