Nearly nine months ago, the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding issued its recommendations. Ever since, school leaders have been waiting patiently for those recommendations to be put forward as legislation.
Recently, however, a number of bills have been put forward to implement recommendations made by the Commission. Several are described below:
Senate Bill 182 and Assembly Bill 196, a pair of companion bills authored by Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and Rep. Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz), would expand eligibility for sparsity aid in a way that mirrors the recommendations made by both the Blue Ribbon Commission and the Rural Schools Task Force (2013). (See Recommendation #2 under Sparsity Aid on page 7 of the Commission Report.)
Continue reading Bills Reflecting Blue Ribbon Commission Recommendations Are Being Advanced
State Assembly committee membership has been set for the 2019-20 legislative session. As we previously shared here, Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt is returning as chairman of the Assembly Committee on Education. Included in the committee membership are two newly-elected members who are also sitting school board members: Rep. Timothy Ramthun (Kewaskum) and Rep. Robert Wittke (Racine Unified, not running for reelection in April). Rep. Don Vruwink is also a sitting school board member (Milton) and Vice-chair Rep. Joel Kitchens is a former school board member (Sturgeon Bay) and chaired the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding.
Below are the other committee members 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: new members and the school districts they represent
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