Nearly nine months ago, the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding issued its recommendations. Ever since, school leaders have been waiting patiently for those recommendations to be put forward as legislation.
Recently, however, a number of bills have been put forward to implement recommendations made by the Commission. Several are described below:
Senate Bill 182 and Assembly Bill 196, a pair of companion bills authored by Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and Rep. Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz), would expand eligibility for sparsity aid in a way that mirrors the recommendations made by both the Blue Ribbon Commission and the Rural Schools Task Force (2013). (See Recommendation #2 under Sparsity Aid on page 7 of the Commission Report.)
Continue reading Bills Reflecting Blue Ribbon Commission Recommendations Are Being Advanced
State Assembly committee membership has been set for the 2019-20 legislative session. As we previously shared here, Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt is returning as chairman of the Assembly Committee on Education. Included in the committee membership are two newly-elected members who are also sitting school board members: Rep. Timothy Ramthun (Kewaskum) and Rep. Robert Wittke (Racine Unified, not running for reelection in April). Rep. Don Vruwink is also a sitting school board member (Milton) and Vice-chair Rep. Joel Kitchens is a former school board member (Sturgeon Bay) and chaired the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding.
Below are the other committee members including the school districts represented by each. If you are a board member or administrator in one of these districts you are in a prime position to influence committee action on K-12 legislation this session. Continue reading Assembly education committee: new members and the school districts they represent
Governor Scott Walker is scheduled to sign 90 bills, including several affecting K-12 education, during a marathon bill signing ceremony scheduled to last from noon until 6:00 p.m. on Monday (April 16).
Among the bills scheduled to be signed are:
Assembly Bill 332, which restores local control over the number of signatures required for the nomination of candidates to the school board in school districts that contain territory lying within a 2nd class city. Continue reading Governor to sign more K-12 education bills into law Monday
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
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
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has announced state Assembly committee membership for the 2017-18 legislative session. As we previously shared here, Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (pictured) is returning as chairman of the Assembly Education Committee. This is his second session as chair of the committee. Below are the other GOP Representatives (minority/Democrat committee membership has not yet been announced) on the committee including the school districts represented by each. If you are a board member or administrator in one of these districts you are in a prime position to influence committee action on K-12 legislation this session. Continue reading Assembly Education Committee Members and the School Districts They Represent (Updated)
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