All posts by Dan Rossmiller

Bills imposing legislative mandates on schools are cropping up

The WASB GR Team does our best to try to minimize or eliminate legislative mandates on schools, especially unfunded mandates that require school boards to spend money and other resources.  Often, the best way to guard against such mandates is to speak out before they become law.

Below is a sampling of currently proposed mandate measures that have come to our attention in the 2019-20 Legislative Session.  (In assembling this list, we make no judgements as to the merits or value of the proposals but simply note that each of the proposals would impose legislative mandates on schools.) Continue reading Bills imposing legislative mandates on schools are cropping up

Slow pace of legislation lags previous sessions

Split party control of Wisconsin state government appears to have greatly slowed the flow of legislation being enacted into law in the current 2019-20 legislative session and it appears unlikely the pace will pick up anytime soon.

According to the Wheeler Report, neither the state Senate nor the state Assembly are expected to meet in floor session during the month of September. Lawmakers had set aside the period from Sept. 17 to 26 for a floor period when they organized the session schedule back in January. The next scheduled floor period is October 8-10. Continue reading Slow pace of legislation lags previous sessions

Bills Reflecting Blue Ribbon Commission Recommendations Are Being Advanced

Nearly nine months ago, the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding issued its recommendations. Ever since, school leaders have been waiting patiently for those recommendations to be put forward as legislation.

Recently, however, a number of bills have been put forward to implement recommendations made by the Commission.  Several are described below:

Sparsity Aid
Senate Bill 182 and Assembly Bill 196, a pair of companion bills authored by Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and Rep. Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz), would expand eligibility for sparsity aid in a way that mirrors the recommendations made by both the Blue Ribbon Commission and the Rural Schools Task Force (2013). (See Recommendation #2 under Sparsity Aid on page 7 of the Commission Report.)

Continue reading Bills Reflecting Blue Ribbon Commission Recommendations Are Being Advanced

WASB joins 40 other state school boards associations opposing FCC’s proposed E-Rate cap

The WASB has joined with at least 40 other state school board associations in signing onto a joint letter from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) opposing the Federal Communication Commission’s proposed cap on the Universal Service Fund (USF) and a sub-cap on the Schools and Libraries (E-Rate) and Rural Health Care Programs.  Federal E-Rate allocations play a vital role in helping to fund connecting schools to high-speed broadband.  (See previous post.)

In addition, the WASB will be submitting additional, separate comments of its own. The deadline for submitting comments under the current reply comment period ends Monday (Aug 26) at 11:00 p.m. CDT.   We will post the WASB’s comments to this blog as soon as they are finished so that any board wishing to submit its own comments can use the WASB’s comments in fashioning those comments.

Continue reading WASB joins 40 other state school boards associations opposing FCC’s proposed E-Rate cap

Why WASB resolutions matter and why your board should be involved

More and more stories are appearing in the media about policy resolutions local school boards are debating and adopting that could play a big role in shaping the WASB’s policy direction, including its legislative advocacy. Your board has until Sept. 15 to adopt and submit a resolution to either set or change the direction of the WASB’s policies and legislative advocacy.

Here’s a refresher on how the WASB resolution process works and why it is important: Continue reading Why WASB resolutions matter and why your board should be involved

Advocacy Alert: Urge Congress to fully fund IDEA

A renewed push is now underway for Congress to fully fund the federal commitment under the federal special education law known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  You can join in that effort.

With Congress currently in the middle of its August recess period, most members are back in their districts.  This is a great time to contact your U.S. Representative or U.S. Senator and urge them to support bi-partisan legislation—called the IDEA Full Funding Act—that would authorize a 10-year plan to get us to full funding of IDEA. You can get helpful information about contacting your members of Congress from the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA’s) advocacy webpage here   Continue reading Advocacy Alert: Urge Congress to fully fund IDEA

Report analyzes links between Wisconsin job growth, pay and education since 2012

A report released recently by Forward Analytics entitled, An Economic Evolution: Job Growth, Pay and Education Since 2012,”  shows Wisconsin’s economy is growing but is evolving into one in which jobs require more education and skills.

While Wisconsin job growth has been strong over the past six years and has helped to drive down the unemployment rate to record lows, the report suggests occupational data from 2012 to 2018 contradict the notion that most of the jobs are at the lower end of the pay scale.  Instead, the report documents an economy in which job growth is generally not occurring in low paying occupations, but rather in those occupations further up the pay scale–occupations that disproportionately require post-secondary education.

Continue reading Report analyzes links between Wisconsin job growth, pay and education since 2012