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Updates on key bills affecting K-12 education

The 2019-20 legislative session is nearing its final stages. The state Assembly plans to meet twice—on Tuesday (2/18) at 1:00 p.m. and again on Thursday (2/20) and then adjourn for the year. The Senate plans to meet on Wednesday (2/19) next week and likely once more in March before adjourning.

The pace of legislative activity inside the Capitol has really picked up within last few weeks. Despite the short window for getting bills passed, lawmakers are still introducing new bills, and some of those are receiving committee hearings and being scheduled for floor votes, while many others likely will not advance. Numerous bills that had been previously introduced and been given hearings are at long last being voted out of committee, often with amendments. It can be a challenge to keep up with the flurry of activity. To help you, we’ve compiled a short non-exhaustive list of some of the bills that have drawn our attention.

Recent legislative activity on these bills affecting K-12 education include:  (more…)

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More details on Governor’s plan; what would it mean to your school district?

As we posted previously, Gov. Evers last week called for a special session of the legislature to take up a plan to invest a portion of state surplus funding in K-12 education. The governor’s proclamation calls for the special session to convene at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 11, 2020, which is tomorrow. 

We now have more details of the plan, including district by district breakdowns for the additional proposed special education reimbursement aid, as well as the proposed sparsity aid increase.

See below more specific details of the plan:

(more…)

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Hearings held Wednesday on bills to ease rehiring of retired teachers

A pair of identical companion bills aimed at boosting the teacher supply by encouraging retired teachers back into classroom teaching received public hearings on Wednesday, Jan. 29 in the State Capitol.

The bills would allow rehired retirees who return to teaching full time to elect to not participate in the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) for a period of 3 years, thus allowing them to continue to receive their WRS pension while working. (See: WASB Testimony) (more…)

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State panel denies dissolution of the Palmyra-Eagle School District

By a 6-1 tally, the School District Boundary Appeals Board voted yesterday to deny the dissolution of the Palmyra-Eagle School District. The panel’s vote means the financially challenged district will continue to operate for the foreseeable future.

The boundary appeals board, a state-appointed panel made up of school board members from across the state and a designee of the state superintendent, held six public hearings to take testimony from the Palmyra-Eagle district and community members, as well as surrounding districts, regarding the merits of dissolving the district or keeping it intact.

At yesterday’s seventh meeting, all six board members who represent other local school boards voted with the majority. Only the state superintendent of public instruction’s designee voted against keeping the district open.

(more…)

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Senate committee advances energy efficiency bill, defers action on lead testing bill

The Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy today advanced a bill that would restore the energy efficiency revenue limit exemption subject to certain new limitations designed to provide greater protections to property taxpayers.  The Committee, chaired by State Sen. Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay, pictured at left), voted 4-1 to recommend Senate Bill 494 for passage. (Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green, pictured below at right) cast the sole negative vote.)

The bill now goes to the Senate Organization Committee, where getting the bill scheduled for a floor vote is the next hurdle. It was concerns on the part of several state senators about the impact of the energy efficiency exemption on raising property taxes that led them to persuade Gov. Walker to use his partial veto to alter the energy efficiency exemption.  The effect of Gov. Walker’s veto was to prevent school districts from newly accessing this exemption from January 1, 2018 until the year 3018. (more…)

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