The WASB’s Executive Committee (President Stu Olson, Vice President Terry McCloskey, 2nd Vice President Mary Jo Rozmenoski and Immediate Past President Wanda Owens), Executive Director John Ashley, and lobbyists Dan Rossmiller and Chris Kulow met this week with Wisconsin’s Congressional offices to discuss federal funding and legislation impacting Wisconsin schools.
The WASB thanked our all members of our Congressional delegation for voting in favor of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced No Child Left Behind and also returned authority from the federal government back to states and local school districts.
The WASB urged our Senators and Representatives to closely monitor regulations being proposed by the U.S. Department of Education to ensure ESSA Implementation follows the law as written by Congress, particularly regarding “supplement, not supplant” provisions.
In meetings with the offices of Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin and Representatives Paul Ryan, Mark Pocan, Ron Kind, Gwen Moore, James Sensenbrenner, Glenn Grothman, Sean Duffy, and Reid Ribble, the WASB also encouraged reauthorization of the federal Child Nutrition Act, which governs school meal programs, so it would provide schools with more flexibility and relief from federal mandates.
Additionally, the WASB encouraged lawmakers to reauthorize and modernize the Carl Perkins Act (career & technical education) to encourage students to learn for the world of work, help teachers to get appropriate professional development, and help schools build and strengthen partnerships with local businesses and tech colleges to produce career-ready graduates.
We noted that beginning in 2017-18 every Wisconsin student in grades 6 to 12 must develop an individualized academic and career plan so now is a good time to modernize the federal act and align it with both ESSA (which encourages apprenticeships) and the Workplace Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) which provides better regional data on employer needs.
Finally, the WASB urged Congress to prioritize funding for IDEA (special education) and Title I (assistance to districts and schools serving with low-income children) and restore cuts to federal Impact Aid proposed in the President’s recommended budget.
Impact Aid provides federal financial assistance to school districts impacted by federal activities and compensates districts for their loss of local property tax revenue if they have non-taxable properties (such as military installations or tribal lands) within their boundaries.