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WPF issues report on school referenda

From Wisconsin Policy Forum: “Voters across Wisconsin approved 62 of the 103 school district referenda placed on primary and general election ballots this spring. The 60.2% approval rate was the lowest in a midterm or presidential election year since 2010, with the most ballot questions for spring elections since at least 2000. More districts asked to increase property taxes for operations rather than capital needs, a sign of the stress they are facing from inflation, state caps on their revenues, declining enrollment, and the expiration of federal pandemic aid.

Across ballots from February and April, 66.0% of all referendum questions asked voters to raise property taxes to support school district operations. This represents the highest share of operating referenda since at least 2000.

Yet as districts’ requests for additional revenue have intensified, voter support for these requests appears to be waning. Voter approval rates of school district referenda hovered around 50% for most of the late 2000s and early 2010s. Starting in 2012, however, voters approved referenda in greater numbers, with the passage rate peaking at 89.7% in 2018. (more…)

Evers signs bill requiring Hmong and Asian American instruction in K-12 schools

Governor Evers announced today that he has signed AB 232 into law as 2023 Wisconsin Act 266. The new law requires school boards to provide instruction on Hmong and Asian Americans as part of already required instruction on human relations and certain demographic groups. Similar legislation has been introduced several times in previous sessions and the idea has slowly gained an enormous showing of bipartisan support, passing the Assembly unanimously earlier this session.

From a Legislative Reference Bureau Analysis: “Current law requires each school board to provide an instructional program designed to give pupils an understanding of human relations, particularly with regard to American Indians, Black Americans, and Hispanics. This bill directs school boards to include in that instructional program information related to understanding human relations with regard to Hmong Americans and Asian Americans.”


Referendum Results for the April 2nd Election

Preliminary (unofficial) results of last night’s election indicate that 56 of the 93 school referendums on the April 2 ballot were approved by voters of the districts where those questions were presented. That translates to a passage rate of slightly over 60 percent.

Complete preliminary results, as reported by Civic Media, are shown in the table below. More results and data will be updated as certified data reported to the DPI is made available.

  • Referendums for Issuing Debt: 19 out of 30 passed (63%)
  • Non-Recurring Referendum: 26 out of 43 passed (60%)
  • Recurring Referendums: 11 out of 20 passed (55%)


Governor vetoes AB 377, a bill to regulate the participation of transgender athletes in school sports

Governor Tony Evers has announced today that he has vetoed AB 377. The bill would have required all schools in Wisconsin that run athletics to organize school sports into one of three categories: male, female, or co-ed. In addition, the bill forbids male pupils from participating on a team designated for females and allows female athletes to bring legal action against a school district if they feel the district is not complying with the law. Earlier this session the bill passed the Assembly along party lines, and passed the Senate with one Republican voting against the bill. The governor had previously stated that he would veto the bill if it were to reach his desk.

Redistricting 2024: state Assembly districts

With new state legislative maps getting signed into law and the end of the 2023-24 legislative floor session, lawmakers across the state are turning their eyes to the coming election season. New maps bring many changes, including possible changes to longstanding relationships you might have built with your state representatives. The WASB wants to ensure that school leaders have the resources they need to stay up to date on the changes coming to the Wisconsin State Legislature, and how your advocacy efforts could be affected.

Below we look at the districts up for reelection in Nov. 2024 and track what legislators have made announcements about whether they intend to seek reelection, retire, move to run in a different district or for another office, etc. This Fall will see the election of all 99 state Assembly districts. Assembly district maps 2022 and 2024 can be found and compared HERE. (more…)

The state legislators not coming back next session (so far)

From The Wheeler Report: “The following individuals have publicly announced they will either not seek re-election, or are running for a different office:

  1. SD-2: Rob Cowles – Not seeking re-election
  2. SD-16: Melissa Agard – Running for Dane County Executive
  3. AD-09: Marisabel Cabrera – Running for Circuit Court Judge
  4. AD-11: Dora Drake – Running for SD-4
  5. AD-12: Lakeshia Myers – Running for SD-4
  6. AD-18: Evan Goyke – Running for Milwaukee County Attorney
  7. AD-28: Gae Magnafici- Not seeking re-election
  8. AD-42: Jon Plumer- Not seeking re-election
  9. AD-44: Sue Conley – Not seeking re-election
  10. AD-46: Melissa Ratcliff – Running for Senate
  11. AD-47: Jimmy Anderson – Running for Senate
  12. AD-48: Samba Baldeh- Running for Senate
  13. AD-65: Tod Ohnstad- Not seeking re-election
  14. AD-71: Katrina Shankland – Running for Congress
  15. AD-73: Angie Sapik – Not seeking re-election
  16. AD-81: Dave Considine – Not seeking re-election
  17. AD-88: John Macco – Not seeking re-election
  18. AD-90: Kristina Shelton – Not seeking re-election

Please note, this list does not include any individuals who may have been paired in a district under the new maps.  This list only contains those individuals who have publicly stated they are not seeking re-election, or who have announced they are running for a different office. Filings of Non-Candidacy are due to the Wisconsin Elections Commission by 5 pm on May 24, 2024.”

The WASB is sharing this list to ensure members are aware of potential impacts to their relationships with their current legislators. We will continue to update this list as more announcements are made.