Today the state Senate met in floor session and took up and passed two pieces of legislation of interest to school leaders. Senate Bill 395 related to the low revenue ceiling and Senate Bill 83 related to posting referendum interest estimates on the ballot.
Under current law, the per pupil revenue ceiling is $11,000 in the 2023-24 school year and each school year thereafter. Current law also provides that, during the three school years following a school year in which an operating referendum fails in a school district, the school district’s revenue ceiling is the revenue ceiling that applied in the school year during which the referendum was held. The bill eliminates the provision under which a school district’s revenue ceiling is the revenue ceiling from a previous school year because an operating referendum failed in the school district.
The WASB supports this legislation.
The Senate approved the bill on a vote of 31-1, with only Sen. André Jacque (R-DePere) voting against. The bill now heads to the state Assembly where the education committee has not voted out the bill yet. It is important to contact your state Representatives to urge that they follow their Senate colleagues and support the bill.
Under current law, whenever a municipality, county, or school district must hold a referendum seeking voter approval for issuing bonds, the referendum question must include a statement of the purpose for which bonds are to be issued and the maximum amount of the bonds to be issued. Under this bill, the statement included with the referendum question must also provide the estimated amount of the interest accruing on the amount of the bonds, along with the interest rate. If the interest rate is a variable rate, the statement must also specify the amount of the interest accruing on the amount of the bonds calculated using the lowest rate during the term for which the rate is applicable and the amount of the interest accruing on the amount of the bonds calculated using the highest rate during the term for which the rate is applicable.
The WASB opposes this legislation because posting an estimate of the accrued interest on the ballot could open up a district to legal action from a constituent if the estimate is too far off from the final amount.
The Senate approved the bill on a vote of 22-10. The bill now heads to the state Assembly where the education committee has not voted out the bill yet. We urge members to ask their state Representatives to not support this unworkable legislation.
Senate committee votes to recommend passage of GOP counterproposal to Gov. Evers’ workforce development package
Today, the Senate Committee on Economic Development and Technical Colleges chaired by Sen. Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac) voted to recommend passage of a GOP counterproposal to Gov. Evers workforce development package, Special Session SB1. The vote was 4-2, with both Democrat members of the committee voting against. Last Friday, Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) offered up a substitute amendment to Special Session SB1 that strips the bill of many of the provisions proposed by the governor and replaces them with GOP initiatives. This comes after Senate and Assembly leaders took no action on the legislation during the Sept. 20 special session called by Gov. Evers but promised to address the issues with ideas of their own and kept the session open.
Items of interest to school boards in the governor’s original proposal include payments to childcare programs established or contracted for by a school board; significant changes to family and medical leave law; allowing Wisconsin Retirement System annuitants to return to work; and various grants and stipends to assist with teacher workforce challenges. Read the WASB’s previous blog post for more information on the governor’s original workforce development proposal.
The GOP counterproposal strips out all of these provisions and replaces them with income tax rate reductions, childcare tax credits, private school tuition deductions, apprenticeship grants to tribal and technical college students, and several licensure compacts with other states. The GOP proposal also includes changes to unemployment insurance programs, healthcare sector licensing, and creates a commercial driver’s license grant program. read more…
The WASB thanks Rep. Mursau, Sen. Felzkowski and Rep. Edming for authoring this important proposal in an environment of teacher supply challenges for school districts. read more…
From a DPI press release: The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction today posted state general school aids that school districts will receive during the current school year. The information published includes certified general school aid amounts for each school district, as well as 2023-24 student enrollment numbers for independent charter schools and private schools participating in state parental choice programs. The enrollment numbers are used to determine the dollar amounts to be deducted or withheld from school districts’ aid payments to fund state parental choice programs.
General school aids are the largest form of state support for PK-12 schools in Wisconsin and are based on prior year data. Private school choice and independent charter school programs are funded based on current year data. The DPI is required by state law to release the certified aid figures by Oct. 15 of each year. The general school aid amounts for school districts are calculated using student counts and year-end financial data from the previous school year (2022-23). This data replaces preliminary aid estimates released in July. read more…
Today in a full floor session, the Assembly passed AB 377 related to designating school sports teams based on the sex of the participants. The vote was along party lines, with all Republicans in attendance voting in favor and all Democrats opposed. If signed into law, the bill would require public and private schools that participate in a parental choice program to organize school sports into one of three categories: male, female, or co-ed. In addition, the bill also forbids male pupils from participating on a team designated for females and allows female athletes to bring legal action against a school district if they feel the district is not complying with the law. read more…
The Senate Committee on Economic Development and Technical Colleges chaired by Sen. Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac) is holding the hearing today at the Capitol. Senate and Assembly leaders took no action on the legislation during the Sept. 20 special session called by Gov. Evers, but promised to address the issues with ideas of their own and kept the session open.
“Last week, Evers urged Sen. Feyen to hold a hearing soon on the legislation, Special Session Senate Bill 1. Feyen responded that he would do so once the fiscal bureau report was in hand. After that report was distributed Monday, Feyen added the legislation to the committee’s agenda for a meeting already scheduled for Wednesday. The hearing is scheduled for 10:31 a.m. in the state Capitol.
“The fiscal bureau report calculates that the Evers proposal will cost $1.36 billion over the two-year budget period. About $1.1 billion of that would come from the state’s general purpose revenue, with another $41 million from federal funds and $243 million from segregated state funds.”
Items of interest to school board in the proposal include payments to child care programs established or contracted for by a school board, significant changes to family and medical leave law (FMLA), allowing Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) annuitants to return to work; and various grants and stipends to address teacher workforce challenges. See more below: read more…
Assembly Education Committee recommends passage of three bills that would cause changes to school sports, safety devices, and Hmong American instruction
The Assembly Committee on Education voted yesterday to recommend passage of three bills. The Committee voted along party lines on AB 377 related to designating athletic sports and teams operated or sponsored by public schools or private schools participating in a parental choice program based on the sex of the participants, and AB 163 related to requiring anti-choking devices in schools. The vote on AB 232 related to directing school boards to provide instruction on Hmong Americans and Asian Americans was unanimous. The Assembly is set to vote on AB 377 tomorrow during their floor session. It has yet to be determined when AB 163 and AB 232 will go before the full Assembly.
For more information and to see WASB’s positions on these bills, see our previous blog post.
State Capitol this week: Assembly floor session on legislation related to transgender youth/athletes; Education committee set to endorse bills
The Assembly Committee on Education will hold an executive session tomorrow October 10th, to vote on three bills. These bills are AB 377 relating to designating athletic sports and teams operated or sponsored by public schools or private schools participating in a parental choice program based on the sex of the participants, AB 163 relating to requiring anti-choking devices in schools, and AB 232 relating to directing school boards to provide instruction on Hmong Americans and Asian Americans.
The Assembly will also be holding a full floor session on Thursday, October 12th. AB 377 is also on the agenda for this floor session, along with two other bills that are aimed at regulating UW system student athletics by sex, and at gender transition medical interventions for minors. read more…
The Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Office of School Safety (OSS) has three active grants available for application. Most notably is Wisconsin Act 109 for digital mapping of school buildings, of which the state allocated an additional $2,500,000 for awards in the most recent state budget. Also, the Speak Up Speak Out (SUSO) Promotional Grant is available. These grants can be viewed via the Office of School Safety’s website.
As a reminder, per Wisconsin State Statute 118.07, all schools must submit copies of safety plans and other required documentation of plan review, dates of safety plan training and required on-site safety assessments with law enforcement. Please see specific requirements on the DOJ’s website. read more…