Our prediction is that whatever the weather, you will have good meetings with your lawmakers during the WASB Day at the Capitol on Wednesday, March 13.
We’ve arranged meetings for you and will have informative presentations, handouts and leave behind materials for you. Your role is to make sure legislators don’t take resources for schools for granted.
With talk about the Legislature possibly scrapping the governor’s budget and starting from scratch, your voice telling the legislators who represent you to follow the public’s lead and provide necessary resources for schools is more important than ever! Continue reading Forecast for Day at the Capitol: Good meetings
Ahead of Gov. Evers’ anticipated introduction of his proposed 2019-21 state budget on Thursday (Feb. 28), we thought this would be a good time to let you know about just a few of the non-budget advocacy activities the WASB Government Relations Team has been engaged with.
Method for Giving Notice of Special Board Meetings – We’ve been working with Rep. Rick Gundrum (R-Slinger) and Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) on draft legislation to modernize the statutory procedures for providing notice of special school board meetings. The language would mirror a similar change made last session which updated the statutes relating to giving notice of special city council meetings. We expect this draft bill will be circulated for co-signers in the coming weeks. Continue reading As we await Gov. Evers’ budget, WASB GR staff is working with lawmakers on legislation
The Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding held its seventh public hearing yesterday in Tomahawk and a number of themes emerged.
One common theme is that many northern Wisconsin school districts are challenged by declining enrollment. This has two main effects: first, it reduces districts’ revenue limit authority because revenue limits are tied to enrollment; and second, as the number of pupils decreases, at any given level of property values, a district will appear more property wealthy on a per pupil basis, which results in that district losing state aid under the general aid formula. Continue reading Several themes heard at Blue Ribbon Commission hearing in Tomahawk
Boards finalizing their 2016-17 proposed budgets should keep in mind that contributions paid by Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) employees (e.g., teachers, administrators and other covered school staff) and employers (e.g., school districts) into the system will increase, effective January 1, 2017.
The total rate for general employees (e.g., teachers, administrators and other covered staff) will increase to 13.6 percent, an increase of 0.4 percent of payroll. In most instances, this means both the school district employer and employee contributions will increase to 6.8 percent on January 1, 2017. Continue reading Reminder: WRS Contribution Rates Will Increase on January 1
The Wisconsin State Journal reports Republican lawmakers are laying the groundwork for changes to state and local government workers’ pensions, including those of school district employees, that could reduce the monthly payouts and raise the age at which they could retire.
One bill expected to be introduced this month would change the way pension annuity payments are calculated for state and local government workers covered under the Wisconsin Retirement System or WRS, including teachers, in five years — payments would be determined by averaging workers’ top five years of pay instead of the top three. Continue reading Public Employees Would Face Retirement Changes Under GOP Bills
Yesterday, we highlighted a couple of changes in the “wrap up” motion adopted by the Joint Finance Committee (JFC). Today, we highlight four more.
Grants for Fabrication Laboratories (“Fab Labs”). Included in the JFC “wrap-up” motion (see Item #62) were provisions to provide $500,000 to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to develop and implement an program to make up to $500,000 in grants to eligible recipients for purchases of equipment used in fabrication laboratories for instructional and educational purposes by grade school, middle school or junior high school , and high school students. Continue reading More Details on Provisions Included in JFC “Wrap-up” Motion (And Some That Will Be Removed)
The Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) has published the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) contribution rates for 2016. Contribution rates for most WRS employers and employees will decrease for 2016.
The total rates for the “General/Teacher” employee category decrease from 13.6 percent in 2015 to 13.2 percent in 2016. In most instances this means that both the school district employee and employer contributions will change to 6.6 percent on January 1, 2016 (unfunded liabilities are not included and, if those exist, they will vary by employer).
The ETF notes that rates are decreasing primarily due to positive investment returns. The full ETF press release is available here.