Full Assembly to take up two education bills on Feb.13

As the 2017-18 Legislative Session winds down, the Wisconsin  Assembly is scheduled to meet in floor session tomorrow to take up a full calendar of bills, including two K-12-related bills:

Assembly Bill 780Notice to a school of a permanency review or hearing, notice to a school district of a foster home or group home license or out-of-home care placement, and transfer of pupil records.  This bill changes the requirements for notifying schools in the process of placing a child in out-of-home care.  It adds the child’s school to the list of entities that receive notice of the review or hearing on the child’s proposed permanency plan and that may have the opportunity to submit written comments to the court on the proposed plan, but may not otherwise participate in the review or appear at the hearing.   AB 780 is is one of 13 bills developed the Task Force on Foster Care established last June by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester).  (See previous post.)

Assembly Bill 805Excluding certain college credit in high school programs from the Early College Credit Program. This bill amends provisions adopted as part of the 2017-19 state budget that eliminated the Course Options and Youth Options programs effective July 1, 2018, and replaced them with a newly created Early College Credit Program (ECCP).  As under the programs it will replace, the ECCP will provide high school students with opportunities to earn college credit from institutions of higher education (IHEs) while still in high school. Under the ECCP, the cost of courses is shared among the IHE, the school district, the state, and in some cases, the student’s family.The budget act language excluded technical colleges from the new ECCP; however, high school students will continue to be able to enroll in courses offered by a technical college.  Assembly Bill 805 goes a step further and removes dual enrollment course taught in high schools by high school faculty from the ECCP as well.

AB 805 provides that a course that satisfies all of the following requirements is not considered a course under the ECCP:

  • The course is offered to pupils under an agreement between a school board and the Chancellor of one of the four-year institutions of the University of Wisconsin System before, on, or after the effective date of the bill.
  • Instruction in the course takes place in a school building in the school district or a school district facility.
  • The teacher who provides instruction in the course is employed by the school district and has been certified or approved to teach the course by the participating University of Wisconsin System institution.

Under AB 805, the IHE would not be subject to ECCP limits on allowable tuition costs that can be charged and the postsecondary courses excluded by this legislation would not be subject to the cost-sharing model created under the ECCP.

The bill does not specify a cost-sharing model for the courses excluded from the ECCP.  Under the bill, it is possible that costs would be shifted to pupils and their families (as compared to ECCP-eligible courses); however, for many districts, the alternative would be that these types of courses might not be provided due to the costs to the district.  For that reason, the WASB has supported this bill and asks that dual enrollment courses be the subject of further study, including a possible Legislative Council Special Study Committee.

The Assembly’s floor session marks the beginning of a busy time in the Legislature, as members scurry to get the bills they have authored passed and on to the governor’s desk before the Legislature adjourns for the year.

The state Senate plans to meet again on Feb. 20, and the state Assembly is likely meet two or three more times this month.