Governor Walker’s proposed 2017-19 state budget calls for expanding broadband funding and access for rural schools and communities, including through an expansion of the Technology for Educational Achievement (TEACH) Program. Overall, the governor’s plan would increase state funding for broadband programs by an estimated $34.5 million over the two-year budget cycle to a total estimated level of $40.5 million. Continue reading Governor’s Budget Aims to Expand Broadband Coverage for Rural Schools, Communities
Governor Walker announced rural school budget initiatives at several stops around the state today. The plan would boost sparsity aid and transportation aid, invest in rural broadband, include provisions relating to teacher recruitment/retention and sharing of services between districts, and continue Fab Lab grants. Several of the proposals are straight out of the WASB Legislative Agenda and supported by our membership via Delegate Assembly Resolutions.
In response, WASB Executive Director John Ashley released the following statement:
I want to thank Governor Walker for recognizing the needs of rural schools and following through with these proposed investments. The WASB and school board members have advocated for many of these proposals with the Governor’s office and state legislators. In fact, several were included in our legislative agenda and are supported by our members via resolutions.
It is important to note that some of these initiatives, in particular the UW Flex Option for recruiting and retaining teachers, would be helpful for all of our districts as urban/suburban schools are dealing with these issues as well.
Public schools are the bedrock of our communities and I look forward to continuing to work with the Governor and State Legislature on investing in all of Wisconsin’s public schools throughout this state budget process. Continue reading Governor Walker Proposes Rural Schools Initiatives; WASB Reaction
While providing no new specifics, Governor Scott Walker once again reiterated in his State of the State Address that he will increase funding to public schools in his state budget proposal next month. He also pledged to target assistance to rural schools and those with declining enrollment:
“Our budget will include a significant increase for public schools. We will also help rural schools that have unique challenges, such as transportation costs, broadband access, and declining enrollment.”
Gov. Scott Walker and State Supt. Tony Evers announced a new state broadband contract on Tuesday (Sept.6) that will significantly increase the capacity of BadgerNet, the state’s high-speed internet pipeline, which serves schools in all 72 counties while substantially reducing costs, saving the state about $8 million per year. The contract will also help connect additional schools throughout the state to the network.
One of the WASB’s lobbying goals has been to provide schools with greater bandwidth at lower cost. The WASB thanks those state officials and industry leaders who worked hard to secure the new deal. Through their efforts, the lower costs at new increased levels of bandwidth will make Wisconsin a leader in the nation in providing affordable broadband to every school. Continue reading New BadgerNet Contract Makes State a Leader in Providing Affordable Broadband to Schools
The Legislative Council has posted a list of the applicants tentatively chosen to participate in study committees that will take an in-depth look at a number of state issues this summer. Participants named in these lists must still be approved by a vote of the full Joint Legislative Council. A ballot has been sent to Council members, and the results will be tabulated and available after Friday (June 17).
Margaret Murphy, Board Clerk of the Neenah School Board was chosen to serve on the Legislative Council Study Committee on School Data. Eight of the nine public members tentatively named to that committee have strong ties to schools.
The WASB is looking for interested school board members to serve on Legislative Council Study Committees this summer and fall. It is important that there is school board member input on these committees, comprised of legislators and members of the public, as they recommend legislation to be passed in the next legislative session.
This year there are three that are likely to be of special interest to school board members and other school leaders: Student Data, Publication of Documents & Notices, and Rural Broadband. Continue reading Seeking School Board Members to Serve on Legislative Study Committees
The Legislative Council has created seven interim study committees, including three—a Study Committee on School Data, a Study Committee on Publication of Government Documents and Legal Notices; and a Study Committee on Rural Broadband—that are likely to be of special interest to school board members and other school leaders. You can find a brief description of each study committee, its chair and vice chair, and the proposed scope of its assignment here.
For each approved study topic, a committee is appointed that is comprised of legislative and public members with expertise or interest in the issue. Continue reading Legislative Council Announces Study Committees