All posts by drossmiller

How Delayed State Budget May Impact School Districts

With the 2017-19 state budget now more than a month and a half overdue, increasing attention is being paid to the impact the delayed passage of the budget will have on schools, as evidenced by this Wisconsin State Journal article.

In a recent memo to members of the Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC), the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has outlined the impact of the delay on various state school finance calculations for the 2017-18 school year, for public school districts, as well as private choice schools and independent charter schools.

Continue reading How Delayed State Budget May Impact School Districts

Budget Update: How to Proceed On Foxconn Bill Divides Senate, Assembly, Budget Still Stalled

Sen. Fitzgerald

With passage of the 2017-19 state budget now more than a month overdue, the Republican leaders of the state Senate and Assembly have found another thing on which they don’t agree:  how to move forward with Governor Scott Walker’s proposed special session legislation to provide tax and other incentives to close the deal to bring Taiwan-based tech giant Foxconn to Wisconsin.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) is urging lawmakers to pass the state budget bill before voting on Foxconn legislation, while Assembly Republican leaders, including Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) , want lawmakers to take up the Foxconn bill before passing a new budget. Continue reading Budget Update: How to Proceed On Foxconn Bill Divides Senate, Assembly, Budget Still Stalled

August Advocacy Tip: Resolutions Are Your Board’s Chance to Put Its Imprint on the WASB

School boards drive the WASB’s legislative advocacy. They really do.

Individual school boards and school board members provide the policy guidance and direction that informs the WASB’s legislative agenda and legislative advocacy efforts on your behalf.  How do they do that? Continue reading August Advocacy Tip: Resolutions Are Your Board’s Chance to Put Its Imprint on the WASB

Governor Inks Deal with Foxconn, Calls Special Session on Incentive Package

Governor Scott Walker signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last Thursday (July 27) with Foxconn founder and chairman, Terry Gou, that could bring a potential $10 billion investment by the world’s largest electronics manufacturing services provider to Wisconsin.  Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd. , is famous for assembling iPhones, flat panel screens, and other high tech devices.  It plans to build a plant in Southeast Wisconsin that would initially employ 3,000 workers and could eventually employ up to 13,000 workers. Continue reading Governor Inks Deal with Foxconn, Calls Special Session on Incentive Package

What is the REAL Fiscal Impact of Voucher Funding on Public School Districts?

A recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article widely reported in Gannett newspapers across the state provided details on how a budget plan proposed by Senate Republicans would increase funding for the state’s three main private school voucher programs by nearly $60 million over the next two years, according to an analysis by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB).

In that article, a quote attributed to voucher advocate Jim Bender mischaracterized the fiscal impact of the statewide and Racine voucher programs on school districts that have resident pupils participating in those programs. Continue reading What is the REAL Fiscal Impact of Voucher Funding on Public School Districts?

Senate K-12 Provision Would Disadvantage Poorer School Districts, Distort Key Principle of Equalization Aid Formula

The state Senate’s K-12 funding package unveiled on July 18 (see previous post) contains an especially troubling referendum-related provision that has not been previously considered by the Legislature. The July 18 package was the first time it was made public.

The provision specifically targets low-property-wealth-per-pupil districts and impacts their ability to receive state aid.  As described in the Senate package, going forward, it would exclude from “shared cost” any amount levied by a district in a prior year for either operating or debt service costs that were authorized by a referendum if doing so would not increase the district’s equalization aid entitlement. The provision first applies to referenda held after the budget bill becomes law. Continue reading Senate K-12 Provision Would Disadvantage Poorer School Districts, Distort Key Principle of Equalization Aid Formula

State Budget Remains Stalled—What’s Holding It Up?

Typically, the state Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC), comprised of eight senators and eight representatives, begins its review of the governor’s budget in February and completes its work in late May or early June.  Then comes floor debate in the two houses and the completed budget is sent to the governor for his review and signature (or vetoes).  If all goes well, this process is completed by July 1.

This year, however, the JFC not only hasn’t completed its review, it hasn’t met publicly since June 15, and it isn’t clear when the committee might meet again to wrap-up its work on the state’s two-year taxing and spending blueprint. Continue reading State Budget Remains Stalled—What’s Holding It Up?