Thursday, February 22nd

The Wisconsin state Capitol in Madison.(Photo: Associated Press)

MADISON - The Assembly voted Tuesday to funnel $7 million to rural schools and approved allowing foster children to go to University of Wisconsin schools for free.

Assembly Bill 835 would provide $6.5 million more for schools in sparsely populated rural areas and an estimated $15.6 million more for districts with the tightest budgets, with some of that money coming from higher property taxes.

The bill passed, 91-2, with Republican Reps. André Jacque of De Pere and Adam Jarchow of Balsam Lake voting against it. 

The measure has the backing of GOP Gov. Scott Walker and now goes to the Senate, which like the Assembly is controlled by Republicans. Leaders in that house hope to wrap up their work by next month.

Under the bill, state aid for thinly populated districts will increase to $400 per pupil from the current level of $300.

The package would also provide more money for school districts that spend the least on their students.