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Legislative Update

Wisconsin’s ESSER III Plan receives final approval from U.S. Education Department

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received confirmation this morning that the U.S. Department of Education (USED) has granted final approval of Wisconsin’s ESSER III plan. ESSER III refers to federal COVID relief funding that was allocated to K-12 education under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), passed by Congress in March 2021.  States were required by the APRA to submit plans for how they would spend this funding and get those plans approved by the USED.

Much of the state’s plan was approved by the USED in December 2021; however, the USED deemed a portion of the plan not to comply with provisions in the ARPA requiring funds to be used to address both the academic impact of lost instructional time during the pandemic and the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on certain subgroups of students. The state submitted a revised plan in early February addressing the USED’s objections and that plan was finally approved this week. read more…

State Superintendent convenes new group to tackle early literacy challenges in Wisconsin

Last Thursday (4/28), State Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly convened the first meeting of a new State Superintendent’s Reading Advisory Council. The online meeting was the first of several such meetings.

Collectively, the Reading Advisory Council’s membership represents a variety of geographical areas, school district sizes, races, ethnicities, and reading philosophies. Council members are expected to bring their expertise about early literacy to the Council and to learn together and share information and recommendations with DPI about how to strengthen literacy learning in Wisconsin’s schools. read more…

Wisconsin public schools receive $40.6 million in Library Aid from Common School Fund distribution

This week, school districts across the state received a record $40.6 million in Library Aid, aid which is disbursed annually to public school libraries across the state in April. This year’s allocation was paid out on Monday (April 25).

Each school district receives an allocation based its reported resident census count and the per child amount. This year’s distribtion is $35.31 (rounded) per census student. read more…

MU Law Poll: Majority satisfied with public schools, support increased school funding

The newest Marquette Law School Poll was released by Prof. Charles Franklin on Apr. 27 and featured an array of questions on various topics including approval numbers for various federal and state elected officials.

On the K-12 front, questions were asked about satisfaction with public schools, school funding support and taxpayer-subsidized private school voucher expansion.

The first question again showed the public’s strong satisfaction level with their community’s public schools with 63% very satisfied/satisfied vs. 32% dissatisfied/very dissatisfied: read more…

Kooyenga, Brostoff not running for reelection

GOP state Sen. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) has changed his mind and will not seek reelection to his state Senate seat. Kooyenga had originally announced he was not going to run for reelection after he was drawn out of his district under Gov. Evers’ redistricting maps but then indicated to he was going to run for reelection after those maps were thrown out and the GOP legislature’s maps were put in place. read more…

GOP gubernatorial primary adds another high-profile candidate

Businessman Tim Michels today launched his candidacy for Governor, adding his name to a crowded Aug. 9 GOP primary ballot that will select the nominee to oppose incumbent Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in the Nov. 8 election.

Evers is seeking a second term and observers say this fall’s Wisconsin governor’s race will be among the most hotly contested in the nation.

Michels, co-owner of Michels Corp., a family-owned energy and infrastructure construction business, is the latest entry into the race. He joins former Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, Marine Corps veteran Kevin Nicholson, and state Rep. Timothy Ramthun (R-Campbellsport) on the Repblican ticket.  Ramthun is a Kewauskum school board member. 

Joint Legislative Council Special Study Committees announced

The Joint Legislative Council is a 22-member committee comprised of both Republican and Democratic state Senators and state Representatives.

Every two years, the Joint Legislative Council establishes special legislative study committees, which meet to study certain issues in depth during the interim period (the period after one legislative session ends and before the next legislative session begins) and to formulate legislative recommendations on those issues. read more…

Wis. Supreme Court adopts GOP-drawn legislative maps

In what is likely to be the final court chapter in the current legislative redistricting saga, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has sided with the state’s GOP Legislature over the state’s Democratic governor on the question of what legislative boundaries will be in place for this fall’s election.

In a 4-3 decision handed down on Friday (April 15), Wisconsin’s high Court adopted legislative maps submitted by the Republican-led state Legislature that it had earlier rejected in favor of maps submitted by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. read more…

Rep. Pope and more state lawmakers announce they are not running for reelection

State Rep. Sondy Pope (D-Mt. Horeb) has announced she will not seek reelection to her Assembly seat. First elected to the Assembly in 2002, she was the leader for Assembly Democrats on K-12 education issues as the ranking member and former chair of the Assembly Education Committee. She is the 22nd member of the Assembly to announce plans to retire, resign or seek another office.

With Assembly Education Committee Chair Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) also not running for reelection, both Assembly Republicans and Democrats will be losing their most experienced members on K-12 issues. read more…

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Read about how students at @FortSchools created a mural to honor the late poet Lorine Niedecker.…

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