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Legislative Update


Joint education committee informational hearing today on federal fund usage

Joint education committee informational hearing today on federal fund usage

The Senate and Assembly Committees on Education will hold a joint informational hearing on Thursday, April 8 at 11:00 a.m. in Room 411 South, State Capitol. The committees are chaired by state Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and state Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) and are scheduled to take invited testimony only on “Federal Funding Distributed to Wisconsin related to K-12 Education.” The hearing will be covered live on WisconsinEye. The WASB GR staff will monitor the hearing and report anything worth noting to our members.

The committees have invited the following speakers for this hearing: read more…

First budget hearing is Friday at UW-Whitewater

First budget hearing is Friday at UW-Whitewater

The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) will hold the first of its four scheduled public hearings on the state budget on Friday, April 9, at UW-Whitewater. It is very important for K-12 to have a strong presence at these hearings.

Lawmakers are not sold on the governor’s plan for increased school funding and school leaders cannot afford to be complacent. Their skepticism was highlighted by the line of questioning at the DPI agency briefing before the JFC this week and may be exacerbated by Jill Underly’s election win, as she was not the favored candidate of GOP legislative leaders (see: Speaker Vos’ tweet).

Hearing Details read more…

Jill Underly wins race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction; GOP holds legislative seats

Jill Underly wins race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction; GOP holds legislative seats

Jill Underly, District Administrator from the Pecatonica Area School District, will be the next State Superintendent of Public Instruction after garnering nearly 58% of the vote. Underly defeated Deb Kerr, former District Administrator from the Brown Deer School District.

In special elections for vacant state legislative seats, state Rep. John Jagler (R-Watertown) won the 13th Senate District seat vacated by Congressman Scott Fitzgerald and GOP candidate Elijah Behnke won the 89th Assembly District seat resigned by former Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette).

President proposes infrastructure plan including broadband expansion and school projects

President proposes infrastructure plan including broadband expansion and school projects

From the NSBA connection: Politico (3/29, Stratford) reports President Joe Biden is expected to unveil new details about his multi-trillion dollar infrastructure plan this week. Biden said during his press conference last week that schools would be a focus of his infrastructure push, noting the decline of the nation’s classrooms: “How many schools where the kids can’t drink the water out of the fountain? How many schools are still in the position where there’s asbestos? How many schools in America we’re sending our kids to don’t have adequate ventilation?” Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), chair of the House education committee, likewise “told state education leaders last week that he expects schools will be part of the infrastructure bill.” According to Politico, “increasing federal funding for school construction isn’t likely to be an area of agreement between Democrats and Republicans.” read more…

New Secret Service report on school shootings; Experts advise vigilance as schools reopen

New Secret Service report on school shootings; Experts advise vigilance as schools reopen

From NSBA National Connection:

ABC News (3/30) reports a study released Tuesday by the Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center suggests “targeted violence against schools is preventable, if the warning signs are identified.” The report “studied 67 thwarted school violence plots and 100 plotters to come up with a framework to further prevent school attacks.” The agency determined there were “several consistent factors in attacks that were prevented and attacks that happened, such as a history of discipline or law enforcement interaction, if the plotter had experienced bullying or had underlying mental health issues, intended to commit suicide or had been impacted by childhood conditions.” The Secret Service also “found that 45% of the attacks planned, but not carried out, were based on a grievance with a classmate,” and that “15% of potential attackers wanted to kill.” read more…

Supreme Court: Gov. Evers exceeded his authority in issuing multiple COVID-related public health emergency orders

In a 4-3 decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court today (3/31) ruled that Gov. Tony Evers exceeded his authority by issuing multiple public health emergencies and related orders in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The case was brought last fall by a private citizen who asked the state Supreme Court to take original jurisdiction. Oral arguments took place in November.  The decision holds the governor’s existing emergency order (#105), which was set to expire on Monday, April 5, to be unlawful. 

Writing for the majority, Justice Brian Hagedorn noted, “The question in this case is not whether the Governor acted wisely; it is whether he acted lawfully. We conclude he did not.

read more…

Partisan gaps over use/control of latest federal COVID relief funds are wide

Yesterday (3/29), Gov. Evers unveiled his initial plan for allocating $3.2 billion in federal funding the state of Wisconsin is slated to receive from the recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). 

Evers also announced he had vetoed a bill that would have given the Legislature more say over the use of those funds, according to a statement from the administration.

Legislative Republicans who control both houses of the Wisconsin Legislature had passed legislation requiring legislative oversight and approval of the federal funds, but Evers vetoed Senate Bill 183, saying it would prevent funds from going out to people who need them the most.  

read more…

Starting Monday, everyone 16 and older will become eligible to get a COVID vaccination

Gov. Tony Evers announced today (3/30) via Twitter that everyone 16 and older will be eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 starting Monday.  

read more…

DPI clarifies collection of “in-person hours” data for allocating ESSER II distribution

In an email to district administrators last Friday (3/26), the DPI clarified how it will calculate the allocation of certain federal ESSER II funds to 174 Wisconsin local education agencies (school districts). 

This calculation affects the distribution of so-called “set-aside” funds under Joint Finance Committee Motion #16., which altered of the DPI’s proposed allocation of the 10% set-aside of funds provided under the December 2020 federal COVID relief act knows as the CRRSA Act. read more…

DPI creates new webpage with recommendations for using federal COVID relief funds

DPI creates new webpage with recommendations for using federal COVID relief funds

DPI has created a webpage titled COVID Response and Relief Planning Recommendations, a resource page to assist districts in the use of the one-time federal COVID relief funds. The webpage includes a number of categories vetted by experts as allowable costs under federal relief funds and will be updated regularly. From the webpage introduction: read more…

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A partnership between @mosineeschools and @CWAfbo is helping students learn to fly while getting college and high school credit. Read more: wqow.com/2021/04/09/loc…

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