Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), the leaders of each house of the Wisconsin Legislature, today announced the formation of a Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding to be chaired by Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) and Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) (pictured at left from the Legislative Advocacy Conference). WASB Government Relations Director Dan Rossmiller has been appointed to the commission.
The press release announcing the formation of the commission indicates, “The commission will hold its first meeting this month. Beginning next year, the commission will travel around the state conducting public hearings to learn more about school funding issues in Wisconsin. Recommendations will be given to legislative leaders before the end of the session.” Continue reading Legislative Leaders Announce Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding
The Wisconsin Legislature wrapped up its fall floor period last week. Lawmakers won’t return to the floor again until January. The fate of any number of bills may depend on how many proposals the houses want to tackle.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) told WisPolitics.com late last week that he expects the Assembly to meet for two weeks in January and two weeks in February as well.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said he expects the Senate to be in one day each in January, February and March. Continue reading Legislature Recesses Until January; Hopes Dim for Action on Sparsity Aid, Relief for Low-Revenue Districts
The state Senate and Assembly are set to be on the floor again this week and next week. This is the last scheduled floor period during calendar 2017. Once it concludes, neither house will meet again until January.
Although the floor session is scheduled to begin on Oct. 31 and run until Nov. 9, neither house will meet on every available day during the floor session.
The state Senate is scheduled to meet Tuesday, Oct. 31, and Tuesday, Nov. 7.
The state Assembly will be in session on Thursday, Nov. 2, and Thursday, Nov. 9. Assembly members have also been told to keep Tuesday, Nov. 7, open for a potential session day.
Three remaining floorperiods are scheduled, each of them two weeks long, in January, February and March. However, there is talk of wrapping up the 2017-18 legislative session early in 2018 so that, among other things, legislators can focus on their districts in preparation for November’s election.
Continue reading Senate Set to Vote on Several Bills Affecting K-12 Education Tomorrow
Governor Scott Walker is visiting schools in Wausaukee, Cadott, and Belmont today to announce his support for new legislation to increase Sparsity Aid for rural schools, an idea he championed earlier this year.
Currently, the Sparsity Aid Program aims to offset the challenges faced by the smallest, most rural school districts in the state through providing $300 in per-pupil funding for districts with enrollments of 745 or less and a density of less than 10 pupils per square mile.
Continue reading New Plan to Boost Sparsity Aid Gets Gov. Walker’s Backing
As the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC) began hearing briefings from various state agencies concerning their budget requests, Department of Administration Secretary Scott Neitzel used a portion of his testimony to highlight investments in K-12 education Gov. Walker is proposing. Here is what Sec. Neitzel told committee members earlier today:
Continue reading DOA Secretary Neitzel’s Testimony to JFC Touts Investments in K-12 Education in Gov’s Proposed Budget
Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) will return as the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC), the powerful state budget-writing committee. Two new committee members, Rep. Mark Born of Beaver Dam and Rep. Mike Rohrkaste of Neenah, were appointed to replace retiring Rep. Dean Knudson (R-Hudson) while Rep. Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh) was removed from the committee.
See the full list below, along with the school districts each represents. If you are a board member or administrator in one of these districts you are in a great position to have the ear of legislators who are very influential in the development of the state budget: Continue reading School Districts Represented by GOP Members of Joint Finance Committee
In a State Capitol bill signing ceremony, Governor Scott Walker signed a raft of bills into law yesterday, including two education bills the WASB supported.
Assembly Bill 664, authored by Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) and Sen. Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg), prohibits the Department of Health Services (DHS) from requiring a mental health clinic or a licensed treatment professional to designate a school site as a clinic office in order to provide outpatient mental health services at the school. It also requires DHS to provide Medical Assistance reimbursement to licensed treatment professionals for mental health services provided at a school, to the extent federal law allows such reimbursement, regardless of whether the school site is designated as a clinic office and regardless of whether the licensed treatment professional is employed by, a contractor of, or affiliated with a clinic. State Rep. Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc) also played a key role in developing this legislation. It is Act 294.
Assembly Bill 824, (pictured above) authored by Rep. Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz) and Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst), adjusts sparsity aid eligibility to allow the Crivitz and Spring Valley school districts to continue to receive sparsity aid payments this year, without reducing sparsity aid payments to any other qualifying district. This new law also permanently raises the current 725 pupil cap on school district membership for sparsity aid eligibility to 745 pupils, beginning in the 2016-17 school year. This legislation was also co-authored by Rep. Warren Petryk (R-Eleva) and Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma). It is Act 305.
The governor also signed at least five other bills that will or will likely have an impact on schools, including: Continue reading Governor Signs Two WASB-Backed Education Bills