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Some suggestions to provide help with school districts’ technology needs

Partnering with Municipalities in novel ways

School districts having difficulty coping with the unexpected costs associated with COVID-19 may find unexpected help from their underlying municipalities. 

That’s because municipalities that do not plan to fully utilize their allotment from the Routes to Recovery program, funded through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, may be able to partner with school districts. The municipality can, or example, purchase laptops or tablets, etc., for distance learning and teleworking for their schools and donate them to the district.

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Mid-September federal update: more stimulus looks unlikely, PPE supplies, CDC guidance

Hopes remain dim for a deal on additional Coronavirus stimulus relief before Election Day

According to The Hill, a media source focused on events on Capitol Hill:

“Senate Republican leaders are hoping to let their colleagues hit the campaign trail at the end of next week, acknowledging the slim chances of passing significant legislation other than a government funding stopgap before Election Day. (more…)

Mid-September state update: new rural commission, third Friday counts, teacher supply, DHS guidance

Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission On Rural Prosperity

The Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission On Rural Prosperity is scheduled to meet virtually this morning (Friday, September 18) at 10:00 a.m.  This will be the last of three scheduled public listening sessions the commission will hold.

In addition to the listening sessions, rural residents may join the discussion by submitting written comments by Sept. 30 using a form on the Office of Rural Prosperity website. Rural stakeholder groups may also arrange meetings with commission members through WEDC.  (The Office of Rural Prosperity has been set up at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.) (more…)

State Supt. Stanford Taylor emphasizes special education & mental health funding in State of Education Address

State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor delivered her last State of Education Address today (9/17) virtually as the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) that she oversees prepares its budget request for 2021-23. Stanford Taylor is not running for reelection to her post.

While she trumpeted Wisconsin schools’ successes through unprecedented challenges, she also expressed concern for persistent achievement gaps and working towards educational equity.

The only insights given to the DPI’s upcoming budget request were that it will include increases in special education and mental health funding: (more…)

WI Supreme Court temporarily blocks Dane County order restricting in-person school

WI Supreme Court temporarily blocks Dane County order restricting in-person school

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Sept 10 temporarily blocked an emergency order issued by Dane County’s joint city-county health department prohibiting public and private schools in Dane County from providing in-person instruction to most students in grades 3 through 12. That emergency order was issued on August 21 and later amended to allow special needs students to receive in-person services and instruction.

The decision came after challenges were filed by groups of religious schools and the parents of students enrolled in private schools in Dane County who went directly to the state’s highest court to ask for relief.  In its order, the court agreed to hear that case on the merits at a later date. (more…)

U.S. Senate GOP “skinny” COVID-19 relief bill rejected; deal before election unlikely

U.S. Senate GOP “skinny” COVID-19 relief bill rejected; deal before election unlikely

A pared down fifth coronavirus relief bill was blocked by Senate Democrats on Sept 10 leading GOP Senators to declare that no deals will be reached before the election on Nov 3.  The GOP relief bill received a 52-47 vote but needed 60 votes to advance a procedural hurdle in the chamber.  All Democrats voted against it in the latest development in negotiations to agree on a price tag for the latest relief bill.  

From The Hill: “Democrats have offered to come down to $2.2 trillion, after House Democrats passed a $3.4 trillion bill in May. Senate Republicans offered an initial $1.1 trillion bill in late July, though (Treasury Secretary) Mnuchin has said they could come up to $1.5 trillion. But Republicans have rejected a request from (House Speaker) Pelosi and (Senate Minority Leader) Schumer that they increase their offer to $2 trillion — something administration officials and GOP senators have dismissed as a non-starter.”

Ed Week also reported that there were GOP school choice provisions inserted in the rejected bill. (more…)