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School funding commission co-chairs introduce 4K funding bill

The co-chairs of the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding, Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) and Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon), have introduced legislation that would count full-day 4K students as 1.0 pupil for funding purposes (see more info below). This is based on a recommendation from the commission and is supported by the WASB.

We encourage you to contact your state legislators to urge support of companion bills Senate Bill 408 and Assembly Bill 465. Neither bill has been scheduled for a public hearing yet in the respective education committees. We will keep you up to date here and if this would be a benefit to your district, please consider coming to testify at a hearing. (more…)

Senate education committee schedules public hearing and vote

The Senate Committee on Education will hold an executive session and a public hearing on Tuesday, September 17 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 330 Southwest, State Capitol.

The committee is chaired by state Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) and is scheduled to take public testimony on the following bills:


Senate Bill 138 Relating to: professional development training in character education for teachers, pupil service professionals, principals, and school district administrators, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation. (more…)

Bills Reflecting Blue Ribbon Commission Recommendations Are Being Advanced

Nearly nine months ago, the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding issued its recommendations. Ever since, school leaders have been waiting patiently for those recommendations to be put forward as legislation.

Recently, however, a number of bills have been put forward to implement recommendations made by the Commission.  Several are described below:

Sparsity Aid
Senate Bill 182 and Assembly Bill 196, a pair of companion bills authored by Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and Rep. Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz), would expand eligibility for sparsity aid in a way that mirrors the recommendations made by both the Blue Ribbon Commission and the Rural Schools Task Force (2013). (See Recommendation #2 under Sparsity Aid on page 7 of the Commission Report.)


Watch WisconsinEye back to school dialogue with K-12 legislative leaders

WisconsinEye recently sat down with key state legislative leaders on K-12 education to discuss a variety of issues as we begin the new school year.  State Senators Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) & Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) and State Reps. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) & Sondy Pope (D-Mt. Horeb) sat down with Steve Walters to discuss a variety of topics including the state budget, school funding challenges, school vouchers, charter schools and more.

Access the full video here.

Sen. Olsen: States must take the lead to make education policy a bipartisan priority

Wisconsin state Senator Luther Olsen (R) penned a joint opinion column in The Hill with Washington state Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos (D) that calls on state legislators to take the lead in returning education policymaking to its legacy as a top bipartisan priority.

The state lawmakers write:

“As our national politics has become more partisan than ever, it falls upon us as state legislators to take the lead in returning education policymaking to its legacy as a bipartisan priority. The good news is, there is an opportunity before us.” (more…)