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Legislative Update

Education committees to hold joint hearing on reading on March 2

by | Feb 23, 2023 | Legislative Update Blog, State Issue

The Senate and Assembly Education committees will hold a joint informational hearing on the subject of reading in Wisconsin schools on Thursday, March 2. Testimony at the hearing will be taken from invited speakers only. The hearing will take place at 10:00 a.m. in Room 412 East of the state Capitol. 

View the notice for Joint Informational hearing here.

In addition, the Assembly Education Committee has issued a notice that it will hold a public hearing on Assembly Bill 53 following the conclusion of the informational hearing.

View the notice for the public hearing here.

Assembly Bill 53 would, among other things, require public high schools and private high schools participating in a parental choice program to collect statistics on violations of municipal disorderly conduct ordinances and certain crimes if the incident: a) occurred on a weekday between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.; b) was reported to law enforcement; and c) resulted in a charge being filed or a citation being issued.

The bill would further require the collected statistics to be reported annually to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), which would be required to include them on the annual school and school district accountability report (a/k/a school and district report cards). 

However, the DPI would not consider the crime statistics reported by a school or school district for purposes of determining a school or school district’s performance on the annual school and school district accountability report.

Crimes required to be reported include homicide, sexual assault, burglary, battery, and arson, that occur on school property or on transportation provided by the school.

No funding is provided under the bill to meet its mandates for either schools or school districts or for the DPI.

A nearly identical bill was passed by the Legislature but was vetoed by Governor Evers, in part because no funding was provided.  In his veto message, the governor stated:

I must veto this bill in its entirety for several reasons. First, I object to mandating additional reporting without the necessary funding for implementation. School districts, independent charter schools, and private schools participating in a parental choice program have differing levels of staffing, training, and resources at each high school related to incident and crime reporting. This disparate level of resources may lead to inconsistent reporting and may compromise the value of the data by not providing like comparisons. This problem could be further complicated by the fact that the definition of disorderly conduct is defined at the municipal level, which may lead to inconsistent reporting for school districts spanning multiple municipalities or counties.

“I also object to this bill excluding local law enforcement agencies from the reporting process. High schools do not have the same access to the Summary-Based Reporting and Incident-Based Reporting systems, and subsequently the Wisconsin Incident-Based Reporting System, as local law enforcement agencies.

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