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Legislative Update

President lays out plan to combat COVID resurgence, including vaccination mandates

Speaking from the White House, President Biden yesterday announced a set of sweeping mandates he intends to impose as part of an “action plan” to combat the resurgent COVID pandemic triggered by a surge in the delta variant. Those mandates would require millions of Americans to be vaccinated against COVID. 

The President also called on states to voluntarily adopt COVID vaccine requirements for all school employees. read more…

Assembly education committee to hold hearing on reading instruction overhaul

The state Assembly Committee on Education, chaired by Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, September 14 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 412 East of the State Capitol. The committee will receive public testimony on the following bills:

Assembly Bill 446 (Rep. Kitchens) Relating to: reading readiness assessments.

Citing Wisconsin’s falling ranks in reading proficiency compared to other states, a number of state legislative Republicans have proposed a massive overhaul of the reading readiness program including a laundry list of stringent new state mandates relating to screening, assessments, interventions, parental notifications and reporting requirements. The new mandates are very specific, even dictating what companies and products must be approved for use. See this post for a comparison of current law and what is required by the bill. read more…

Legislative hearings ramp up this week with a number of K-12 bills

Bill increasing tobacco/nicotine/vapor product age to 21 to have public hearing Thursday

A bill authored by Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) that proposes raising the legal age for sale, purchase, and possession of cigarettes, nicotine and tobacco products and vapor products to 21 will have a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety on Thursday, September 9, 2021 at 11:00 AM in Room 411 South in the State Capitol.

The WASB supports the aims of the bill, from the standpoint that raising the age would help keep these products out of K-12 schools. WASB Resolution 6.02 states: read more…

WASB leader John Ashley calls for civility

Wisconsin Association of School Boards Executive Director John Ashley released the following statement:

We’ve become increasingly alarmed at the recent reports of personal threats of violence and harassment directed at school board members across the state.

Civil disagreement and protest are cornerstones of our democracy but attempts to intimidate school board members and physically disrupt school board proceedings are not acceptable. read more…

LFB: State tax collections $319 million higher than previous estimates

LFB: State tax collections $319 million higher than previous estimates

According to a memo by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, tax collections for the 2020-21 fiscal year have come in $319 million, or 1.7%, higher than previously estimated in early June.

From the Wisconsin State Journal: “The new state Department of Revenue data indicate that actual tax collections for the previous fiscal year, which ended June 30, were 11.6% higher than the previous year, according to preliminary estimates.

read more…

Emergency Connectivity Fund update–second funding window to open soon

From the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) …

In view of outstanding demand and the recent spike in coronavirus cases, the FCC announced in a press release today that they will open a second application filing window for schools and libraries to request funding from the roughly $2 billion in program funds remaining for connected devices and broadband connections for off-campus use by students, school staff, and library patrons for the current 2021-22 school year read more…

Governor announces COVID vaccine incentive plan

Governor Evers today announced today that the state will offer a $100 incentive to Wisconsin residents who get their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the next two weeks. 

The new state vaccine incentive program will be funded through the use of federal coronavirus stimulus dollars. All Wisconsin residents age 12 and older, the group currently eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, are eligible to receive the incentive. read more…

President directs U.S. Ed Dept. to use civil rights authority to block statewide bans on face masks in schools

Stating that, “a top priority of my administration is to do everything in our power to ensure a safe return to full-time, in-person school for our nation’s children,” President Joe Biden, has issued a memorandum to U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona directing him to use all available tools to ensure that governors and other leaders are providing a safe return to in-person learning for the nation’s children. read more…

Office of School Safety to present Monday webinar on “Preparing for and Responding to Protest Activity”

From the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Office of School Safety:

“In light of the recent increase in COVID infections nation-wide, many school districts are opting to require students to wear a mask as they return to school. In response to the renewed masking requirements, many communities are seeing parents protest these decisions on the schoolhouse steps. The Wisconsin Department of Justice – Office of School Safety and Division of Legal Services will provide guidance on how to prepare for and respond to protest activity in the school environment. read more…

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DPI releases statewide testing results…

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