The Wisconsin Legislature is set to take action this week on a number of bills that would impact K-12 education. The Assembly Committee on Education will hold an executive session on Wednesday, November 8th. The committee will hold a vote on three bills that they received public testimony on last week. Also this week, the Senate and Assembly will be holding floor sessions on Tuesday, November 7th at 11:00am and 1:00pm respectively. The Assembly will be voting on two bills focused on eliminating certain race-based programs and considerations from higher education institutions. Both bills contain provisions that would have consequences for K-12 public schools. The Senate will be voting on SB 333, which is designed to close a loophole in current Wisconsin law that neglected to regulate certain sexual crimes between school personnel and students.
Read below for the Education committee, Assembly, and Senate’s agendas, as well as more information on each of these bills.
Assembly Committee on Education
Assembly Bill 223 — Relating to: maintaining a supply of usable opioid antagonist at a school
By Representative Zimmerman; cosponsored by Senators James.
Assembly Bill 271 — Relating to: a grant program for recovery high schools and making an appropriation.
By Representative Dittrich; cosponsored by Senator James.
Assembly Bill 575 — Relating to: the mental health training program provided by the Department of Public Instruction.
By Representative Green; cosponsored by Senator James.
See the WASB’s previous blog post on these bills for more information.
Assembly Floor Session
Assembly Bill 370 — Relating to: guaranteed admission to University of Wisconsin System institutions and technical colleges and requiring high schools to prepare class rankings for certain pupils.
By Representative O’Connor; cosponsored by Senator Cabral-Guevara.
From a Legislative Reference Bureau Analysis: “This bill requires the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System and technical college district boards to establish a guaranteed admission program for applicants ranked in the top 5 percent of their high school class and requires an annual class ranking of some high school pupils at the end of 11th and 12th grade.”
“The bill requires school boards, charter school operators, and governing bodies of private schools and tribal schools that operate high schools to 1) establish a method for ranking pupils on the basis of academic achievement, which may take into account the pupil’s grade point average, ACT examination score, course work, and other measures of academic achievement or scholastic merit; and 2) using this ranking method, annually prepare a class ranking of pupils at the end of 11th grade and 12th grade. The class ranking must identify pupils who rank in the top 5 percent of their high school class and may include the class ranking of other pupils as well. The school board, charter school operator, or governing body must provide notice of ranking to each pupil ranked in the top 5 percent of the pupil’s high school class. If a high school’s class enrollment is less than 20 pupils, the highest ranked pupil in the class is considered to be in the top 5 percent.”
Assembly Bill 550 — Relating to: Technical education equipment grants, extending the time limit for emergency rule procedures, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, and making an appropriation.
By Representative Green; cosponsored by Stafsholt.
From a Legislative Reference Bureau Analysis: “Current law provides that the Department of Workforce Development may award technical education equipment grants to school districts for the acquisition of equipment that is used in advanced manufacturing fields in the workplace. As a condition of receiving a grant, a school district must provide a match equal to 200 percent of the grant amount awarded. Grants are limited to no more than $50,000 per grant. This bill does all of the following:
1. Allows grant moneys to also be used for the enhancement or improvement of a technical education facility and for the acquisition of equipment that is used in construction fields in the workplace.
2. Allows grants to be awarded to consortia consisting of multiple school districts.
3. Raises the maximum grant award amount from $50,000 to $100,000.
4. Requires DWD to award at least one-third of the grant moneys to applicants that are either school districts that are eligible for sparsity aid or consortia that include at least one such school district.
5. Reduces the amount of matching funds required to 100 percent of the grant amount if all of the matching funds are from private sources.”
Assembly Bill 554 — Relating to: Race-based higher education programs and requirements.
By Representative Rettinger; cosponsored by Senator Wimberger.
From a Legislative Reference Bureau Analysis: “This bill changes certain race-based programs or requirements in higher education. In general, the bill modifies these programs and requirements so they apply to disadvantaged students rather than minority students.
Minority teacher loan program
Under current law, the Higher Educational Aids Board administers a minority teacher loan program for minority students who meet certain criteria, including being enrolled in a teaching program in a discipline with teacher shortages. Under the program, HEAB may award to an eligible student a loan of up to $10,000 per year for not more than three years. The loan is generally repayable, but HEAB must forgive 25 percent of the loan for each school year the loan recipient 1) is employed as a full-time teacher in a high-demand area related to the recipient’s discipline; 2) is employed by a public or private school located in a school district in which minority students constitute at least 40 percent of pupil enrollment; and 3) receives an educator effectiveness rating of proficient or distinguished. The bill changes the program so that it is available to disadvantaged students rather than minority students. In determining whether a student is disadvantaged, the student’s race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or religion may not be considered, either directly or indirectly. The bill also changes the criteria for loan forgiveness described in 2, above, so the recipient must be employed by a public or private school located in a school district in which “economically disadvantaged pupils,” defined as pupils eligible for a free or reduced-price lunch, constitute at least 80 percent of pupil enrollment.”
Senate Floor Session
Senate Bill 333 — Relating to: sexual misconduct against a pupil by a school staff member or volunteer and providing a penalty.
By Senator James; cosponsored by Representative Spiros.
From a Legislative Reference Bureau analysis: “This bill makes it a Class I felony for a person who works or volunteers at an elementary school, secondary school, or tribal school to commit sexual misconduct against a pupil who is enrolled at that school. Under the bill, a school staff member or volunteer is guilty of sexual misconduct if the school staff member or volunteer knowingly engaged in sexual misconduct that substantially interfered with a pupil’s academic performance or created an intimidating, hostile, or offensive school environment. Under the bill, if a law enforcement officer or a county department of social or human services, the Department of Children and Families in a county of 750,000 or more, or a child welfare agency under contract with DCF receives a report of alleged sexual misconduct against a pupil, the law enforcement officer, county department, DCF, or child welfare agency must notify the Department of Public Instruction of the violation, including the name of the person alleged and the school district or school at which that person works or volunteers.
Under current law, there are certain offenses for which if a person who is licensed by DPI is convicted will result in an automatic revocation of that person’s license. Under current law, a person’s license may be reinstated after six years for certain offenses if the person shows, by clear and convincing evidence, that he or she is entitled to reinstatement. This bill adds certain crimes to the automatic revocation provision and adds a lifetime bar on reinstatement for certain crimes. Under current law, a person’s license is automatically revoked if he or she is convicted of a Class H felony or higher that is a crime against life or bodily security or a crime against a child. This bill adds that a person’s license is automatically revoked if he or she is convicted of certain crimes against children that are Class I felonies, including sexual misconduct, certain crimes against privacy, and theft of property from a school. Under the bill, a person’s license may not be reinstated if the person is convicted of a crime against a child that is a Class H felony or higher, sexual misconduct against a pupil, and certain crimes against privacy.”