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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…)


Assembly GOP members unveil tax cut proposal for state surplus funds

The new GOP package, unveiled this morning, is centered around a $250 million income tax cut. The plan also includes putting money toward debt payments and tax cuts for manufacturers. Gov. Tony Evers had previously called for $250 million to go to public schools.

The legislators stated it was their plan for the package to be introduced as companion bills in both houses, have a hearing before the Joint Finance Committee on Monday, Feb. 17 and be on the Senate floor on Wednesday, Feb. 19 and then to the Assembly floor on Thursday, Feb. 20. It is widely expected that next week will be the last floor days of the 2019-20 session for the Assembly. Gov. Tony Evers would then have the choice of signing the package into law or vetoing it. (more…)


OSS: $50 million in federal school safety grants available; upcoming training

From the Office of School Safety (OSS):

The United States Department of Justice has announced that the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) has $50,000,000 in grant funding available for programs that keep students safe. The STOP School Violence Prevention Program provides funding to improve school security through evidence-based school safety programs.

Please note that this is a federal grant program and is not administered by any Wisconsin state government agency. For more information on COPS Office funding, please visit (more…)


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:



Public hearing next week on dyslexia & American Indian studies bills

The Assembly Committee on Education will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, February 12 at 9:46 a.m. in Room 417 North, State Capitol. The committee, chaired by state Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac), is scheduled to take public testimony on several bills relating to American Indian studies and reading instruction/dyslexia. 

The American Indian studies bills come from recommendations of the Joint Legislative Council’s Special Committee on State-Tribal Relations. These bills would require the DPI to both adopt model academic standards for American Indian studies and provide school boards with more guidance on the subject, and would increase current requirements on school boards to mandate more specific and more frequent instruction on American Indian studies in specific grade bands. (more…)


John Ashley statement on Gov. Evers’ call for K-12 investments

WASB Executive Director John Ashley issued the following statement in reaction to Gov. Evers’ call for a special session of the legislature to take up a plan to invest a portion of state surplus funding in K-12 education:

“We commend Gov. Tony Evers for calling for the investment of surplus state funds into our local public schools, and specifically into special education and mental health services and into furthering the goal of providing two-thirds state funding of public schools. These resources are vital to the mission of public school districts to serve all students and ensure they are college and career ready.  Many of these priorities are recommendations from the bipartisan Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding.

“On behalf of school board members throughout the state, who are serving more than 850,000 public school students, we encourage the Legislature to approve these additional investments in our students.”

Relevant WASB member-approved resolutions: (more…)