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First budget hearing is Friday at UW-Whitewater

First budget hearing is Friday at UW-Whitewater

The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) will hold the first of its four scheduled public hearings on the state budget on Friday, April 9, at UW-Whitewater. It is very important for K-12 to have a strong presence at these hearings.

Lawmakers are not sold on the governor’s plan for increased school funding and school leaders cannot afford to be complacent. Their skepticism was highlighted by the line of questioning at the DPI agency briefing before the JFC this week and may be exacerbated by Jill Underly’s election win, as she was not the favored candidate of GOP legislative leaders (see: Speaker Vos’ tweet).

Hearing Details (more…)

Jill Underly wins race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction; GOP holds legislative seats

Jill Underly wins race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction; GOP holds legislative seats

Jill Underly, District Administrator from the Pecatonica Area School District, will be the next State Superintendent of Public Instruction after garnering nearly 58% of the vote. Underly defeated Deb Kerr, former District Administrator from the Brown Deer School District.

In special elections for vacant state legislative seats, state Rep. John Jagler (R-Watertown) won the 13th Senate District seat vacated by Congressman Scott Fitzgerald and GOP candidate Elijah Behnke won the 89th Assembly District seat resigned by former Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette).

Supreme Court: Gov. Evers exceeded his authority in issuing multiple COVID-related public health emergency orders

In a 4-3 decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court today (3/31) ruled that Gov. Tony Evers exceeded his authority by issuing multiple public health emergencies and related orders in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The case was brought last fall by a private citizen who asked the state Supreme Court to take original jurisdiction. Oral arguments took place in November.  The decision holds the governor’s existing emergency order (#105), which was set to expire on Monday, April 5, to be unlawful. 

Writing for the majority, Justice Brian Hagedorn noted, “The question in this case is not whether the Governor acted wisely; it is whether he acted lawfully. We conclude he did not.

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Partisan gaps over use/control of latest federal COVID relief funds are wide

Yesterday (3/29), Gov. Evers unveiled his initial plan for allocating $3.2 billion in federal funding the state of Wisconsin is slated to receive from the recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). 

Evers also announced he had vetoed a bill that would have given the Legislature more say over the use of those funds, according to a statement from the administration.

Legislative Republicans who control both houses of the Wisconsin Legislature had passed legislation requiring legislative oversight and approval of the federal funds, but Evers vetoed Senate Bill 183, saying it would prevent funds from going out to people who need them the most.  

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Starting Monday, everyone 16 and older will become eligible to get a COVID vaccination

Gov. Tony Evers announced today (3/30) via Twitter that everyone 16 and older will be eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 starting Monday.  

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DPI clarifies collection of “in-person hours” data for allocating ESSER II distribution

In an email to district administrators last Friday (3/26), the DPI clarified how it will calculate the allocation of certain federal ESSER II funds to 174 Wisconsin local education agencies (school districts). 

This calculation affects the distribution of so-called “set-aside” funds under Joint Finance Committee Motion #16., which altered of the DPI’s proposed allocation of the 10% set-aside of funds provided under the December 2020 federal COVID relief act knows as the CRRSA Act. (more…)