GOP Bill Would Force Police to Share Student Records

By John Forester | October 6, 2017

“Police would have to notify school administrators whenever they arrest a student for a violent crime and teachers could end their contracts without penalty if students attack them under a Republican bill that would relax juvenile criminal record confidentiality.

“The bill would also allow teachers to remove a student from a classroom for two days.”

Check out the remainder of the article written by Todd Richmond of the Associated Press.  The SAA has had discussions with Rep. Theisfeldt about the major concerns we have with the legislation.  Stay tuned.  The SAA will keep members up-to-date on any new developments.

Check out the Associated Press story here.

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Competitive Bidding Bill Clears Senate Committee

By John Forester | October 6, 2017

The Senate Committee on Economic Development, Commerce and Local Government, chaired by Sen. Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac), recommended  Senate Bill 236  for passage yesterday on a 4-3 party-line vote with Republican members of the committee supporting the bill.  The SAA testified in opposition to the bill earlier this week.

You might recall that, Senate Bill 236 would require that a school board, before entering into a contract for the construction, repair, remodeling, or improvement of a public school building or public school facilities or for the furnishing of supplies or materials with an estimated cost greater than $75,000 (Senate Amendment 2 would reduce that figure to $50,000), must advertise or direct the school district clerk to advertise for proposals and must let the contract to the lowest responsible bidder.

The bill would also prohibit a school board from using a bidding method that gives preference based on the geographic location of the bidder or that uses criteria other than the lowest responsible bidder in awarding a contract.

The SAA will keep you informed of any developments regarding this important legislation.

SAA Testimony

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Thiesfeldt Drafting “Teacher Protection Act”

By John Forester | October 5, 2017

From The Wheeler Report:

A preliminary draft of legislation obtained by The Wheeler Report, shows Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt is drafting what he is calling the “Teacher Protection Act.” The bill aims to give teachers information about violent crimes committed by students. According to LRB-0917/P6, the bill would:

When asked about the bill draft Rep. Thiesfeldt said the bill has gone through many drafts and thinks “we could be on number nine right now.” Thiesfeldt said juvenile records are one of the issues they have had to consider while drafting the bill, but said he doesn’t think it will be an issue. Thiesfeldt said this bill would inform the teachers, that the student comes in contact with during the course of a day, that the student had been detained by the police. Thiesfeldt said this is “as much as for the teacher’s good as it is for the student’s good.” Thiesfeldt said there are differences in the bill drafts, but he believes it only includes teachers the student has contact with during the day and doesn’t include coaches and other staff. When asked about the “use of reasonable and necessary force under certain circumstances.” Thiesfeldt said those are already defined in statutes and this bill wouldn’t change those statutes, and that the bill shouldn’t infringe on any of the special needs laws about restraints. Thiesfeldt said that provision is about the teacher being able to protect themselves, protect other students, and protect the student from themselves when necessary.

Stay tuned.  This is clearly a piece of legislation the SAA will be very concerned about.  We will keep the membership up to date on any developments on this legislation.

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DPI Releases 2017-19 State Budget Summary

By John Forester | October 4, 2017

The DPI has released its full summary of the 2017-19 State Budget as it affects K-12 education, public libraries, etc…

 

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SAA Testifies Against Competitive Bidding Bill

By John Forester | October 3, 2017

SAA Executive Director John Forester testified in opposition to Senate Bill 236 today at a public hearing held before the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Commerce and Local Government, chaired by Sen. Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac).

In addition, Waunakee Superintendent Randy Guttenberg and Julie Waner, Vice President of the Waunakee Board of Education, did a fabulous job in testifying in opposition to SB 236.

You might recall that, Senate Bill 236 would require that a school board, before entering into a contract for the construction, repair, remodeling, or improvement of a public school building or public school facilities or for the furnishing of supplies or materials with an estimated cost greater than $75,000 (Senate Amendment 2 would reduce that figure to $50,000), must advertise or direct the school district clerk to advertise for proposals and must let the contract to the lowest responsible bidder.

The bill would also prohibit a school board from using a bidding method that gives preference based on the geographic location of the bidder or that uses criteria other than the lowest responsible bidder in awarding a contract.

Chairman Feyen has scheduled an executive session (committee vote) on the bill for this Thursday, October 5th.  The SAA will keep you informed of any developments regarding this important legislation.

SAA Testimony

Guttenberg/Waner Testimony

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U.S. Supreme Court Hears Wisconsin Gerrymandering Case

By John Forester | October 3, 2017

U.S. Supreme Court justices showed deep divisions Tuesday over a gerrymandering case from Wisconsin that could have far-reaching national implications.

Check out the coverage from the Milwaukee journal Sentinel here.

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Hearing Scheduled on Bill Requiring Schools to Use Competitive Bidding

By John Forester | September 27, 2017

The Senate Committee on Economic Development, Commerce and Local Government, chaired by Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville), will hold a public hearing on Senate Bill 236 requiring all school districts (including MPS) to utilize competitive bidding for school construction projects or for the furnishing of supplies or materials in excess of $75,000, next Tuesday, October 3 at 10:30am in Room 330SW, State Capitol.  An amendment to the bill that has been introduced would reduce the bidding threshold in the bill to $50,000, down from $75,000.  The bidding threshold in current law for counties, municipalities and other local governments other than schools is $25,000.

Senate Bill 236 would require that a school board, before entering into a contract for the construction, repair, remodeling, or improvement of a public school building or public school facilities or for the furnishing of supplies or materials with an estimated cost greater than $75,000, must advertise or direct the school district clerk to advertise for proposals and must let the contract to the lowest responsible bidder.

The bill would also prohibit a school board from using a bidding method that gives preference based on the geographic location of the bidder or that uses criteria other than the lowest responsible bidder in awarding a contract.

The SAA testified in opposition to Assembly Bill 307, the companion bill to SB 236, at an Assembly hearing in July (See SAA Testimony).

The SAA opposes SB 236.  SAA members interested in testifying against the bill should contact SAA as soon as possible.

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DPI Posts Info on Licensure Changes

By John Forester | September 27, 2017

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) posted new information this morning regarding licensure changes made in the 2017-19 State Budget.  Specifically, this information deals with the Lifetime License for Educators adopted in the budget bill.  The DPI also notes that they will have a full budget summary available in just a few days.

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Vinehout Launches Bid for Governor

By John Forester | September 25, 2017

From WisPolitics.com …

State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, formally kicked off her guv campaign today with a more than four-minute video, calling for Wisconsin’s own health care solution and a leader who listens.

Vinehout, who also planned a formal announcement later today in Black River Falls, says in the video she’s created four alternative budgets to show how she’d put “the people first” with Wisconsin’s resources.

“Wisconsin needs a real leader, a leader who listens, who does their homework and focuses on solving the problems people have in their daily lives,” Vinehout says.

In the video, Vinehout says her dad was a union laborer and her mom a nurse and she was able to go to college even though it was difficult to afford. She was later a college professor, but became a full-time dairy farmer and decided to get involved in politics. She said she ran for state Senate because she didn’t have health insurance and she wanted to change that for farmers and small business people paying “way too much” for poor insurance.

“I knew there was a better way, and that’s what got me involved in politics,” she says in the video.

Watch the video here.

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Low Spending Districts Concerned with Walker Veto

By John Forester | September 25, 2017

Check out this news story on Channel 3000 regarding the Governor’s low revenue veto and its impact on low revenue districts.  Superintendents Barb Sramek (Marshall) and Mary Pfeiffer (Neenah) are quoted.

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