People upset over Governor Walker’s proposed budget cuts to education took to the streets Monday afternoon for a rally and march that ended in front of the governor’s home.
Around 100 or so people showed up for the short rally at Juneau Play Field before marching over to Walker’s home. It’s February in Wisconsin, which means it was definitely cold, but the weather didn’t stop chants of “students are not for sale” and “we believe we can win.”
The weather also didn’t stop people like Angela from delivering her message. She’s an MPS parent and under Walker’s budget, K12 education would lose around $127 million.
“I have to go home and talk to my three public school kids about what a $150 cut per pupil under this budget might mean to them. And they’re tired of talking about budget cuts, and they’re tired of saying goodbye to teachers, and they’re tired of watching their friends go to school districts that are better funded. But the truth is, there aren’t a lot of places left to go anymore. These budget cuts attack the rural schools, they attack our urban schools, they attack our suburban schools, now they’re going after the University of Wisconsin system,” Angela says.
Under Walker’s plan, the University of Wisconsin System also stands to lose $300 million over the next two years.
Jennifer Epps-Addison is Executive Director of Wisconsin Jobs Now. It advocates for higher wages for low-skilled workers.
“Governor Walker, his plan for underpaid workers, he says he wants to help them learn more to earn more. Well if your plan for raising wages is to have people get a better education, then how can you cut $300 million from our public university system? How can you cut $127 million from K-12 education? Clearly the governor is not interested in helping the people of our state access public education,” Epps-Addison says.
Access to public education was on the minds of many, including MPS students like Raphael. He’s fearful that he may never make it to college or may end up having to drop out if he does.
“I want to go to college, and my father and my mom both can’t afford to take me and all my brothers and my sisters to go to school. My mom is a stay at home mom, my dad is a handyman at a small hotel in downtown Milwaukee. They can’t afford to pay for my college tuition,” Raphael says.
With budget hearings upcoming, protestors have vowed to not only return to the governor’s home, but to continue to fight for what they believe to be the right course for Wisconsin and its families.