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Wisconsin schools could lose out on $1.5 billion in pandemic relief under the education spending plan that Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee advanced Thursday, federal officials warn.
The committee on Thursday voted to allocate $128 million in new K-12 funding while sending $350 million to the state’s budget stabilization fund, which can be tapped for various purposes. Lawmakers said the stabilization dollars would “maintain education funding stability in the future,” Riley Vetterkind reports for the Wisconsin State Journal. But in a letter Friday, the U.S. Department of Education told State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor that those dollars would not count toward a minimum education investment needed to draw $1.5 billion from the latest COVID-19 relief package — likely leaving Wisconsin short of needed threshold.
Republicans’ proposed $128 million in new education funding is a sliver of what Democratic Gov. Tony Evers seeks.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and other Republican leaders respond to Gov. Tony Evers’ budget address in the state Capitol. Vos called it “nothing more than a liberal Democrat from Madison’s wish list.” Credit: Riley Vetterkind / Wisconsin State Journal
U.S. Department of Education warns GOP budget puts $1.5 billion in federal education funds at risk — Wisconsin State Journal
As COVID lockdowns are lifted, a wave of ‘revenge travel’ is about to cascade on Wisconsin summer attractions — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Epic Systems requiring workers to return to office July 19, resuming in-person customer meeting — Wisconsin State Journal
US agency loosens mask guidance for summer campers — Associated Press
Racine PD lobby to reopen Tuesday; other city buildings to reopen Wednesday — The Journal Times
More fans allowed at AmFam under new COVID-19 guidelines — Wisconsin State Journal
Vaccination rates among young people increase — Beloit Daily News
“We know that there will be some empty spots at the picnic table this summer and some empty lawn chairs around the campfire. That saddens us and we’ll have to content ourselves with good memories of summers past. Yes, we will continue to take precautions, but we’re overjoyed at the prospect of the upcoming reunions and seeing family and friends again this summer – some of them for the first time since Christmas 2019. It’s been a long, weary and worrying haul, and we welcome the sunny days ahead.”
The Journal Times in an editorial
Data to Note
Here’s a look at the Department of Health Services’ vaccine dashboard, which showed Friday that 47.5% of Wisconsinites have received at least one vaccine dose, including 83.1% of those ages 65 and older. Meanwhile, 41.7% of Wisconsinites are fully vaccinated, including 79% of those older than 65. Racial disparities persist in distributing vaccines. The shares of Black, Hispanic and Native American residents to receive a dose remain below that of white residents.
On Friday, the state DHS reported a seven-day average of 256 new daily infections, continuing a long-term downward trend in new cases. The state also reported 13 new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the full toll to 7,053. That boosts the seven-day average to nearly 10 deaths per day.
This chart from WisContext shows those trends.
Find a vaccine site near you
DHS and the federal government have partnered with Vaccine Finder to help Wisconsinites find vaccinations. Vaccinations are often by appointment, but providers are increasingly offering walk-in options. In addition, people seeking COVID-19 shots can text their ZIP code to 438829 to find nearby vaccine providers.
Not sure if something you heard about COVID-19 is true? FactCheck.org offers this page full of explainers — and debunking of common distortions — about the disease to help you sort out fact from fiction.
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Feds: Republican budget plan risks $1.5 billion in school pandemic relief — 5/28/21 is a post from WisconsinWatch.org, a non-profit investigative news site covering Wisconsin since 2009. Please consider making a contribution to support our journalism.