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Legislative Update

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

by | Feb 6, 2020 | Legislative Update Blog, State Budget, State Issue | 0 comments

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:

2.08 State Funding
The WASB supports a state commitment to provide two-thirds funding of state-wide school costs…

2.16 Small But Necessary Schools
The WASB supports special initiatives at the state level to help small school districts remain fiscally
viable and create a separate fund for a state aid for an enrollment sparsity factor. (1999-12)(2005-5)
(a) Sparsity Aid
The WASB supports providing sparsity aid based on enrollment size and population density (students per square mile), without regard to the percentage of the district’s enrollment that is eligible for free- and reduced-price lunch. If sparsity aid eligibility is expanded, additional funding will be provided to maintain sparsity aid payments to districts that are currently eligible. (2012-2)(2017-13)

2.31 Funding for Children with Disabilities
The WASB supports increasing the special education categorical aid reimbursement level to not less than 60 percent of prior year eligible costs and maintaining funding at not less than this percentage each year thereafter. (2016-6)(2019-7)

6.065 Mental Health Funding 
The WASB supports legislation to establish a new categorical aid, to provide new monies, to support school based mental health related services. The WASB recommends that the state provide a minimum of $25 per pupil in the first year, $35 per pupil in the second year and $50 per pupil in the third year and each year thereafter, with provisions for small districts to receive a minimum amount of aid designed to help them accomplish the purposes listed below. This new resource would enable school districts to provide mental health related services as identified, determined and prioritized at the local level. Services eligible to be
funded under this categorical aid may include, but are not be limited to, the following:

➢ Contracting with mental health service providers;
➢ Employment of a mental health coordinator;
➢ Employment of an autism coordinator;
➢ Employment of a behavioral specialist or interventionist;
➢ Contracting with outside agencies for mental health screening in grades preK-12;
➢ Employment of a parent/peer advocate; or
➢ Training for staff in the areas of trauma sensitive schools, restorative practices, youth mental health first aid, and emotional regulation.

20-03 Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding Recommendations
The WASB supports the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding, as published in January 2019, that align with WASB resolutions.

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