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Legislative Update


New round of American Rescue Plan Homeless Children and Youth (ARP-HCY) funding available

The U.S. Department of Education today (July 6) announced availability of $600 million in additional funding under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for children and youth who are experiencing homelessness. 

State educational agencies (SEAs–such as the DPI) and local educational agencies (LEAs–such as school districts) must use these funds (known as ARP-HCY funds) to identify homeless children and youth, to provide homeless children and youth with wrap-around services to address the challenges of COVID-19, and to enable homeless children and youth to attend school and fully participate in school activities. 

read more…

U.S. Department of Education releases over $50 million to WI in ARP funds to support children with disabilities

From the U.S. Dept. of Education:

“The U.S. Department of Education today released more than $3 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to states to support infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities. The new funding will help aid more than 7.9 million infants, toddlers, and students served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and adds to the ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief allocation of $122 billion in state funding for K-12 schools, which the department announced in March. read more…

DPI releases July 1 estimates of 2021-22 general school aids

As required by state law, the DPI released its July 1 estimate of the general school aids each public school district will receive for the 2021-22 school year. Today’s estimates are based in part on the K-12 funding package approved by the Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC) on June 17. K-12 funding was not changed by either house of the Legislature and along with other budget provisions now heads to the governor for his signature or veto.

General school aids are the largest source of state support for Wisconsin public schools. Under the JFC package, general school aids for 2021-22 will total an estimated $5.0 billion, representing a $109.9 million (2.2 percent) increase over last year.

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Senate approves budget on bipartisan vote; next up: Gov. Evers

Senate approves budget on bipartisan vote; next up: Gov. Evers

The state Senate passed the 2021-23 state budget bill on a bipartisan vote of 23-9 with three Senate Democrats joining all Republicans in voting for the plan. The Senate made no changes to the bill passed by the Assembly and thus there were no changes to the K-12 provisions as approved by the Joint Finance Committee.

Like their counterparts in the Assembly, Senate Democrats proposed amendments to increase funding to schools in line with what the governor had originally proposed but they were also rejected on party-line votes. read more…

Governor’s Task Force on Broadband releases recommendations

A state task for appointed by Gov. Evers in July 2020 to explore ways to support construction of broadband infrastructure and address digital equity issues in our state has released a report of its findings and recommendations.

The report of the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband details the extent to which Wisconsin trails the national on a number of broadband indicators. It also sheds new light on how rural Wisconsin is impacted by a lack of broadband access and how both rural Wisconsin and low-income Wisconsinites are impacted by a lack of affordable broadband. read more…

State budget passes Assembly on bipartisan vote; Senate to vote today

State budget passes Assembly on bipartisan vote; Senate to vote today

The state Assembly passed the budget on a bipartisan vote of 64-34 with four Assembly Democrats joining all Republicans in voting for the plan. There were no changes to the K-12 provisions as approved by the Joint Finance Committee.

Assembly Democrats proposed an amendment to increase funding to schools in line with what the governor had originally proposed but it was turned down on a party-line vote. read more…

Emergency Connectivity Fund Filing Window Opens

Today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened the initial filing window for the Emergency Connectivity Fund, a $7.17 billion federal program that will help schools and libraries provide the technology tools and services their students and communities need for remote learning during the COVID-19 emergency period.  

From June 29, 2021 to August 13, 2021 eligible schools and libraries can apply for financial support to purchase connected devices like laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connectivity for off-campus use by students, school staff, and library patrons. 

read more…

DHS to offer free COVID-19 testing support for schools during 2021-22 school year

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services today unveiled a plan to offer free, school-based COVID-19 testing for teachers, staff, students and their families for the 2021-22 school year.  This voluntary, opt-in testing will be provided to school districts that sign up for it through pre-approved vendors in order to ease the logistical and paperwork burden on schools.

From the Department of Health Services… read more…

Budget Committee’s K-12 Proposal Secures Federal Funding, Freezes Revenue Limits

After initially passing a K-12 state budget package that put federal COVID relief dollars at risk, lawmakers on the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee have approved an overall state spending plan for the next two years that preserves Wisconsin’s access to more than $2.3 billion in one-time federal funds for K-12 education. 

By adding $408 million to state general school aids over the next two years ($110 million in 2021-22 and $298 million in 2022-23) on top of K-12 spending previously approved on May 27 (see below), the committee-approved package meets “maintenance of effort” (MOE) requirements imposed by Congress, according to the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Those federal MOE provisions require the state to maintain the same proportion of its overall spending on K-12 education in the next two-year state budget as in previous state budgets.  read more…

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New resources available for Emergency Connectivity Fund applicants wasb.org/new-resources-…

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