Gov. Scott Walker today announced he’s reached a compromise with key lawmakers to provide additional financial relief to both low-revenue districts and small, rural districts next year. Attempts to reach such a compromise during the 2017-19 state budget debate did not bear fruit, but today’s announcement signals new life for this effort.
The legislation is authored by Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette, pictured at right) and would increase the low-revenue ceiling from $9,100 to $9,400 per pupil beginning in the next (2018-19) school year. The low-revenue ceiling would then increase by $100 per pupil each year until it reaches $9,800 per pupil in 2022-23.
The low-revenue ceiling is a feature in state law that helps the lowest-spending school districts by allowing them to collect more in property taxes without having to go to referendum. Assembly Republicans successfully pushed to add provisions to increase the low-revenue ceiling to the state budget bill. However, Gov. Walker vetoed the measure due to concerns over the impact it could have on property tax bills. Continue reading Governor Walker Announces Support For Increasing Low Revenue Ceiling and Sparsity Aid
Typically, the state Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC), comprised of eight senators and eight representatives, begins its review of the governor’s budget in February and completes its work in late May or early June. Then comes floor debate in the two houses and the completed budget is sent to the governor for his review and signature (or vetoes). If all goes well, this process is completed by July 1.
This year, however, the JFC not only hasn’t completed its review, it hasn’t met publicly since June 15, and it isn’t clear when the committee might meet again to wrap-up its work on the state’s two-year taxing and spending blueprint. Continue reading State Budget Remains Stalled—What’s Holding It Up?
Governor Scott Walker today signed into law Special Session Assembly Bill 1, a measure proposed by the WASB to ensure school personnel are protected from liability and able to administer a potentially life-saving opioid antidote to a student in an emergency.
WASB Executive Director John Ashley and WASB Government Relations Specialist Chris Kulow (pictured at left) were present this morning at DC Everest High School in Schofield for the bill signing ceremony.
They were joined by Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, Attorney General Brad Schimel, state Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette), the Assembly Co-Chair of the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee, who has been instrumental in leading the effort to turn into law measures to help combat the opioid epidemic in Wisconsin, and three other lawmakers.
Continue reading Governor Signs WASB-Initiated Bill to Ensure School Personnel Can Administer Life Saving Drugs to Those Overdosing
The Assembly Co-Chair of the state’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC) said today in a press conference that state Assembly and state Senate leaders are making progress in closed-door meetings on K-12 provisions in the state budget. Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette, pictured) said the meetings were productive and he thought they could come to agreement rather quickly. Along with Rep. Nygren, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Rep. Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) also participated in the negotiations on the Assembly side. Wispolitics.com reported that Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Senate JFC Co-Chair Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) were also involved in the meetings.
Rep. Nygren said he was hopeful that K-12 funding would be taken up by JFC next week. We have previously posted on the competing K-12 plans each house has been advocating for: Details Emerge on Senate GOP K-12 Plan; Assembly GOP Releases Sweeping K-12 Funding Plan; New Assembly School Funding Proposal Creates State Budget Impasse
Jason Stein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that state Senate Republicans are working on an alternative K-12 funding plan to one released previously by the Assembly GOP. The Senate plan reportedly also focuses on helping historically low-spending school districts.
The difference appears to be that whereas the Assembly GOP plan would allow those districts to raise revenue locally (property tax), the Senate GOP caucus members are looking to target state aid to low spenders. See the full story below with quotes from Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald , Assembly Speaker Vos, Sen. Olsen, JFC Co-Chair Nygren and more:
JSOnline: Senate GOP plan would help Wisconsin’s low-spending schools
In a Capitol news conference yesterday (June 6), state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester, pictured) and other Assembly GOP leaders unveiled their K-12 funding plan, which was described by Joint Finance Committee (JFC) Co-Chair John Nygren (R-Marinette) as setting forth a bargaining position from which to begin negotiations with the state Senate.
The $580 million plan provides public schools with about $90 million less state funding than Governor Walkers’ $649 million budget proposal and would not meet the governor’s long-stared goal that December 2018 property tax bills on the “hypothetical” median-valued home with the median tax rate in the state are lower than the December 2014 tax bill on the equivalent home.
State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau, pictured) released a statement even before the Assembly GOP news conference began saying his caucus “remains committed fully funding K-12 education as Governor Walker’s proposed” and adding that the Assembly GOP plan “is simply not the direction that this budget is headed.”
Here are details on the Assembly plan: Continue reading Assembly GOP Releases Sweeping Pre-K-12 Funding Plan; Senate GOP Leader Labels Proposal a Non-Starter
The Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC) has dropped plans to meet tomorrow (June 6). Assembly and Senate Republican caucuses have hit an apparent impasse on major unresolved pieces remaining in the budget, including pre-K-12 funding, transportation and taxes, according to the offices of the JFC co-chairs and reported by Wispolitics.com in an email to subscribers. Rumors of an impasse were heard late last week and spread as the week began and no JFC meeting notices were posted. JFC had previously planned to meet Tuesday (June 6) and Thursday (June 8) this week.
According to Wispolitics.com, Senate JFC Co-chair Alberta Darling (R-River) Hills, said she is still hopeful the committee can convene later this week; however, she said an Assembly GOP proposal unveiled late last week to tinker with Gov. Scott Walker’s K-12 education funding proposal has added a new area of division for the two houses, which were already at odds over transportation funding. Continue reading New Assembly School Funding Proposal Creates State Budget Impasse