Voters throughout Wisconsin showed continued strong support for new and better school facilities yesterday. According to media reports, voters gave their approval to at least 41 of the 44 (93 percent) of the referendum requests to borrow money for school improvements. (One result, in the Big Foot UHS district, is considered by some in the media to be too close to call, although “yes” votes lead “no” votes in unofficial results on that question.)
After scrapping plans to come back in an extraordinary session to modify state law regarding special elections, it appears the state legislature has concluded its business for the 2017-18 legislative session. Let’s take a look back on the major proposals dealing with K-12 education and examine what made it into law and what did not.
If you are interested in the fate of a bill and you do not see it listed below consult the WASB Bill Tracking Chart. Also, for more information on any of the legislation listed below, click on the topic headings.
Continue reading 2017-18 Legislative Session K-12 wrap up
Voters approved all five local school referendums on the Feb. 20 ballot by comfortably large margins.
The largest request was in the Hamilton School District, in suburban Waukesha County, where voters approved the issuance of $57.4 million in bonding to construct and equip both a new intermediate school and an addition to the High School as well as related remodeling and renovations. In addition, Hamilton district voters concurrently authorized the school board to exceed the district’s revenue limit by $1.5 million on a recurring basis to cover the costs of operating the new intermediate school. Continue reading School district referendum questions uniformly approved
November 7 saw 10 school referendum questions on the ballot with 7 out of 10 being approved by voters. The passage rate of 70% was somewhat higher than April although there were far fewer questions on the ballot. April 2017 saw 40 out of 65 questions approved for an overall passage rate of 62%. November 2016 had an 82% approval rate and April 2016 saw 77% pass.
This continues a trend of historically high voter support for public school referenda. During the period from 1996-2010, for example, only 44% of referenda to exceed the revenue limits were approved by voters, according to the figures compiled by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. Continue reading Nov. 7 School Referenda Results: 70% Pass
The Senate version of a bill (Senate Bill 236) that would require school districts to use the competitive bidding process on certain school construction projects has been scheduled for a public hearing Tuesday, Oct. 3rd and committee vote Thursday, Oct. 5th in the Senate Local Government Committee. The bill is authored by state Sen. Duey Stroebel and state Rep. Robert Brooks (R’s-Saukville).
The WASB testified in opposition to the Assembly version (Assembly Bill 307) in July. Our position was determined based on support for local control and noted that the bill would limit or eliminate local board discretion and flexibility to use various project delivery methods for school construction. Continue reading Unfunded Mandate Update: Competitive Bidding & Construction Notices
The WASB testified in opposition to a bill (Assembly Bill 307) that would require school districts to use the competitive bidding process on all construction projects above $75,000. The WASB determined its position based on support for local control and noted that the bill would limit or eliminate local board discretion and flexibility to use various project delivery methods for school construction. (See previous post.)
A bill requiring school districts to utilize competitive bidding for school construction projects has been scheduled for a public hearing before the Assembly Committee on Local Government, chaired by Rep. Ed Brooks (R-Reedsburg). The hearing will be held:
Wednesday, July 12
Room 400 Northeast, State Capitol Continue reading Competitive Bidding Bill Scheduled for July 12 Hearing