Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), the leaders of each house of the Wisconsin Legislature, today announced the formation of a Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding to be chaired by Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) and Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) (pictured at left from the Legislative Advocacy Conference). WASB Government Relations Director Dan Rossmiller has been appointed to the commission.
The press release announcing the formation of the commission indicates, “The commission will hold its first meeting this month. Beginning next year, the commission will travel around the state conducting public hearings to learn more about school funding issues in Wisconsin. Recommendations will be given to legislative leaders before the end of the session.” Continue reading Legislative Leaders Announce Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding
As the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC) began hearing briefings from various state agencies concerning their budget requests, Department of Administration Secretary Scott Neitzel used a portion of his testimony to highlight investments in K-12 education Gov. Walker is proposing. Here is what Sec. Neitzel told committee members earlier today:
Continue reading DOA Secretary Neitzel’s Testimony to JFC Touts Investments in K-12 Education in Gov’s Proposed Budget
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)
Reports from the Capitol suggest Gov. Walker may be signing Assembly Bill 793 into law within the next week or so. This bill creates a rural teacher loan forgiveness program by modifying the state’s existing teacher loan program to include teachers in rural areas.
The WASB Government Relations team worked with Rep. Romaine Quinn (R-Rice Lake) to develop this legislation as a way to help rural school districts to attract and retain teachers. Continue reading More on the Teacher Shortage and the WASB’s Efforts
Hiring effective and dedicated teachers is one of a school board’s most important duties and one that is becoming more and more challenging as teacher shortages are being reported across the country to varying degrees. WASB members are aware of these challenges and have been for some time. In 2015, the WASB Delegate Assembly passed three resolutions specifically relating to teacher shortages.
One resolution called for the WASB to “support state and federal initiatives to assist rural school districts in their efforts to attract and retain high quality staff, including student loan forgiveness programs and grants for teachers who commit to work in rural school districts for at least a minimum number of years as determined by the legislature”.
To implement this resolution, the WASB Government Relations team worked with Rep. Romaine Quinn (R-Chetek, pictured) to outline a number of options to help rural school districts to attract and retain teachers. Those discussion gave rise to Assembly Bill 793 which would create a rural teacher loan forgiveness program. The bill passed both the Senate and Assembly and currently awaits the governor’s signature. Already, some lawmakers are hopeful the program can be expanded in the next state budget.
Continue reading How the 2015-16 Legislature Addressed Teacher Shortage Issues
As we mentioned in a previous post, a group of rural Republican legislators recently announced the Rural Wisconsin Initiative, a package of seven pieces of legislation aimed at creating opportunities in out-state Wisconsin.
These bills are scheduled for a public hearing in the Assembly Mining and Rural Development Committee:
Thursday, February 4, 2016
Assembly Bill 793 Relating to: the teacher loan program. This bill expands eligibility for an existing student loan forgiveness program to teachers employed in rural school districts as defined by the bill. ( The WASB will likely register in support of this bill.) Continue reading Rural Wisconsin Initiative Bills Scheduled for Public Hearing Thursday
A group of rural Republican legislators led by Reps. Ed Brooks (Reedsburg), Romaine Quinn (Rice Lake), and Travis Tranel (Cuba City) announced the Rural Wisconsin Initiative, an initial package of seven pieces of legislation that they hope will jump-start a conversation on opportunities in out-state Wisconsin.
The plan includes bills that will boost funding for broadband expansion grants, increase available resources for youth apprenticeship grants, expand a student loan repayment program for rural teachers, and encourage expanded STEM education programs among others.
To view the full plan or offer suggestions, visit www.RuralWisconsinInitiative.com