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Legislature takes no action in Special Session on K-12 funding

Legislature takes no action in Special Session on K-12 funding

Governor Tony Evers called the Legislature into Special Session on July 27 to take up his proposal, “to do what’s best for our kids and schools,” to boost funding for Wisconsin’s K-12 schools and higher education by $550 million. The Legislature convened and ended the special session with no discussion or consideration of the Governor’s proposal.

The WASB will continue to follow any developments on school funding and other forthcoming legislation that impacts Wisconsin schools.

Legislature takes no action in Special Session on K-12 funding

GOP lawmakers target public schools with “transparency/culture war” legislation

A number of legislative proposals have been introduced that target public schools (including independent charter schools) with measures aimed at increasing transparency to parents and the community. It’s possible these bills could have public hearings in the near future and we wanted to make you aware of them. The WASB is concerned with the trend of these types of bills that indicate a lack of trust by lawmakers in locally-elected school board members and local control of K-12 education in general.

The following is a list of bills dealing with school referenda, budget transparency, anti-racism & anti-sexism instruction (critical race theory) and a mandate to post curricular and instructional materials online.  Along with a description of each bill is an excerpt from the bill’s co-sponsorship memo. These memos are written by the bill authors to explain the need for the legislation to their colleagues and request their support. (more…)

GOP legislation proposes massive overhaul of reading readiness program including numerous strict mandates on school boards

GOP legislation proposes massive overhaul of reading readiness program including numerous strict mandates on school boards

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. The legislation is authored by Sen. Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) and Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay). See below for a comparison of current law and what is required by the bill.

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Legislature takes no action in Special Session on K-12 funding

Governor vetoes bill on WIAA transfer rules

Governor Evers vetoed Assembly Bill 383, the bill that would have prohibited a school district from being a member of an interscholastic athletic association (i.e., the WIAA) in the 2021-22 school year unless, for the 2021-22 school year, the association allows an exception to its transfer rules based on the manner in which educational programming was delivered during the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years.

The governor indicated he vetoed the bill because he objected to the Legislature inserting itself into the decision-making process of a private membership organization. WASB members have gone on record in support of WIAA autonomy by adopting a resolution that supports the governor’s position on this issue. (more…)

Gov. Evers signs budget; announces additional $100 million in one-time federal funds for schools

Gov. Evers signs budget; announces additional $100 million in one-time federal funds for schools

Today, Governor Tony Evers signed the 2021-23 state budget with no major changes to the K-12 provisions as passed by the legislature, and also announced he would allocate an additional $100 million in one-time federal funding for schools from COVID relief funds under the governor’s discretion.

The governor said he was unwilling to risk the $2.3 billion in federal funds for schools with a full veto of the budget and also acknowledged that “Republicans and their allies” were careful with the language included in the bill and did not provide an avenue to increase school funding with a line-item veto as he did in the last budget. (more…)