Category Archives: State Issue

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

Contact your lawmakers to support parent transportation contract bill draft

State Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and Rep. Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville) are circulating a bill draft for other legislators to sign on and support (see cosponsorship memo) relating to contracts with parents to transport students to private and (sometimes) public schools.  The bill would require the contract must compensate the parent or guardian a total amount for all pupils residing in the household who attend the same school, rather than a per pupil amount.

This change will potentially save districts money when multiple children in the same household are being transported to the same school in the same vehicle.

WASB supports this bill based on our member-approved resolutions and encourages you to contact your state legislators to cosponsor the “Marklein/Novak LRB 2448” before the Sept 10 deadline.  Continue reading Contact your lawmakers to support parent transportation contract bill draft

Advocacy Tip: Invite legislators to back to school events

One of the most important steps in developing relationships with your state lawmakers so you can effectively advocate for your students and districts is to get them into your schools.  Back to school events are a great opportunity to do so. Even if you do not hold a formal event, you can invite them for a tour.

These sorts of events or tours are a great opportunity to “educate” your legislators. While you certainly want to show off all the great things you are doing, also make sure to take the opportunity to inform them of your challenges and needs. The more time your legislators spend with you and your students, the more likely they will be to support your cause (or at least understand it better).

Take photos of the visit and post them on your website and social media. If your local newspaper covers your meetings, invite them to take a photo for the paper.

If your legislator was particularly helpful on a particular issue or with regard to the state budget make sure to thank them for their support.

Watch WisconsinEye back to school dialogue with K-12 legislative leaders

WisconsinEye recently sat down with key state legislative leaders on K-12 education to discuss a variety of issues as we begin the new school year.  State Senators Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) & Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) and State Reps. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) & Sondy Pope (D-Mt. Horeb) sat down with Steve Walters to discuss a variety of topics including the state budget, school funding challenges, school vouchers, charter schools and more.

Access the full video here.

Bill introduced to raise legal age for tobacco/nicotine/vaping products

Senate Bill 364, authored by Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green, pictured) and Rep. John Spiros (R-Marshfield) and a bipartisan cadre of fellow lawmakers, has been introduced in the legislature.  This bill changes the age for purchasing cigarettes, tobacco products, or nicotine products from 18 to 21, and imposes a minimum age for purchasing vapor products.

The WASB supports this bill based on our member-approved resolutions and has provided a sample resolution for boards to use to express their support for the bill on our Boards Taking Action webpage.  There you can find resolutions passed by other school boards on various issues as well as WASB sample resolutions that boards can use for the basis of their own resolutions.  Click on the gray box labeled “Sample Letters and Resolutions” and look for the “Sample Board Resolution in Support of Tobacco 21 Legislation in Wisconsin”

From the lawmakers’ cosponsorship memo: Continue reading Bill introduced to raise legal age for tobacco/nicotine/vaping products