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
In order to secure votes from Senate GOP holdouts for the state budget, Gov. Walker agreed to several vetoes, including the following related to K-12 education:
- Energy Efficiency Revenue Limit Exemption
Governor Walker originally proposed eliminating this exemption and the Legislature restored the program, albeit with a year-long moratorium preventing any projects for 2018. The Governor agreed to use his partial veto to alter the moratorium language. It doesn’t appear he can repeal the language creating this exemption by using his partial veto pen. However, it does appear he can creatively veto the moratorium provision in a way that would likely prevent districts that haven’t already adopted resolutions from being able to utilize this exemption for a very long time into the future. Continue reading Gov. Walker Agrees to K-12 Vetoes; WASB Submits Veto Requests
The following items related to teacher and administrator licensure were included in the GOP K-12 education package adopted by the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) :
Eliminate Expiration Dates for Teaching and Administrator Licenses–Provisional three-year licenses would be provided for new educators, administrators, and pupil service professionals, with a lifetime license granted after the completion of six semesters of successful experience, as certified by the school board(s) where the person worked. Continue reading JFC Budget Includes Major Changes to Teacher/Administrator Licensure
The Assembly Education Committee, chaired by state Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, held a public hearing on Aug. 24 on the following bills:
Assembly Bill 382 – This bill relates to screening school district employees for tuberculosis. The WASB worked with the Wisconsin Association of School Nurses and state Rep. Eric Genrich (D-Green Bay) to develop this bill.
WASB supports this bill and believes it will safeguard student, staff and public health while reducing school district costs. See: WASB Testimony on AB 382 Continue reading Employee TB Screening and State Aid Payment Schedule Bills Receive Public Hearing
Last week, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) co-chairs removed 83 provisions identified as “non-fiscal” policy items from the governor’s budget bill. (See previous post).
However, a number of policy items with a significant impact on school boards and school districts remain in the bill. Here we highlight a few of them: Continue reading Several Significant K-12 Policy Items Remain in Budget Bill
Gov. Walker’s proposed 2017-19 state budget recommends a reexamination of professional licensure generally in our state, and includes proposals to significantly change teacher and administrator licensure.
The Governor recommends that, rather than being subject to a five-year renewal, teaching and administrator licenses would be life licenses (i.e., perpetual), other than in cases of misconduct. The elimination of renewal requirements would apply to licenses issued after the effective date of the budget bill. (Note: In a separate change unrelated to licensure, the governor proposes repealing the existing statutory language that limits the contract term of school administrators to two years.)
Continue reading Governor’s Budget Plan Makes Significant Changes to Teacher Licensure
The recently released report, “A Coming Crisis in Teaching? Teacher Supply, Demand, and Shortages in the U.S.” details that teacher shortages are widespread throughout the United States and are having an impact on educational outcomes.
The report details four main factors driving the shortage: decline in teacher prep program enrollments, school district efforts to return to pre-recession pupil-teacher ratios, increasing student enrollment and higher teacher attrition. Continue reading National Teacher Shortage Report: Wisconsin is Middle of the Pack