WERC Confirms 0.68% CPI for Bargaining Agreements Beginning January 1, 2017

By John Forester | July 25, 2016

The Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) website now includes the most recent CPI calculation, 0.68% for agreements beginning January 1, 2017.  A link to the WERC’s Consumer Price Index Calculation Chart is included here.

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Wistax: Wisconsin Has Likely Fallen Below National Average in Per Pupil Spending

By John Forester | July 21, 2016

I was catching up on some reading yesterday and came across the Focus #12 newsletter from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (Wistax).  As many of you know, I spent nine years of my professional career as the education and development director for Wistax and I have tremendous respect for Wistax’s president, Todd Berry, and research director, Dale Knapp.

Focus #12 is “focused” on school spending and the recent release of 2013-14 U.S. Census Bureau data.  One fact in the report jumped off the page:  In 2002, Wisconsin spent $8,574 per pupil, 11.3% more than the U.S. average ($7,701).  In 2014, Wisconsin spent $11,186, or just 1.6% more than the U.S. average ($11,009).

Some of you may recall that in May of 2015 Michael Griffith, a senior policy analyst at the nonpartisan Education Commission of the States, projected that Wisconsin would fall below the national average in per pupil spending during the 2014-15 school year (see SAA news release).  So, as a follow-up to the newsletter, I posed the question to Dale Knapp, “Has Wisconsin fallen below the national average in per pupil spending?”

Dale responded, “Wisconsin will likely fall below the national average in per pupil spending in the 2015-16 U.S. Census Bureau data, if not before.”

We will have to wait for the release of the U.S. Census Bureau data for 2014-15 and 2015-16 to be sure, but, for now, it is well worth noting that two widely respected nonpartisan government research organizations have projected that Wisconsin has likely fallen below the national average in per pupil spending.

Stay tuned.

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Marquette Poll: Walker Job Approval Still Underwater

By John Forester | July 14, 2016

From WisPolitics.com …

According to the Marquette Law School Poll released yesterday, Gov. Scott Walker’s job approval number continues to be underwater, while President Obama and House Speaker Paul Ryan were viewed more positively.

Fifty-one percent of registered voters approved of Obama’s job performance, while 45 percent disapproved, reflecting a national trend in which the president’s numbers have ticked up. In June, Obama was at 51-43 and in March, it was 50-45.

Ryan was viewed favorably by 48 percent, while 33 percent had an unfavorable opinion of him. That compares to 49-32 in June and 48-31 in March.

The guv saw his job approval number tick up in the March poll, but Franklin said that appears to have been a blip.

In the latest poll, 38 percent approved of Walker’s job performance, while 58 percent disapproved. He was at 39-57 in June following a 43-53 split in March.

During the presentation on the March poll, Franklin said it was an open question of whether the uptick was the beginning of a trend. But since then, back-to-back polls show Walker slipping back into the upper 30s for his job approval. That’s largely where he’s been since early 2015 as he was ramping up his moves toward a presidential bid he launched one year ago today.

“It’s fair to say we have now answered that question. It was a one-time blip in March,” Franklin said. “What the future holds remains to be seen.”

See Wisconsin State Journal Coverage here.

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128 School Districts Qualify For High Cost Transportation Aid

By John Forester | July 12, 2016

The Department of Public Instruction distributed $7.5 million in aid to districts with above-average student transportation costs last month through the High Cost Transportation Aid program.

Additional information is available in the DPI news release here.

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WPEN Summer Summit

By John Forester | July 7, 2016

The Wisconsin Public Education Network (WPEN) is a project of the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools (WAES).  It is a loose confederation of parents, educators, school board members, administrators, community leaders and education policy experts united behind one objective — advocating for Wisconsin public schools.

WPEN is now taking registrations for its Second Annual Summer Summit, August 23rd in Wauwatosa.  Please forward this information to those board members, staff or parents in your district with an interest in advocating effectively on behalf of public school children.

The agenda includes a full day of informational breakouts led by education experts and advocacy team leaders, strategy sessions, and keynote presentations from speakers who will inspire action and deeper conversations about the value of public education to our democracy and our communities, and the need for action to ensure every child in every school has equal opportunity to succeed. The topics for these sessions, and the format of the event, has been carefully put together after polling partners of our statewide Network to identify the needs and concerns around the state. The strategy sessions will allow opportunities for people from various constituencies and various parts of the state to come together in deliberate ways to find common ground for collaborations. Our emphasis throughout the day will be on how we can work together to create local-level actions with state-level impact.

Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Tony Evers, will join us to kick off the event, and our keynote speakers are public education supporters and philanthropists John and Tashia Morgridge and President of the North Carolina NAACP and founder of the Moral Mondays movement, Rev. Dr. William Barber II.

The Summit will take place at Wauwatosa West High School from 8:30am to 5:00pm, and will be followed by a dinner event at the Tosa Pool.  Registration for the Summit is $20 (includes lunch), and the dinner is an additional $20. Registration fee waivers are available for those for whom the cost is otherwise prohibitive, and those who wish to donate to this scholarship fund may do so at check-out. Early bird and group discounts are also available.

See the registration form for details and email hdb@WisconsinNetwork.org with any questions.

 

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Mental Health Spending, Programs Vary Widely

By John Forester | July 7, 2016

This USA Today Network-Wisconsin analysis, as posted by the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, shows county spending and programs for treating children with mental health problems varies widely across Wisconsin.

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School Data Study Committee to Meet

By John Forester | July 7, 2016

The Legislative Council Special Committee on School Data will meet at 10:00am on Tuesday, July 12th in Room 411 South, State Capitol.  The committee agenda includes invited speakers from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Several school administrators are members of this important study committee.  The SAA plans to closely monitor the committee’s work and keep the SAA membership informed of any significant developments.  Stay tuned.

Member List

Meeting Agenda

Staff Brief

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More Info on WRS Contribution Rate Increase

By John Forester | July 6, 2016

Check out the ETF news release and links.

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DPI Releases July 1 General Aid Estimate

By John Forester | July 1, 2016

The $108.1 million bump in state general aid from Wisconsin’s biennial budget means 61 percent of school districts (260 of 424) will see an increase in state aid for the 2016-17 school year, according to estimates released today by the Department of Public Instruction.

Additional information is available in the DPI news release here.

District aid estimates can be found on the department’s School Financial Services website, both alphabetically and by percent change.

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Walker Doesn’t Want MPS Turnaround Authority

By John Forester | July 1, 2016

Check out this article from Fox News in Milwaukee.

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