While our main focus so far this legislative session has been on the state budget, separate legislation impacting school districts continue to be introduced. We are continually updating our WASB State Bill Tracking Chart as new bills are released so please check it regularly.
The chart can be found on the header menu of this blog under “WASB Resources” and on our main website, WASB.org, under Services & Resources>>>Advocacy & Government Relations>>>State Bill Tracking Chart.
Examples of some recently added bills include: Continue reading WASB Bill Tracking Chart updated with non-budget legislation
With property tax bills set to be mailed this week, school property taxes are likely to come under scrutiny once again.
Although per pupil revenue limits on school districts meant to hold down property taxes were unchanged by the Legislature, 2017-18 school levies totaled $4.945 billion, a slight increase of $87.1 million (1.8%) over the previous year, according to Dept. of Public Instruction (DPI) figures, and below the rate of inflation.
That increase in gross school levies will be more or less offset by an $87 million increase in the school levy credit, through which the state directly reduces the net tax due on taxpayers’ bills. Continue reading Statewide School Tax Levies Up Less Than Inflation
The state budget signed into law today (Sept. 21) significantly invests in our public school students and districts, one of the best investments we can make as a state. The substantial increases in per-pupil aid and other categorical aids are welcome and vitally important to our public school districts that serve the vast majority of students in Wisconsin and are tasked with preparing all of them for college and/or careers.
I also applaud the mental health-related supports for students and school districts included in the state budget. These needs have been overlooked for too long.
I am disappointed that neither revenue limit relief for low-spending districts nor an increase/expansion of sparsity aid were included in the final budget. Both are targeted to school districts that have special challenges and this was a lost opportunity. I am also disappointed with the further expansions of private school vouchers and special needs vouchers which continue to take us down the path of funding dual education systems when we have not been able to maintain even inflationary increases for our constitutionally mandated public school system. In addition, several policy items were included in the budget (e.g. teacher and administrator licensure changes, scheduling of referendum restrictions and restrictions for energy savings projects) that will impact the efficient operations of school districts.
Ultimately, I understand that a budget comes down to making hard choices with available resources and there will be provisions that school board members statewide both support and oppose. On behalf of all 422 locally elected school boards in Wisconsin, I want to thank the governor and members of the Legislature for their public service and for the positive items included for public schools. I also look forward to continuing to work with both the governor and lawmakers for the remainder of this legislative session.
Read: WASB Summary of Key 2017-19 State Budget Provisions for Public Schools
Governor Walker has announced his budget vetoes including eight vetoes relating to K-12 education. The most notable veto is the veto of the relief for low revenue districts. The language below is taken directly from the “Governor’s Veto Message in Brief“:
Low Revenue Ceiling
“”I am vetoing this section entirely because the result is a substantial increase in property tax capacity that school districts may exercise without voter input. In several school districts that would be eligible to raise taxes under these sections, referenda to exceed revenue limits already failed within the past two years. An increase in revenue authority from the state in these districts would circumvent purposeful, local actions. Continue reading Gov. Walker Announces Budget Vetoes Including Low Revenue Ceiling Increase
In order to secure votes from Senate GOP holdouts for the state budget, Gov. Walker agreed to several vetoes, including the following related to K-12 education:
- Energy Efficiency Revenue Limit Exemption
Governor Walker originally proposed eliminating this exemption and the Legislature restored the program, albeit with a year-long moratorium preventing any projects for 2018. The Governor agreed to use his partial veto to alter the moratorium language. It doesn’t appear he can repeal the language creating this exemption by using his partial veto pen. However, it does appear he can creatively veto the moratorium provision in a way that would likely prevent districts that haven’t already adopted resolutions from being able to utilize this exemption for a very long time into the future. Continue reading Gov. Walker Agrees to K-12 Vetoes; WASB Submits Veto Requests
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
The Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC) today approved the K-12 education provisions of the 2017-19 state budget on a 12-4 party-line vote. The $639 million GOP K-12 package includes the following key provisions:
Per Pupil Categorical Aid Funding Increase—Provide all districts with an increase of $200 per pupil in 2017-18 and $204 per pupil in 2018-19. Payments would total $450 per pupil in 2017-18 and $654 per pupil in 2018-19.
Continue reading JFC-Approved K-12 Package Increases Per Pupil Aid; Boosts Low Spending Districts