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DPI: Debt ceiling legislation will not impact COVID relief funds allocated to schools

From the Dept. of Public Instruction:

“Education partners, DPI is pleased to share the attached information (see below) sent by the US Department of Education confirming that the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, which suspended the Federal debt ceiling, does not impact formula-driven COVID-19 relief funds awarded under the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) program, the Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools (EANS) program, the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) program, or the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief – Homeless Children and Youth (ARP-HCY) program. LEAs should continue to spend and claim these funds according to their DPI approved budgets and plans by their federal deadlines (September 30, 2023 and September 30, 2024).” (more…)

JFC to start budget votes on Tuesday, plans to remove 545 items from governor’s plan

Many of Governor Tony Evers’ budget proposals will be on the chopping block Tuesday (May 2) as the GOP-controlled, budget-writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC) takes its first votes on the budget.

In a memo to committee members released on Friday (April 28), JFC Co-chairs, Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam) outlined the process the Committee will follow in reviewing the 2023-25 state budget.

The Co-Chairs’ memo also stated their intention to draft a motion to remove a list of 545 of Evers’ proposals from further budget consideration.  The full list of items was contained in the memo. 

The meeting notice for Tuesday’s (May 2) executive (voting) session was also released Friday (April 28). That notice included the draft motion and list of items to be removed. (See page 2 of the notice.)

The list of items slated for removal that are related to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is provided below. 

Interestingly, the governor’s recommendation to provide $10 million per year for early literacy and reading improvement is not on the list of items slated for removal.  That item can be found at page 493 of the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) summary document. It is item #6. 


USDA proposes significant changes to school meal standards.

Last Friday (Feb. 3), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is proposing significant changes to standards governing school meals. The changes are aimed at making the meals healthier, with a particular emphasis on reducing sugar and salt. 

A 60-day public comment period on the proposal starts tomorrow (Tuesday, Feb.7).   The proposed changes are the product of a multiyear effort, and were developed with input from school nutrition professionals, public health experts, industry and parents, according to a USDA statement


Report: Unfunded special education costs burden Wisconsin school districts, divert funds from general education for all students

A new report from the Education Law Center finds Wisconsin school districts collectively faced a bill of $1.25 billion in unfunded special education costs in the 2019-2020 school year, even after accounting for state special education reimbursement and federal IDEA funds.

The report calls on the State to significantly boost the reimbursement rate for special education to enable districts to retain revenue in the general fund and increase spending on essential programs and services for all students.

Statewide, unfunded special education costs borne by Wisconsin school districts have grown from $1.03 billion in the 2015-16 school year, a figure reported by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. (more…)

September 12 is deadline to submit comments on proposed changes to federal Title IX regulations

The U.S. Department of Education’s Proposed Rule to modify/amend the federal Title IX regulations is currently subject to a public comment opportunity for school districts and other interested parties to submit feedback to influence the final version of the regulations. The deadline for submitting comments on the Proposed Rule is September 12, 2022.

The WASB has prepared a general summary of the amendments found in the Proposed Rule, with brief commentary, that is intended to help Title IX Coordinators and other school district leaders understand the scope of the Proposed Rule and determine whether their school district wishes to submit any comments for purposes of their local advocacy. The WASB has attempted to identify the proposals that are likely to be of greatest interest to most school districts, however, the overview highlights only some of changes that are included in the Proposed Rule. (more…)

Study looks at ways federal government shortchanges K-12 public education

From EdWeek: “The federal government contributes roughly 8 percent of the $795 billion that annually goes toward educating the nation’s 50 million children. In many cases, however, the federal share falls short of its self-imposed targets, shortchanging schools on everything from high-need students and special education to facilities and school meals.

“This shortfall will persist without more vigorous and reliable federal intervention, argue the authors of a new report on funding sources for K-12 schools.

“Instead of asking school districts to rely on volatile state and local revenue, they say, the federal government needs to dramatically step up its investment in K-12 education and proactively establish funding programs that help schools during economic downturns.” (more…)