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
When they go to the polls on Nov. 8, voters in 21 school districts will see at least one operating referendum to exceed revenue limits on their ballot. Voters in four districts–Fort Atkinson, McFarland, Monroe, and Turtle Lake—will see two operating referendum questions.
Already this year, voters have approved 37 of 46 (80%) of the operating referendum questions put before them in districts across the state. This includes 27 of 33 non-recurring questions (82%) and 10 of 13 recurring questions (77%). If voters in just 12 districts approve their ballot questions, it will set a new record for the number of districts passing referendums to exceed the revenue limits in one year. The current record (47 districts) was set in 2014. Continue reading 25 Operating Referendums on Nov. 8 Ballot
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
The Assembly Speaker’s Task Force on Youth Workforce Readiness has issued its long-awaited report. The brief, six-page report summarizes testimony and ideas provided to the task force over the course of five meetings and presents the chair’s recommendations for potential legislative action.
The task force was created by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and was chaired by state Rep. Bob Kulp (R-Stratford, pictured). Its mission was to explore new ways to encourage Wisconsin youth to pursue careers in the trades, manufacturing industry, and technical fields.
Recommendations put forward by the task force chair include: Continue reading Youth Workforce Readiness Task Force Issues Report
A new DPI emergency rule promulgated this week makes numerous changes to (PI 34) rules governing the licensure of school personnel, and aims to provide additional flexibility to individuals seeking a license for the 2016-17 school year.
The rule makes the following five specific changes: Continue reading New DPI Emergency Rules Aim to Ease School Staffing/Teacher Shortage Issues
A year ago, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) announced the formation of several bipartisan task forces including the Speaker’s Task Force on Urban Education. According to the Speaker, the goal of each task force was to explore possible solutions and recommend legislation to the full Assembly.
The Urban Education Task Force chair, Rep. Jessie Rodriguez (R-Franklin), released her final report in June. Vice-chair Rep. Sondy Pope (D-Mt. Horeb, pictured), on behalf of the task force Democrats, released a minority report which makes the following recommendations: Continue reading Democrats Release Urban Education Task Force Minority Report
The Government Relations presentation at the Summer Leadership Institute focused on trends in school funding in our state, including providing a realistic look at what we see as some of the barriers to achieving stable, predictable increases in school funding.
That presentation was followed by table-top discussions among attendees using a set of structured questions designed to get members thinking about topics of conversation they could (and should) be having with legislative candidates and incumbents in their areas. Below, we summarize the most common comments from those discussions.
Continue reading WASB Summer Leadership Institute Attendees Share Concerns, Aspirations for Their Schools