SAA Opposes AB 803 At Hearing

By John Forester | February 1, 2018

The SAA testified in opposition to Assembly Bill 803 today at a public hearing before the Assembly Committee on Education.  The bill relates to excluding costs funded by referenda from shared costs for the purpose of determining general equalization aids for school districts.

Superintendents Phil Ertl (Wauwatosa) and Ed Brzinski (Waterford Graded J1) and Business Manager John Mack (Wauwatosa) testified in support of the bill.  The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) testified in opposition to AB 803.

For the reasons behind the SAA’s opposition to the bill, please see SAA Testimony and DPI Testimony.

 

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Nearly 400 Private Schools Register for Voucher Programs

By John Forester | February 1, 2018

From WisPolitics.com …

Nearly 400 private schools have registered for the state’s three voucher programs next school year.

That includes 26 schools for the Racine voucher program; 133 schools for the Milwaukee program; and 222 for the statewide program, according to three separate releases from the state’s Department of Public Instruction yesterday.

Each figure marks an increase over the 2017-18 school year. For Racine, the list includes six new schools, two of which currently participate in one or both of the other voucher programs. For Milwaukee, there are eight new schools. And for the statewide program, there are 48 new schools, in addition to 21 others that previously participated in one or both of the other programs.

See the Racine program release here.
Milwaukee
Statewide

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SB 713 Scheduled for Hearing Tomorrow

By John Forester | January 30, 2018

A public hearing has been scheduled by the chair of the Senate Committee on Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection, Senator Duey Stroebel (R- Saukville) on Senate Bill 713 for this Wednesday, January 31 starting at 9:30 a.m. in room 201 Southeast of the State Capitol. In addition to chairing this committee, Senator Stroebel is the lead author of SB 713, along with the Vice-chair of the committee, Senator David Craig (R-Big Bend).

The SAA has registered in opposition to the bill.  In addition to the talking points and other information that appears below, we are also providing a fact sheet on the bill and a memo from the Wisconsin League of Municipalities and the Wisconsin Towns Association.  We would like to thank our colleagues at WEMTA for this in formation.

Senate Bill 713:


Here are some talking points you can use with your legislators:

For your convenience in contacting your legislators, we have provided links to the Assembly Directory, the Senate Directory and Who Are My Legislators.

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School Funding Commission to Hold Hearing Friday

By John Forester | January 30, 2018

As we first reported last week, the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding will hold a public hearing at 10:30am on Friday, February 2nd at the James Madison Academic Campus, 8135 W. Florist Avenue, Milwaukee.

The Commission will hear testimony from invited speakers including representatives from Milwaukee Public Schools, Southeast Wisconsin Schools Alliance and School Choice Wisconsin.  Following the invited speakers, members of the public will be able to share their thoughts with the Commission.  This public testimony will be limited to 5 minutes for each speaker.  The hearing will conclude at 4:00pm.

SAA members interested in testifying during the public testimony portion of the hearing are encouraged to contact the SAA with any questions they may have or for assistance with their testimony.  Stay tuned.  The SAA will keep members informed of Commission developments.

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New Web Page for School Funding Commission

By John Forester | January 30, 2018

The Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding has a new web page designed to share information with the public on the work of the Commission.  Check it out here.

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SAA Supports AB 835 at Hearing

By John Forester | January 26, 2018

The SAA testified in support of Assembly 835, relating to increasing sparsity aid and the low revenue ceiling for school districts.  The SAA also raised concerns about the “failed referendum” provisions of the bill.

Twelve SAA members delivered testimony in support of the bill including the following:  Superintendents Tonya Olson (Waupun), Kevin Bruggink (Oostburg), Mike Trimberger (Random Lake), Shawn McNulty (Mukwonago), Craig Gerlach (Stevens Point), Bryce Bird (Riverdale), Ron Saari (Potosi); Business Managers Brian Walters (Marinette), Andrew Chromy (Oak Creek-Franklin), John Stellmacher (Hartford J1), Mike Gerlach, (Fond du Lac), and Tom Karthauser (Mukwonago).  Superintendent Patrick Rau (Bonduel) testified for information on his district’s failed operating referendum and the impact of the “failed referendum” provision on his district.  Superintendent Carrie Dassow (Plymouth) also registered in support of the bill.

There was no opposition to the bill at the hearing.  The SAA will keep the membership informed of any developments on this important legislation.  If you have not yet contacted your legislators in support of the SAA position, please consider doing so soon.  Stay tuned.

SAA Testimony

Keven Bruggink Testimony

Andrew Chromy Testimony

Mike Gerlach Testimony

Tonya Olson Testimony

Mike Trimberger Testimony

 

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LFB Prepares Memo for School Funding Commission

By John Forester | January 26, 2018

At the December 14, 2017 meeting of the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding, a number of questions arose regarding school district revenue limits, funding, mill rates, special education aids, and boundary modifications.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) has prepared a memo that addresses those inquiries.  I found the memo very interesting.  Check it out here.

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Representative Kremer Not Seeking Reelection

By John Forester | January 24, 2018

From WisPolitics.com …

GOP Rep. Jesse Kremer announced yesterday he’s not running for re-election later this year.

Instead, he said on the Assembly floor he’ll begin work as a commercial airline pilot, a job he had held before joining the chamber. But he told WisPolitics.com he intends to finish out his term.

The Kewaskum Republican has authored controversial pieces of legislation including a transgender bathroom bill and the so-called campus free speech bill.

But he said he regrets not doing enough to protect the unborn, including passing a bill that would impose a blanket prohibition on acquiring, providing or using a fetal body part from an abortion, which has stalled in committee.

Another regret, Kremer said, is failing to pass legislation to “protect our schools from mass maniacs.” That, his office said, refers to a bill he co-authored that would allow people with concealed weapons permits to carry guns on school grounds.

Kremer said while he’s not “irreplaceable,” he hopes “that I have made some sort of mark on this body.”

“We can make what we want of our offices, and I hope I was not one to take a backseat,” he said.

Kremer was elected to the 59th AD in 2014.

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School Funding Commission to Hold Hearing February 2nd

By John Forester | January 23, 2018

The Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding will hold a public hearing at 10:30am on Friday, February 2nd at the James Madison Academic Campus, 8135 W. Florist Avenue, Milwaukee.

The Commission will hear testimony from invited speakers including representatives from Milwaukee Public Schools, Southeast Wisconsin Schools Alliance and School Choice Wisconsin.  Following the invited speakers, members of the public will be able to share their thoughts with the Commission.  This public testimony will be limited to 5 minutes for each speaker.  The hearing will conclude at 4:00pm.

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Priority Legislative Alert – Sparsity Aid/Low Revenue Ceiling

By John Forester | January 23, 2018

The SAA is issuing a Priority Legislative Alert on Assembly Bill 835, relating to sparsity aid and the low revenue ceiling for school districts.

Assembly Bill 835 has been scheduled for public hearing before the Assembly Committee on Education this Thursday, January 25th at 10:00 am in Room 417 North, State Capitol. The SAA supports the bill.  However, we do have concerns about the provision of the bill that prevents a school district from utilizing the low revenue adjustment if, during the three prior school years, an operating referendum failed in the district.

See Public Hearing Notice here.

We urge SAA members to take action nowPlease contact your legislators and ask them to support AB 835.  The SAA will also advocate for removing the “failed referendum” provision.  At the very least we believe the effective date of the provision should be modified to focus on future operating referenda.

AB 835 does the following:

In your communication please consider using the talking points listed below as well as any of your own thoughts about the bill based on your experiences and expertise.  Make sure you share with your legislators what the additional sparsity aid and /or revenue cap authority under the bill would mean for your district and especially for the students you serve.

Sparsity Aid Talking Points:

Low Revenue Adjustment Talking Points:

“Failed Referendum” Talking Points:

For your convenience in contacting your legislators, we have provided links to the Assembly Directory, the Senate Directory and Who Are My Legislators.

If you should have any questions please email me.  Thanks for listening and, as always, thank you for everything you do on behalf of Wisconsin school children.

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