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Legislative Update


Fields set for state races: an ideal time to make advocacy inroads

Fields set for state races: an ideal time to make advocacy inroads

Following the June 1 deadline for filing nomination papers, the field of candidates for the governor’s race and Wisconsin Legislature (as well as other statewide offices) is set, barring any unexpected glitches or challenges to nomination papers. Despite a substantial number of unopposed incumbent state legislators (see below), a near-record thirty lawmakers did not seek re-election. This guarantees that the Legislature will have many new faces sworn in in January.

This an ideal time for school leaders to begin building relationships with those likely to be members of the new crop of lawmakers as well as incumbents, especially those in seats where those incumbents are certain or highly likely to be re-elected. In areas where there are contested legislative races, the Capitol Watch column in June-July issue of the Wisconsin School News provides tips for school leaders on how to host a candidate forum. You can access that column here. read more…

Federal guidance on using COVID relief funds to prevent and respond to crime and promote public safety

In the wake of the tragic school shootings in Uvalde, Texas, some school leaders have asked whether federal COVID relief funds may be used for school safety purposes.

We are reminded that the U.S. Department of Education previously published this guidance about how ESSER III funds may be used to prevent and respond to crime and promote public safety.  School leaders may want to give this guidance a fresh look. read more…

Updated WASB resolutions book is now posted online

The Resolutions Adopted by Delegate Assemblies book, containing the collected policy positions adopted by WASB Delegate Assemblies over many years, has been updated to reflect resolutions adopted in January 2022.  It is now posted online.  You can find it here.

Resolutions adopted by the annual WASB Delegate Assemblies set the policy direction for the WASB and its lobbying efforts. Once adopted, those resolutions remain in force unless amended or repealed.  We encourage WASB member boards to review the resolutions carefully. read more…

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 WisPolitics.com 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…

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WI School Boards

A Grow Your Own Cooperative organized by a group of rural Wisconsin school districts is receiving a state grant to help address the state's educator shortage. The school districts work closely with students who want to pursue teaching careers. ow.ly/vPxv50JKV3c

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