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U.S. Supreme Court reverses decision setting Wisconsin legislative district lines, sends case back to Wis. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court today (3/23) summarily reversed the decision of the Wisconsin State Supreme Court handed down earlier this month which adopted legislative redistricting maps submitted by Governor Evers. In a somewhat technical decision, the U.S. high court sided with arguments raised by state Republicans and remanded the case back to the Wisconsin Supreme Court for further proceedings not inconsistent with its order. 

This means legislative district boundaries for districts on the November 2022 ballot remain unsettled at this time, even though state statutes provide that nomination papers for those offices may be circulated as soon as April 15.  However, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s adoption of Congressional maps submitted by Governor Evers, so district lines for those races appear to be set, barring any further developments. (more…)

U.S. Dept. of Education releases new CTE factsheet to help guide ESSER III decisions

The U.S. Department of Education (USED) recently released a new factsheet highlighting how states and local school districts can make use of funding from the American Rescue Plan Act’s (ARPA) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) funding to support high-quality career and technical education (CTE) programs.

In particular, the factsheet emphasizes CTE as a powerful way to reengage students to cultivate high-demand skills needed for jobs of the future.

This new guidance resource highlights several states’ efforts to use these resources to develop, expand, or otherwise implement CTE activities as part of their recovery efforts. The factsheet can be accessed here.

March 25 Webinar to highlight ESSER III Summer & Afterschool Program opportunities for district/community-based organization partnerships

On March 25, the Wisconsin Afterschool Network (WAN) will partner with the DPI to provide a 90-minute webinar focused on how the ESSER III 20% set-aside for activities to address learning loss due to COVID-19 can be met by the inclusion of comprehensive summer and after-school programs that implement evidenced-based intervention strategies via partnerships between districts and community-based organizations (CBO’s).

This webinar will also provide participants an opportunity to learn more about the ESSER III $5M dollar after-school competitive grant program to support additional school district and CBO and out-of-school time program partnerships. 

Details:
March 25, 2022ESSER III Grant Information and Opportunities.   
(11:00-12:30 pm via WebEx)
Click here to register for the webinar. 
   

Funding to support this webinar is provided by the Wisconsin Department of Administration

Legislature’s budget committee approves adjusted ESSER III plan; paves the way for federal funds to be released to schools

The state Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) has approved the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s (DPI) revised ARPA Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds III plan. The revisions address certain objections raised by the U.S. Department of Education to the release of a portion of the state’s ESSER III funding allocation. For more information on the process for applying for funds, see the DPI ESSER III webpage.

The WASB appreciates the willingness of the DPI and JFC to work together on this issue in the best interest of Wisconsin school districts. State Superintendent Jill Underly issued a statement and the WASB sent a letter thanking the JFC co-chairs, Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) & Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam), for approving the plan.

Newly released state fiscal estimate projects a whopping $2.9 billion increase in state’s general fund balance to $3.8 billion

A new report released today by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) projects Wisconsin’s closing, net general fund balance at the end of the current biennium (June 30, 2023) to be just over $3.8 billion. This is slightly more than $2.88 billion above the net balance that was projected last July when the 2021-23 biennial budget was signed into law.  You can view the report here.  The $3.8 billion balance is in addition to the $1.7 billion the state currently holds in its “rainy day” fund, known officially as the budget stabilization fund.

The $2.88 billion increase is the net result of:

            1. an increase of $2.51 billion in estimated tax collections;
            2. an increase of $33.1 million in departmental revenues (non-tax receipts deposited into the state’s general fund); and
            3. a decrease of $339.4 million in net appropriations.

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Legislative Update-Part Two: A look at the political landscape in 2022

(Note: This is the second of three blog posts detailing information that was provided by the WASB Government Relations team to in-person attendees at the Legislative Update presentation during the State Education Convention last Friday.)

Election Preview
Sen. Ron Johnson’s anticipated announcement that he will seek reelection to his Senate seat means that on the Republican side the openings available for statewide candidates are in the race for governor. 

              • Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch is already in the race on the GOP side.  Last week, she picked up a key endorsement from Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester).
              • Former U.S. Marine and consulting business owner Kevin Nicholson is expected to announce shortly that he is running for governor on the GOP side. 
              • Former Republican Governor Tommy Thompson raised some eyebrows when he indicated he hasn’t ruled out running for governor after he steps down from his current positions as UW System interim President.

            We’re also seeing the beginnings of the candidate’s campaign platform’s take shape.

            (more…)