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
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
Gwyn Guenther of theWheelerReport.com reported on her podcast (Wheelercast #8) that because of scheduling conflicts the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC) will likely not be able to meet again to take up the remaining parts of the state budget and the Foxconn incentive bill until the week of August 21st. Summer post-budget is typically when many lawmakers are on family vacations or travelling to national conferences to network with colleagues from other states.
While the GOP Senate and Assembly have disagreed on whether the budget or Foxconn bill should be taken up first, it is likely that both will move forward concurrently.
The state Senate’s K-12 funding package unveiled on July 18 (see previous post) contains an especially troubling referendum-related provision that has not been previously considered by the Legislature. The July 18 package was the first time it was made public.
The provision specifically targets low-property-wealth-per-pupil districts and impacts their ability to receive state aid. As described in the Senate package, going forward, it would exclude from “shared cost” any amount levied by a district in a prior year for either operating or debt service costs that were authorized by a referendum if doing so would not increase the district’s equalization aid entitlement. The provision first applies to referenda held after the budget bill becomes law. Continue reading Senate K-12 Provision Would Disadvantage Poorer School Districts, Distort Key Principle of Equalization Aid Formula
At a Capitol press conference, Senate Republicans today released key details behind their budget proposal and a set of memos from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau summarizing the plan.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said that the Senate GOP proposal includes all actions taken by the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) through June 15, plus what his caucus worked on as well as the agreements the Senate has reached with the Assembly on K-12 funding. Fitzgerald sent a letter to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos asking for the Assembly GOP’s response to the Senate proposal in the hope that the JFC can meet and complete all outstanding issues in one session.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Latest state budget plan increases money for schools, but local taxpayers share costs
Among the key K-12 provisions affecting public schools are the following: Continue reading State Senate Republicans Unveil Budget Plan
The WASB Summer Leadership Institute is this Friday & Saturday (July 14-15) in Green Bay. The event will kick off with a networking dinner and inspiring keynote speaker and former Packer George E. Koonce, Jr. on Friday evening. Saturday will feature three tracks of programming focusing on:
–the fundamentals of board governance for members in their first term of office;
–advanced board governance for more experienced members; and
–a mix of popular topics featuring engagement at each level – with fellow board members, students, staff and the community.
At the conclusion of the event, all tracks will conclude with a legislative/budget update from Government Relations Director Dan Rossmiller. Dan will share details of what Capitol sources indicate the Senate and Assembly have agreed on (as well as predictions on what they are likely to agree on) and will be included in the Joint Finance Committee K-12 budget. Will the Governor’s proposed per pupil aid increases survive intact? What about help for low-spending districts? Sparsity aid? Voucher expansion? Attend the legislative/budget update session at 2:30 p.m. to find out.
Looking forward to seeing you this weekend in Green Bay!
The state budget impasse continues as Senate and Assembly GOP leaders continue to disagree on the amount of borrowing for road projects. Gov. Walker issued a letter to GOP legislative leaders proposing a compromise deal based on procuring additional Federal dollars to help fund highway projects. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, on the K-12 front it appears the sides are a lot closer to reaching a deal:
“An agreement among lawmakers could be near on another budget sticking point — funding for K-12 schools, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Thursday. Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said it’s possible the Legislature’s budget committee could reconvene soon, for the first time in nearly a month, to take up school funding.” Continue reading Budget Impasse Continues but K-12 Agreement May Be Close