All posts by drossmiller

WASB-backed notice bill set for hearing on Wednesday, May 22

The Assembly Committee on Local Government has scheduled a public hearing on a WASB-supported bill (Assembly Bill 170) updating state statutes specifying the method for notifying board members of a special meeting of a school board. The hearing will be held in Madison on Wednesday, May 22 at 1:00 p.m. in Room 400 Northeast of the State Capitol.

The WASB worked with Rep. Rick Gundrum (R-Slinger) and Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) on this bill, which is modeled on similar legislation enacted into law last session as (2017 Wisconsin Act 50) revamping the method for giving council members notice of a special meeting of a city council. Continue reading WASB-backed notice bill set for hearing on Wednesday, May 22

JFC Sets Vote on K-12 Education Funding for Thursday, May 23

The Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) will meet in Executive Session to vote on K-12 education funding in the 2019-21 state budget on Thursday, May 23, 2019, at 11:00 a.m.  The meeting will be held in Room 412 East, State Capitol.  View meeting notice.

The committee will work from budget papers (see below) prepared by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB).  Those budget papers deal with specific subjects–e.g., revenue limit adjustments,  per pupil categorical aid, special education categorical aid, etc.  The budget papers provide background information and typically lay out a series of alternatives for the committee to consider on each topic.

The JFC may also work from motions prepared by the LFB at the request of individual members of the committee.  Those motions are generally not made available to the public until the time of the vote.

Continue reading JFC Sets Vote on K-12 Education Funding for Thursday, May 23

New state revenue estimates up sharply, but increase is mostly one-time money

Yesterday, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) released updated revenue estimates indicating the state will end the 2017-19 budget cycle with an estimated ending balance of $928.7 million, $312.2 million higher than had been forecast earlier.

That is positive news as the additional revenue could be used to increase state aid to schools. However, because most of the additional $753 million in state revenue will be collected in the current fiscal year that ends June 30, achieving such aid increases will require strong advocacy from school leaders, parents and other education proponents.

In a memo to the JFC Co-Chairs, the LFB said: “Based on our review of collections data and the economic forecast, we now believe that general fund taxes will be higher than the previous estimates by $592 million in 2018-19, $68 million in 2019-20, and $93 million in 2020-21. The three-year increase is $753 million, or 1.5%.” Continue reading New state revenue estimates up sharply, but increase is mostly one-time money

JFC continues voting on budget; next up is educational technology

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) will be voting tomorrow (Tuesday, May 14) on a number of items in Governor Evers’ proposal related to educational technology and the TEACH program.  Among them are proposals that would:

1) Eliminate TEACH Educational Technology Training Grants.

2) Transfer $24 million in federal e-rate funding meant for schools and libraries to the state’s Broadband Expansion Grant Program.

3) Continue TEACH Infrastructure Grants until 2021 but reduce funding for thee grants from $7.5 million to $3 million per year. Continue reading JFC continues voting on budget; next up is educational technology

Executive sessions? Budget motions? JFC voting procedures described

Last week, when the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) Co-Chairs announced plans to adopt a budget motion removing more than 130 items proposed by the governor from further budget deliberations, they signaled the difficulty the governor’s budget, and his proposals for K-12 education funding, will face. The WASB is working to preserve as much of a funding increase for public schools as possible. While it is uncertain at this point exactly what K-12 funding items will pass, we do know how the JFC will proceed with its consideration of the budget bill.

As we cover the JFC’s work on the state budget, we’ll be using terms like executive sessions, budget papers and budget motions.  What do those terms mean and why are they important? Continue reading Executive sessions? Budget motions? JFC voting procedures described

Budget listening sessions offer another way to “get your lawmaker’s ear”

Testifying before the Joint Finance Committee isn’t the only way to advocate for your district and students on the state budget.

You can also attend a budget listening session, where you can meet with your legislator in a small group (or sometimes even in a one-on-one) setting.

The WASB staff found announcements of the following upcoming listening sessions:
(Note:  These were all “upcoming” at the time this information was originally posted.) Continue reading Budget listening sessions offer another way to “get your lawmaker’s ear”

Encourage Congress to fully fund IDEA

While there are relatively few things about public education funding that governors, state legislators and school board members from across the political spectrum agree on, one of them is likely that the federal government is under-funding special education in this country.

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. Continue reading Encourage Congress to fully fund IDEA