State Rep. Joel Kitchens said Wednesday that the Joint Committee on Finance’s K-12 education package, passed this week, “makes historic investments in our classrooms.”

The $639 million package passed the committee along party lines and will be incorporated into the 2017-19 state budget, which is two months late but expected to be passed sometime in September.

“This money will go directly into the classroom and have an immediate impact on the lives of children and educators,” said Kitchens, R-Sturgeon Bay.

As might be expected, minority Democrats were less enthusiastic. Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers, who recently declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for governor, said Wisconsin has slipped below the national average in terms of funding public education.

Several provisions undermine local control, Evers said.

“In particular, this proposal restricts the referenda that are keeping many schools afloat,” he said. “It also expands the power of the statewide charter czar, again increases voucher income limits, and eliminates a sparsity aid increase for rural schools.”