As you are probably aware, the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) has scheduled six public hearings around the state on the governor’s 2017-19 state budget proposal.
With many interests competing for scarce budget dollars, school leaders need to make their voices heard. This time, we have the advantage of the governor proposing a significant increase to schools in his budget and we need to make sure the legislature knows how important that investment is to our schools and the students they serve. WASB Government Relations staff (either Dan Rossmiller or Chris Kulow) will be in attendance to assist school board members in registering to testify at all of the hearings.
**IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO ATTEND PLEASE NOTIFY DAN OR CHRIS AT WASB.**
Hearing Details Continue reading ALERT: Budget Hearing Start Times Announced
As we have posted before, Governor Walker has proposed targeting aid to rural schools to help them provide a high-quality education despite declining enrollment. In addition to increases in per pupil categorical aid, the governor is proposing in his budget significant increases to both Sparsity Aid and High Cost Transportation Aid. Over the two years of the 2017-19 budget, it allocates an additional $30,572,600 for rural schools under these programs. Continue reading Governor’s Budget Proposes More Resources for Rural Schools
Governor Walker announced rural school budget initiatives at several stops around the state today. The plan would boost sparsity aid and transportation aid, invest in rural broadband, include provisions relating to teacher recruitment/retention and sharing of services between districts, and continue Fab Lab grants. Several of the proposals are straight out of the WASB Legislative Agenda and supported by our membership via Delegate Assembly Resolutions.
In response, WASB Executive Director John Ashley released the following statement:
I want to thank Governor Walker for recognizing the needs of rural schools and following through with these proposed investments. The WASB and school board members have advocated for many of these proposals with the Governor’s office and state legislators. In fact, several were included in our legislative agenda and are supported by our members via resolutions.
It is important to note that some of these initiatives, in particular the UW Flex Option for recruiting and retaining teachers, would be helpful for all of our districts as urban/suburban schools are dealing with these issues as well.
Public schools are the bedrock of our communities and I look forward to continuing to work with the Governor and State Legislature on investing in all of Wisconsin’s public schools throughout this state budget process. Continue reading Governor Walker Proposes Rural Schools Initiatives; WASB Reaction
Giving a “mini-preview” of the biennial budget request he will submit to the governor next month, State Superintendent Tony Evers this week announced a set of proposed administrative rule changes intended to expand high-quality summer learning opportunities for kids and to slow the so-called “summer learning slide” that occurs when students are our of school for an extended period of time.
The new proposed rules will give school districts new funding flexibility by clarifying that federal funds can be used to support summer learning and allowing open enrollment students to be counted in summer school membership. Continue reading Evers, DPI Propose Increased Summer School Flexibility
We recently posted about the Department of Public Instruction’s (DPI) announcement that it distributed $7.5 million in aid to districts with above-average student transportation costs last month through the High Cost Transportation Aid program.
As detailed in a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, many rural districts (Rhinelander, Adams-Friendship, and River Valley are featured) do not qualify for the program for various reasons. As noted in the article, the legislature has tinkered with the eligibility criteria in an effort to direct the funds to where they are most needed. The WASB will be urging for improvements to the program in coming budget discussions with DPI and the Governor’s office. Continue reading High Cost Transportation Aid Eludes Many Rural Districts
From DPI: The Department of Public Instruction distributed $7.5 million in aid to districts with above-average student transportation costs last month through the High Cost Transportation Aid program.
Districts were eligible for high cost transportation aid if their transportation costs exceed 150 percent of the statewide average cost per member, which was $418.87 per student. Additionally, student membership within the district must have been 50 students or fewer per square mile. Aid is based on audited information from the previous fiscal year (2014-15) and was paid June 20.
Read More: DPI Release
From The Hill: “AAA is renewing calls for school buses to install seat belts to protect students after a handful of recent crashes.
Continue reading AAA Reportedly Seeks Federal Law to Require Seat Belts on School Buses Nationwide