Continuous Advocacy: School District of Whitefish Bay

By John Forester | November 20, 2019

Remember after Governor Evers signed the 2019-21 State Budget on July 3rd how Republican and Democratic legislators battled for weeks to characterize the budget in the press and with the public as either “good” for public schools or “woefully inadequate”.

What we found is that neither these partisan characterizations nor the analyses of the budget’s impact on Wisconsin school districts produced by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) or the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) can never tell the full story for every school district.  Developing that “full story” for every district’s unique circumstances is the responsibility of local school leaders.

Back in July, the SAA issued the following suggestion to all school district administrators and business officials:  “Engage your district administrative team and collaboratively develop your district’s analysis of 1) what this budget means for educational opportunities for the students you serve, and 2) the unmet needs from this budget and the ongoing challenges that remain.  Then use this information to educate your legislators, your staff, your board and your community.”

Late last week I received a document from the School District of Whitefish Bay that details the impact of the 2019-21 Wisconsin State Budget on the district and its students.  I urge you to check it out (see link below).  Hats off to Superintendent John Thomsen and his team at Whitefish Bay!

If your district has developed a similar document or template with which to educate your legislators and your community, please send it to the SAA.  We’ll post it so SAA members can share and learn together on how we can effectively advocate for the kids we serve.

Whitefish Bay School District Document

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

WPF Highlights ESSA School Spending Reporting

By John Forester | November 20, 2019

In it’s latest issue of FOCUS, the Wisconsin Policy Forum (WPF) highlights the ESSA requirement that school districts report actual per-pupil expenditures by school and funding source.

The SAA believes this is valuable information for SAA members.  We are distributing this publication with the permission of WPF.

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

SAA Testifies on Cursive, Seclusion & Restraint Bills

By John Forester | November 20, 2019

SAA Executive Director John Forester testified yesterday in opposition to Senate Bill 414, relating to incorporating cursive writing in the elementary grades, and for information only on Senate Bill 527, relating to the seclusion and physical restraint of pupils.  The testimony was delivered at a public hearing before the Senate Committee on Education.

SAA Testimony on SB 414

SAA Testimony on SB 527

Topics: Legislative Action, SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

School Law Update: Students Charged and/or Convicted of a Felony are Ineligible for WIAA Competitions

By John Forester | November 20, 2019

From the Legal Side…

In its most recent School Law FYI, BoardmanClark reminds Wisconsin School Districts to review their athletic codes to ensure they incorporate and implement the WIAA Felony rule.

The SAA regularly receives these updates and we believe this is valuable information for SAA members.  We are distributing this update to SAA members with the permission of BoardmanClark.

 

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update, SAA Legal Side | No Comments »

Rehiring Annuitants/WRS Retirement Age Bill Circulated

By John Forester | November 14, 2019

Representative Felzkowski and Senator Stroebel are circulating a bill that would allow retired public employees to return to a WRS-covered job for a three year period while still collecting their WRS annuities.  The bill would also increase the minimum retirement age for general classification employees from 55 to 59.5.  Under the bill, the retirement age change would impact current employees under the age of 40 on the bill’s effective date.

Numerous SAA members have already contacted the SAA with their concerns regarding the staff recruitment/retention implications of the retirement age provisions of the bill.  Please contact the SAA with any questions or concerns you may have about the bill.

See the bill here.

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

SAA Members Testify on Tobacco 21

By John Forester | November 6, 2019

The following SAA members testified in support of Assembly Bill 422, the so-called Tobacco 21 bill at a public hearing today before the Assembly Committee on Substance Abuse and Prevention.

Jim Karedes (Delavan-Darien) Testimony

Chris Medenwalt (Monroe) Testimony

Gregg Wieczorek (Arrowhead) Testimony

Hats off to these High School Principals for taking time out of their busy schedule to advocate on behalf of the students they serve.

Topics: Legislative Action, SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

Priority Legislative Alert on Tobacco 21

By John Forester | October 30, 2019

The SAA is issuing a Priority Legislative Alert on Assembly Bill 422, the so-called Tobacco 21 legislation.

As we reported last week, AB 422 has been scheduled for a public hearing before the Assembly Committee on Substance Abuse and Prevention at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 6th in the North Hearing Room (2nd Floor North), State Capitol.  The SAA strongly supports the bill.

See the Public Hearing Notice here.

We urge SAA members to take action now!  For those interested in testifying at the public hearing, please contact the SAA so we can help coordinate and facilitate your testimony.  We also encourage all SAA members to contact your legislators and ask them to support AB 422.

In your communication, please consider using the talking points below as well as any of your own points about the importance of the bill based on your experiences and expertise.

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 or call me at (608) 242-1370.  Thanks for listening and, as always, thank you for everything you do on behalf of Wisconsin school children.

Topics: Legislative Action, SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

Wisconsin’s 2019 NAEP Scores Hold Steady

By John Forester | October 30, 2019

According to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), Wisconsin’s results on the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card, remained statistically unchanged, in a year when the nation saw significant declines on three out of four measures. At the same time, achievement gaps persist for Wisconsin.

For more information, see the DPI News release here.

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

Assembly Education Committee Executive Session

By John Forester | October 30, 2019

Yesterday morning, the Assembly Education Committee recommended for passage several bills that the SAA has an interest in (see below).  Please note, no action was taken on AB 368, relating to declining enrollment relief.  The SAA continues to work with the authors to modify the bill to soften a potential first-year loss for some districts under the bill.

AB-368 School Revenue Adjustment (Quinn, Romaine) The school district revenue limit adjustment for declining enrollment and the prior year base revenue hold harmless adjustment. No action taken. SAA Neutral. 

AB-442 Categorical Aid (Felzkowski, Mary) Whole grade sharing categorical aid for school boards and making an appropriation. Am. 1 adopted, 13-0.   Passage as amended recommended, 13-0. SAA Support.  

AB-441 Shared Services Aid (Felzkowski, Mary) A shared services aid program for school districts, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation. Am. 1 adopted, 12-0.   Passage as amended recommended, 13-0. SAA Support.  

AB-456 Feasibility Study Grants (Kitchens, Joel) Grants for feasibility studies of school district consolidation or whole grade sharing and making an appropriation. Passage recommended, 13-0. SAA Support. 

AB-461 Equalization Aid (Hutton, Rob) The timing of equalization aid payments to school districts. Am. 1 adopted, 13-0.   Passage as amended recommended, 13-0. SAA Support.  

AB-531 ID Card Info (Stafsholt, Rob) Requiring that student identification cards include contact information for suicide prevention hotlines. Am. 1 adopted, 12-0.   Passage as amended recommended, 12-0. SAA No Position. 

AB-528 Suicide Prevention Grants (Duchow, Cindi) Grants to support peer-to-peer suicide prevention programs in high schools, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation. Passage recommended, 13-0.  SAA Support.

AB-529 WISH Grant (Schraa, Michael) Grants to the Wisconsin Safe and Healthy Schools Center and making an appropriation. Am. 1 adopted, 12-0.   Passage as amended recommended, 12-0. SAA Support.

Topics: Legislative Action, SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

School Law Update: Wisconsin School District Nondiscrimination Obligations

By John Forester | October 30, 2019

From the Legal Side…

In its most recent School Law FYI, BoardmanClark  reminds Wisconsin School Districts of their nondiscrimination obligations.

The SAA regularly receives these updates and we believe this is valuable information for SAA members.  We are distributing this update to SAA members with the permission of BoardmanClark.

 

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update, SAA Legal Side | No Comments »

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