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Legislative Update


Will divided state government come together to address school violence?

After a spate of recent school violence incidents in Wisconsin high schools, state officials are offering reactions and calling for action. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Gov. Tony Evers is calling for increased state funding for mental health services at schools. Gov. Evers told The Associated Press he is committed to working with legislative Republicans to secure additional mental health funding and is optimistic because of past GOP support for such funding.

Also, from the Oshkosh Northwestern: “In the next state budget, Evers hopes to include more money for school resource officers that districts can put toward training and other uses. He said he’ll continue to advocate for mental health programs in schools, and that the state needs to help because districts can’t come up with the money on their own. read more…

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Slew of dyslexia bills introduced including potential unfunded mandates

A number of bills relating to dyslexia have been introduced by state Rep. Bob Kulp (R-Stratford) who chaired the Legislative Council Study Committee on the Identification and Management of Dyslexia and other state lawmakers. Included in these bills are two potential unfunded mandates on school boards as well as one for CESAs.
 
The Assembly bills have all been referred to the Assembly Committee on Education chaired by Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) but, in a departure from normal practice, the Senate companion bills have been referred to the Senate Committee on Universities, Technical Colleges, Children and Families chaired by Sen. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) rather than the Senate Committee on Education chaired by Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon). Here is a brief description of some of these bills:

read more…

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Resolutions to be taken up at 2020 WASB Delegate Assembly now posted

The report to the WASB membership on the proposed resolutions that advanced out of the Policy and Resolutions Committee and will proceed to the 2020 Delegate Assembly in January has been posted on the WASB website.  

You can find it here.

The report contains the language of each of the proposed resolutions advanced by the Policy and Resolutions Committee as well as the rationale for each resolution advanced. 

Delegate packets will be mailed sometime after Thanksgiving.

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Governor to sign bills on teacher licensure; school safety drills

Governor Tony Evers will hold a number of bill signings today (Thursday, November 21) in the State Capitol.  Among the bills to be signed into law are three K-12 education bills dealing with school safety drills and teacher licensure:  

  • Assembly Bill 54 Relating to: fire, tornado, and school safety drills for public and private schools. The WASB supports AB 54.
  • Assembly Bill 194, relating to: requirements for initial licensure as a special education teacher. The WASB supports AB 194.
  • Assembly Bill 195 — Relating to: a license to teach based on reciprocity and granting rulemaking authority. The WASB supports AB 195.
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Another teacher workforce re-entry bill introduced

Senator Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire) and Rep. Sondy Pope (D-Mt. Horeb) are circulating a bill draft for legislative support authorizing school districts to rehire retired teachers without those teachers having to give up their pensions.

This bill matches a provision included in Governor Evers’ 2019-21 budget proposal that was removed by the Legislature before the budget was signed into law. read more…

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Bill on workforce re-entry and increase in the retirement age introduced

Representative Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) is circulating a bill draft for legislative support that would allow Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) retirees to return to work for 3 years without having to give up their pensions. The bill draft also increases the minimum WRS retirement age from 55 to 59.5. 

The evidence and the message from our school districts demonstrates that Wisconsin faces a serious undersupply of teachers. While the WASB seeks a comprehensive approach to improving the supply of teachers, our members have adopted resolutions in support of both: read more…

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Step-by-step school safety action plan from the Secret Service

In light of yet another school shooting, the WASB wants to highlight eight actionable steps for implementing a comprehensive targeted violence prevention plan in schools. This information is pulled from the Secret Service Analysis of Targeted School Violence which we had shared in a previous post.

Step 1: Establish a multidisciplinary threat assessment team of school personnel including faculty, staff, administrators, coaches, and available school resource officers who will direct, manage, and document the threat assessment process. read more…

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Cursive mandate, seclusion & restraint bills to have public hearing Tuesday, Nov. 19

The Senate Education Committee has scheduled a public hearing on four K-12 bills, including a mandate on schools to teach cursive writing and the use of seclusion and restraint on pupils. The committee, which is chaired by Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 411 South of the State Capitol.

The committee will take public testimony on the following proposals: read more…

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U.S. Senator Ron Johnson introduces federal school safety legislation

United States Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has introduced legislation (S. 2779) to create a Federal Clearinghouse on School Safety Best Practices to help schools and their faculty, parents, and community officials identify school safety measures and resources for implementing them.

More on the bill provisions from Sen. Johnson’s office: read more…

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