More Letters and Resolutions

By John Forester | April 24, 2015

Here are some more board resolutions and letters to legislators from the Cochrane-Fountain City, Palmyra, Rhinelander and Shawano school districts.

Cochrane-Fountain City Letter to Legislators

Palmyra Resolution

Rhinelander Resolution

Shawano Resolution

 

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Important Information: Non-Levy Fund 80 Balance Transfer

By John Forester | April 24, 2015

The SAA is reprinting the following important information from DPI with the Department’s permission and support.

NON-LEVY FUND 80 BALANCE TRANSFER: A one-time option to move non-levy fund balance dollars from Fund 80 to Fund 21 has been created, with prior DPI approval and passage of a Board of Education resolution.  Many districts have Fund 80 balances with the intent to use these dollars in the future as allowed by prior law.  State law was changed and school boards have limited options to address the use of accumulated Fund 80 balances.

School boards will have a one-time opportunity during 2014-2015 to move non-levy Fund 80 dollars to Fund 21 and in so, allow the district to honor the intent of this collection of non-levy revenue under existing state law and rule.  The following process will be required:
1.      District will provide the School Financial Services (SFS) Team with a written formal request.  This request will include:
a.      A cover letter that includes.
i.      The dollar amount to be transferred and the non-levy source (e.g. fees, donations, etc.) of the balance.
ii.     Description of how the Fund 80 balance came to be.
iii.    A brief description of how these dollars will be used in the future based on current knowledge and district planning.
iv.     The letter will explain how “rental fees” will be collected and recorded in the future to prevent a reoccurrence of significant non-levy fund balance.
1.      WI Statute 120.13(17) allows a district to grant use of its facilities if such use does not interfere with school purposes or school-related activities and it involves a group that is not under the control of the school board.  Facilities used for community service activities are typically owned by the district.  Therefore, facility rental fees should be recorded in the general fund (Fund 10).
v.      A statement that acknowledges the district will be responsible for any and all impacts on the Equalization Aid calculation this transaction creates now or in the future.
vi.     The district understands that this is a one-time opportunity and all Board of Education transactions must be completed by July 31, 2015. The action will impact the 2014-2015 district financial statements.
2.      A copy of the proposed formal resolution to be considered by the Board of Education.  The resolution must clearly state the dollar amount to be transferred and the intended use of the non-levy balance. The SFS Team will review and approve the draft resolution to be presented to the Board of Education.
3.      SFS Team will be allowed at least 10 working days to review the formal request starting on the day following receipt of the complete request.
a.      The last date to provide a formal request will be Friday, July 17, 2015.
4.      With the formal, documented approval of SFS, the Board of Education will then act on the formal resolution that has been pre-approved by the SFS Team.
5.      This entire process (Board approval and transfer of funds) must be completed on or before Friday, July 31, 2015.

Send formal requests to Bruce W. Anderson at bruce.anderson@dpi.wi.gov and please copy DPI.SchoolFinancialServices@dpi.wi.gov.  Please attach as PDF or Word documents your cover letter with justification and the draft School Board resolution.   If you have questions, please contact Bruce W. Anderson at (608) 267-9707 or bruce.anderson@dpi.wi.gov.

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Schools to Share $35.5 Million in Library Aid

By John Forester | April 23, 2015

According to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), public school districts throughout the state will share $35.5 million in library aid, which will be paid April 27 from the Common School Fund, the only state funding specifically designated for the purchase of materials for school libraries.

Additional information is available here.

The list of aid payments is in the official news release or can be found here.

 

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Walker: Any Uptick in Revenue Should Go to K-12

By John Forester | April 23, 2015

Governor Scott Walker signaled Wednesday that state tax projections due next month would modestly beat expectations, saying large windfalls were unlikely and any extra money should be channeled to public schools.

See Milwaukee Journal Sentinel news article here.

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More Letters, Resolutions

By John Forester | April 20, 2015

Here are some more letters to legislators and board resolutions from the Adams-Friendship, Marathon, Nekoosa and Oconto Falls school districts.

Adams Friendship Resolution

Marathon Resolution

Nekoosa Resolution

Oconto Falls Letter to Legislators

Oconto Falls Resolution

 

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JFC Acts on Local Government Property Insurance Fund

By John Forester | April 18, 2015

​The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) on Friday modified the Governor’s recommendation to cease operations of the local government property insurance fund.  The motion, authored by Senator Howard Marklein and ultimately passing 16-0, delays the termination of the local government property insurance fund policies by two years and would require the Insurance Commissioner to adopt the policy rates and structure recommended by the Advisory Committee at its April 2015 meeting.  The final date for the issuance of new policies remains at July 1, 2015.  The last date for renewal of existing policies moves to January 1, 2018.  The last date for filing claims moves to July 1, 2019.

The modification is certainly better than the Governor’s original recommendation.  The extended delay gives policyholders time to thoroughly consider available options.  It also provides time for other lower-cost providers (the League of Municipalities and the Counties Association have expressed interest) to enter the market, make coverage available to school districts and provide competition.

A lengthy debate on the issue took place among committee members prior to passage of Senator Marklein’s motion.  Committee Democrats made motions to simply eliminate the Governor’s recommendation from the budget bill and to provide a revenue cap exemption for any increase in premium costs due to the elimination of the local government property insurance fund.  Both of these motions failed on 4-12 party line votes.

The SAA would like to thank those committee members that supported the interests of public school districts in this debate.  We also thank Senator Howard Marklein for his thoughtfulness and leadership in authoring the compromise motion that modified the Governor’s recommendation.

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Poll: 78% Oppose School Aid Cuts

By John Forester | April 17, 2015

As  Governor Scott Walker moves closer to a formal announcement that he will run for president, the latest Marquette University Law School poll shows Walker’s job approval rating among Wisconsin voters has slipped since last fall.

Voters also strongly oppose — at 78% — Walker’s plan to cut aid to schools by $127 million. Nearly as many, 70%, oppose Walker’s plan to cut $300 million to the University of Wisconsin System.

See Milwaukee Journal Sentinel news article here.

Also see Marquette Law School Blog Post on the poll here.

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Assembly, Senate Still at Odds Over School Accountability

By John Forester | April 16, 2015

From WisPolitics:

The Assembly and Senate authors of school accountability bills continue to be at odds.

Sen. Paul Farrow, lead author of his chamber’s version and chair of the Education Reform and Government Operations Committee, introduced a substitute amendment yesterday to his version of the bill. Farrow, R-Pewaukee, said it includes no sanctions and would give DPI six months to come up with a new formula for the report cards that would be used to determine which schools are underperforming.

Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, whose version of the bill includes sanctions for failing schools, said the latest Senate version has no chance of passing the Assembly Education Committee he chairs.

“Not only does this bill do little to help failing or struggling schools but it actually removes requirements to help them improve,” said Thiesfeldt, R-Fond du Lac. “Furthermore, this bill does not address standardized testing, educational standards, waivers for small schools and provides no prescription of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s job duties. We ultimately have a status quo bill with accountability in name only.”

Farrow has said he does not support the Assembly version of the bill, and the guv has called on lawmakers to approve an accountability package that provides parents information on school performance but no sanctions.

See the substitute amendment here.

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More Letters To Legislators and Communities

By John Forester | April 15, 2015

Check out the budget resolutions and community letters sent from administrators from the Monroe, Pittsville, Sheboygan and Wittenberg-Birnamwood school districts.

Monroe Resolution

Pittsville Resolution

Sheboygan Budget Letter to Parents

Wittenberg Birnamwood Community Letter

 

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Senators Fitzgerald, Shilling on K-12 Education Funding

By John Forester | April 13, 2015

From WisPolitics:

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he expects any bumps in projected state revenues for the upcoming budget will help boost K-12 education.

The Juneau Republican told “UpFront with Mike Gousha” legislators are committed to fully funding K-12 schools in the first year of the budget and predicted improved revenue would allow for an increase in the second year.

But the Senate’s Democratic leader, Jennifer Shilling of La Crosse, argued for funding public schools over a Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed expansion to the state’s voucher program. Shilling said a majority of Wisconsin students attend public schools.

“We need to make sure that we have strong schools regardless if you live in a small school district, an urban school district, or a suburban school district,” Shilling said on the program, produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

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