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Governor vetoes several education-related bills including competitive bidding mandate

Gov. Evers issued vetoes on a large number of bills today (3/29). Included on that list were several pieces of legislation that the WASB was tracking (veto messages linked below):

SB 335/AB 342 Relating to: allowing school boards to employ a school district administrator who is not licensed by the department of public instruction.

SB 489/AB 510 Relating to: rights reserved to a parent or guardian of a child. 

SB 608/AB 640 Relating to: a license to teach based on working as a paraprofessional in a school district. 

SB 688/AB 723 Relating to: local government competitive bidding thresholds and requiring school districts to utilize competitive bidding. 

Senate meets today for last legislative action of 2023-24 session

The Wisconsin State Senate meets today (3/12) at 11am in floor session to take up a large calendar full of appointments, legislation and constitutional amendments. This is expected to be the last legislative action of the 2023-24 state legislative session. After today, any bills that have not passed through both houses of the legislature (in identical form) are not becoming law this session. This includes the following legislation related to K-12 education the WASB has been tracking (SB=Senate Bill/AB=Assembly Bill): (more…)

JFC approves the 4 early literacy curricula recommended by council

The state Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) has voted along party lines to select the early literacy curricula that will comprise the recommended list of curricula under 2023 Wisconsin Act 20, the law that revamped early reading requirements. See our previous blog post for more background. Democrats on the committee moved to approve the 11 curricula proposed by the DPI but were voted down. The GOP-supported motion approves only the four curricula selected by the Council on Early Literacy Curricula: Core Knowledge Language Arts K-3, Our EL Education Language Arts, Wit and Wisdom with Pk-3 Reading Curriculum, and Bookworms Reading and Writing K-3. As we stated previously, schools are not required to use one of these four recommendations, but there is an opportunity to have some of the cost reimbursed by the state if a school decides to choose one from the list. (more…)

Action needed: DPI proposes changes to school start date to allow schools more flexibility

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) recently proposed changes (Clearinghouse Rule CR 24-026) to the school start date rule that governs the issuance of start date waivers. The goal behind this is to provide clearer guidance and additional flexibility for school districts when applying for a waiver. The proposed rule provides more flexibility for school boards when seeking to adjust their school calendars to better meet the academic and local needs of their respective districts. Currently, school boards are significantly limited in requesting an exemption to the school start date.

The WASB strongly supports this proposed rule based on our WASB Resolution supporting local control of the school start date. While this does not get us all of the way back to school boards having the authority to set their own start date locally, boards would be granted greater flexibility in determining the start date for their district. PLEASE SUBMIT COMMENTS IN SUPPORT OF THIS RULE (information on how to do this is below). (more…)

Joint Finance Committee schedules meeting for Monday on reading curricula

The state Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) has scheduled a meeting for Monday, March 11, 11:01am on what early literacy curricula will be approved under 2023 Wisconsin Act 20, the law that revamped early reading requirements. The DPI had recommended 11 curricula that it says meet Act 20 requirements after a council on early reading curricula (set up at the DPI by Act 20) recommended four. A member of the JFC objected to DPI’s recommendations triggering the committee meeting. See the background paper from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB), including the list of curricula, for the meeting here.

The DPI recommended three out of the four curricula recommended by the literacy council. The LFB paper included potential alternatives the committee could choose from including approving the 11 submitted by the DPI, the four approved by the council, the three that were approved by both, or outright deny the request. The JFC is not bound to select one of those alternatives, however. Whatever the outcome, schools are not required to use curricula from the finalized list of recommendations, but there is an opportunity to have some of the cost reimbursed by the state if a school decides to choose one from the list.