Speaking before the State Education Convention last Friday, Gov. Walker said he will use a portion of the surplus funds to cover the cost of the legislative proposal to increase sparsity aid $100 per pupil which is expected to cost the state about $6.4 million next year. The governor also backed the part of the bill he previously vetoed from the state budget that would raise the low-revenue ceiling from $9,100 per pupil to $9,400 per pupil next year and eventually to $9,800 per pupil by the 2022-23 school year.
Gov. Walker told convention attendees he expects lawmakers to back this legislation, which has been introduced as identical companion bills Senate Bill 690 and Assembly Bill 835. The governor is expected to highlight these bills in his State of the State speech at 3 pm, Wednesday, January 24 and urge lawmakers to approve them. AB 835 has a public hearing in the Assembly Education Committee on Thursday, January 25. SB 690 was referred to the Joint Finance Committee.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) announced he is appointing Senator Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) to the Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee. Stroebel will replace Sheila Harsdorf who resigned her Senate seat to become Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Her open state Senate seat will be filled in a special election in January.
Sen. Stroebel released a statement that reads in part: Continue reading Senator Stroebel Appointed to Powerful Budget-Writing Committee
Updated: The state Senate voted 19-14 to pass the state budget and send it to Gov. Walker after he agreed to certain vetoes to gain the support of Senate GOP holdouts Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield), Sen. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) and Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville).
Read More: Scott Walker strikes deal with Republican holdouts as Wisconsin Senate passes budget (Cap Times)
Continue reading Senate Approves State Budget Bill With Gov. Walker Veto Deal
The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) budget includes modifications to the Opportunity Schools Partnership Program (OSPP) school takeover law that are aimed at the Racine Unified School District (RUSD). The school district is not mentioned by name in the language of the motion adopted by the JFC but that language describes a school district with characteristics that currently apply only to RUSD. (Statutory language of the budget bill will be finalized in the next few days, before the JFC-approved version goes first to the Assembly, then the Senate, for votes on the floor of those houses next week.)
Under current law, the OSPP law applies to a school district that: (1) has a pupil membership is greater than 15,000; (2) was assigned to the lowest performance category on the accountability reports (report cards) published for the district in the 2 most recent school years; and (3) received intradistrict transfer aid in the same 2 most recent school years. Continue reading JFC Budget Includes School Takeover Provisions Aimed at Racine Unified
The Joint Finance Committee wrapped up its work on the state budget last night. As part of that final session, the GOP JFC members approved a significant expansion of special needs vouchers as well as a final wrap up motion that included a provision on special needs open enrollment payments (see below).
The budget now heads to the Assembly for a floor vote on Wednesday, Sept. 13 with a Senate vote expected soon afterwards. After an identical version passes both houses, Gov. Scott Walker has the opportunity to use his powerful veto pen to make final modifications. The Legislature has the power to override any veto with a two-thirds majority vote by both houses. Continue reading Budget Committee Wraps Up Budget Work
The state’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee voted along party lines 12-4 on a GOP motion to expand the Special Needs Scholarship Program (SNSP) as part of the state budget bill. This program provides vouchers to enable students with disabilities to attend participating private schools with no income eligibility limits. Governor Walker did not propose expanding the program in his budget proposal. The following proposals adopted today (Sept. 6), and described below, are estimated to expand special needs voucher program participation by 250 pupils in 2018-19 and result in an over $3 million aid reduction to public school districts in 2018-19: Continue reading JFC Approves Special Needs Voucher Expansion
A potentially significant change to the way amounts transferred for the open enrollment of special education pupils and the aid deduction for special needs voucher pupils are calculated has been proposed and is scheduled for discussion and a possible vote by the JFC next Tuesday (Sept. 5).
We had previously shared language with you that was included in the Assembly GOP Education Package released in June. We assume the changes allegedly being sought are similar in nature: Continue reading Budget Committee to Act on Special Needs Vouchers/Open Enrollment on Sept. 5