Hearing Scheduled on Bill Repealing Gun-Free School Zone Law

By John Forester | May 25, 2017

The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety will hold a public hearing on the controversial Senate Bill 169, authored by Senator David Craig (R-Town of Vernon), at 9:30am on Wednesday May 31st in Room 411 South, State Capitol. Among other things the bill eliminates the prohibition against carrying a firearm on school grounds, but retains current law allowing schools and others to post buildings and grounds.

The SAA opposes SB 169.  The bill would broaden the ability to possess firearms on school grounds and school zones and would reduce the penalties for bringing firearms into school settings.

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First Referendum Bill Scheduled For Hearing

By John Forester | May 23, 2017

Just as I predicted to colleagues, the first of the six referendum bills has been scheduled for public hearing at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 30th – the same week that the Joint Finance Committee is likely to take up the K-12 education portion of the State Budget Bill.

SB 187 would affect an operational/revenue limit referendum resolution and ballot question if a district intends to use some of the operational referendum authority to issue debt.  It is my understanding that only a relative small number of districts have used operational referendum authority for debt issuance.  This bill would require the school board to include in the resolution and in the referendum question the total amount of debt to be issued, the total amount of interest and related debt service costs to be incurred, and the sum of the principal, interest, and related debt service costs.

If this bill were to pass, it would potentially be both difficult and confusing to have debt/financial information, interest and debt issuance cost information in the operational/revenue limit referendum resolution and on the ballot.

The SAA is currently preparing its testimony for the public hearing.

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Borsuk: What Surprises Do Lawmakers Have in Store for Education?

By John Forester | May 22, 2017

Check out Alan Borsuk’s latest insightful column about what major policy prescriptions Wisconsin lawmakers may have in store for education.

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JFC Will Not Take Up K-12 Next Week

By John Forester | May 19, 2017

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) will meet in Executive Session on Tuesday (May 23rd) and Thursday (May 25th)  next week.  The JFC will take up the budgets of the state agencies listed below.  Speculation is focused on JFC taking up K-12 education the week of May 29th.  Stay tuned.

May 23

Program Supplements

State Treasurer

Administration — Transfers

Administration — Facilities

Medical College of Wisconsin

Higher Educational Aids Board

Educational Communications Board

University of Wisconsin System

Children and Families — Economic Support and Child Care

May 25

Building Commission

Building Program

Health Services — Departmentwide

Health Services — Medicaid Services

Health Services — FoodShare

Health Services — Mental Health, Public Health, and Other Programs

 

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A Rift in School Choice Movement?

By John Forester | May 15, 2017

I found this Associated Press article on the divisions in the school choice movement interesting.  Check it out.

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School Law Update: Substantial Fault Standard for Unemployment Benefits

By John Forester | May 15, 2017

From the Legal Side…

The Boardman & Clark law firm recently published this School Law Update.  Eligibility for unemployment benefits is rarely the driving force behind a school district’s decision to terminate an employee. However, unlike in the private sector where employers pay a payroll tax to cover these benefits, school districts reimburse the state for the entirety of their former employees’ unemployment benefits. As a result, school districts take a direct hit to their budget when employees receive benefits, so it is important that districts have an understanding of benefit eligibility.

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 Boardman & Clark.

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JFC Will Not Take Up K-12 This Week

By John Forester | May 15, 2017

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) will meet in Executive Session on Tuesday (May 16th) and Thursday (May 18th)  this week.  The JFC will take up the budgets of the state agencies listed below.  We still do not know when the JFC will take up K-12 education.

May 16th

May 18th

  • Labor and Industry Review Commission.
  • Wisconsin Technical College System
  • Historical Society
  • Shared Revenue and Tax Relief – Direct Aid Payment
  • Shared Revenue and Tax Relief – Property Tax Credit.
  • Shared Revenue and Tax Relief – Property Taxation
  • Shared Revenue and Tax Relief – Local Revenue Options

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Revenue Estimates Are Unchanged

By John Forester | May 15, 2017

If you missed it last week, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau has released an updated revenue estimates memo saying, “Based on the recent collections data and the new economic forecast, we believe that the current estimates are still reasonable and should not be adjusted.”

LFB Memo.

LFB January 18, 2017 Memo and estimates.

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Borsuk: Mental Health Issues Becoming Pervasive for Schools

By John Forester | May 15, 2017

Check out Alan Borsuk’s latest column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in which he focuses on school mental health issues.  Brown Deer Superintendent Deb Kerr is quoted extensively.

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Education-Related Bill Introductions

By John Forester | May 9, 2017

The following important bills affecting education were introduced in the Assembly yesterday:

AB-300 Pupil Exam Information (Thiesfeldt, Jeremy) Providing information about mandatory pupil examinations. Referred to Assembly Government Accountability and Oversight

AB-304 Pupil Exam Opt-Out (Thiesfeldt, Jeremy) Allowing a pupil’s parent or guardian to opt out of certain statewide examinations. Referred to Assembly Government Accountability and Oversight

AB-307 Competitive Bidding Threshold (Brooks, Robert) Competitive bidding thresholds and requiring school districts to utilize competitive bidding. Referred to Assembly Local Government

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