Aid Payment Schedule, Character Education Among Bills Discussed at Public Hearing

The Senate  Education Committee chaired by Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) held a public hearing on Thursday, September 14th on the following bills listed below.

Senate Bill 329.  Relating to:  professional development training in character education for teachers, principals, and school district administrators, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation.  WASB registered in support of this bill. Continue reading Aid Payment Schedule, Character Education Among Bills Discussed at Public Hearing

Assembly Passes State Budget Bill; Senate Support Uncertain

The state Assembly passed the state budget bill late last night on a vote of 57-39 with all Democrats and five Republicans (Reps. Scott Allen of Waukesha, Janel Brandtjen of Menomonee Falls, Bob Gannon of West Bend, Adam Jarchow of Balsam Lake and Joe Sanfelippo of New Berlin) voting NO on the bill.

The bill now goes to the state Senate where a Friday vote is planned even though they are currently short of the 17 needed votes to pass it.   Continue reading Assembly Passes State Budget Bill; Senate Support Uncertain

JFC Budget Includes School Takeover Provisions Aimed at Racine Unified

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) budget includes modifications to the Opportunity Schools Partnership Program (OSPP) school takeover law that are aimed at the Racine Unified School District (RUSD). The school district is not mentioned by name in the language of the motion adopted by the JFC but that language describes a school district with characteristics that currently apply only to RUSD.  (Statutory language of the budget bill will be finalized in the next few days, before the JFC-approved version goes first to the Assembly, then the Senate, for votes on the floor of those houses next week.) 

Under current law, the OSPP law applies to a school district that: (1) has a pupil membership is greater than 15,000; (2) was assigned to the lowest performance category on the accountability reports  (report cards) published for the district in the 2 most recent school years; and (3) received intradistrict transfer aid  in the same 2 most recent school years. Continue reading JFC Budget Includes School Takeover Provisions Aimed at Racine Unified

Budget Committee Wraps Up Budget Work

The Joint Finance Committee wrapped up its work on the state budget last night.  As part of that final session, the GOP JFC members approved a significant expansion of special needs vouchers as well as a final wrap up motion that included a provision on special needs open enrollment payments (see below).

The budget now heads to the Assembly for a floor vote on Wednesday, Sept. 13 with a Senate vote expected soon afterwards.  After an identical version passes both houses, Gov. Scott Walker has the opportunity to use his powerful veto pen to make final modifications.  The Legislature has the power to override any veto with a two-thirds majority vote by both houses. Continue reading Budget Committee Wraps Up Budget Work

JFC Approves Special Needs Voucher Expansion

The state’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee voted along party lines 12-4 on a GOP motion to expand the Special Needs Scholarship Program (SNSP) as part of the state budget bill.  This program provides vouchers to enable students with disabilities to attend participating private schools with no income eligibility  limits.  Governor Walker did not propose expanding the program in his budget proposal.   The following proposals adopted today (Sept. 6), and described below, are estimated to expand special needs voucher program participation by 250 pupils in 2018-19 and result in an over $3 million aid reduction to public school districts in 2018-19: Continue reading JFC Approves Special Needs Voucher Expansion

Federal Appropriations Bill for Education Gains U.S. Senate Subcommittee Approval

Today (Sept. 6), the U.S. Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee unanimously approved a bipartisan FY2018 funding bill for the federal Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies, that is $3 billion above the FY2017 level and $27.5 billion above the President’s budget request.

The Senate subcommittee also rejected President Trump’s proposed cuts to teacher training and afterschool funding (see below).   Full Senate committee consideration of the funding measure is scheduled for Thursday.  The 2018 federal fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.

Here are capsule descriptions of some of the key funding provisions for K-12 education:

Continue reading Federal Appropriations Bill for Education Gains U.S. Senate Subcommittee Approval

Budget Committee to Act on Special Needs Vouchers/Open Enrollment on Sept. 5

A potentially significant change to the way amounts transferred for the open enrollment of special education pupils and the aid deduction for special needs voucher pupils are calculated has been proposed and is scheduled for discussion and a possible vote by the JFC next Tuesday (Sept. 5).

We had previously shared language with you that was included in the Assembly GOP Education Package released in June.  We assume the changes allegedly being sought are similar in nature: Continue reading Budget Committee to Act on Special Needs Vouchers/Open Enrollment on Sept. 5