Evers’ Administration Budget Reductions

By John Forester | September 23, 2020

From The Wheeler Report…

In May, Governor Evers announce that DOA in partnership with other state agencies were able to identify $70 million in cost savings in state operations which would come as 2019-20 budget reductions. The Governor then announced in July that he would be seeing additional cuts to state spending with a target of $250 million in savings. Today, DOA and the Governor announced they were able to find more than $300 million in savings to return to the general fund.

The table below shows the reductions made as announced by agency.

 

State Agency Final 2019-20 Budget Reductions ($) Final 20-21 Reduction Target ($) Total Reduction over 2019-21 Budget ($)
Administration 552,200 1,843,800 2,396,000
DATCP 1,151,600 3,142,500 4,294,100
DFI 898,600 1,450,000 2,348,600
OCI 986,200 2,469,600 3,455,800
ECB 243,500 243,500
HEAB 40,000 40,000
Historical Society 1,028,600 1,028,600
DPI 2,747,900 8,877,000 11,624,900
UW System 40,774,400 45,036,500 85,810,900
Technical College System Board 150,800 5,923,700 6,074,500
DNR 1,494,700 5,074,800 6,569,500
Tourism 714,000 801,300 1,515,300
DOC 2,397,300 28,243,700 30,641,000
Employment Relations 58,700 58,700
Board on Aging and Long-Term Care 115,000 115,000
DHS 7,482,700 31,720,700 39,203,400
DCF 1,910,500 24,705,700 26,616,200
DWD 367,500 367,500 735,000
DOJ 3,400,000 3,400,000
DMA 510,400 846,900 1,357,300
BCPL 107,800 107,800
Governor’s Office 201,360 506,200 707,560
DOR 5,671,400 5,671,500 11,342,900
Miscellaneous Appropriations 998,900 998,900
Miscellaneous Appropriations – Veterans Trust Fund 2,000,000 2,000,000
Program Supplements – Maintenance of Capitol and Executive Residence 4,508,900 4,508,900
Program Supplements – Discretionary Merit Compensation Awards 2,300,000 2,300,000
DHS – Medicaid Savings 120,000,000 120,000,000
WEDC 1,000,000 1,000,000
Total 69,976,760 301,482,800 371,459,560

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Top Republicans Oppose Evers’ Mask Mandate Extension

By John Forester | September 23, 2020

From WisPolitics.com …

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald slammed Gov. Tony Evers’ new mask mandate as “not worth the paper it’s printed on,” and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos called it “obviously illegal.”

But their separate statements were silent on calls from some of their GOP members to reconvene the Legislature for a vote that would overturn the new order.

After Evers issued the original mask mandate on July 30, Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said his caucus had the votes to overturn it. But Vos, R-Rochester, instead focused on the legal challenge he expected from private groups.

The guv’s original mask mandate was politically popular, with 69 percent of registered voters in an August poll saying they supported requiring face coverings in public places, while 29 percent were opposed.

“Governor Evers’ order is moot, illegal, invalid, and almost assuredly headed for litigation,” Fitzgerald said today.

Vos added, “There is already a court challenge and undoubtedly, there will be more. No one branch of government can rule outside the letter of the law and go unchecked, even during a pandemic.”

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Evers Issues New Health Emergency, Face Mask Order

By John Forester | September 22, 2020

From The Wheeler Report . . .

Governor Evers declared a new public health emergency in response to the surge in COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin. Executive Order #90, proclaims a public health emergency and designates the Dept. of Health Services as the lead agency to respond, authorizes the Adjutant General to activate the Wisconsin National Guard as necessary to assist in response, and directs all state agencies to assist as appropriate in the ongoing response to the emergency. The emergency shall remain in effect for 60 days, or until revoked by the Governor or by joint resolution of the Legislature.

 The public health emergency also comes with a new face coverings order effective immediately. Emergency Order #1 requires face coverings for “every individual, age five and older” when the individual is indoors or in an enclosed space other than a private residence. Individuals may remove the face covering in the following situations:

The face covering order shall expire on November 21, 2020, or by subsequent superseding emergency order.

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Latest Regulatory Changes to FFCRA Leave

By John Forester | September 18, 2020

From the Legal Side…

In its most recent School Law FYI, the BoardmanClark Law Firm focuses on revisions to the Department of Labor (DOL) regulations governing leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

The SAA regularly receives these legal updates and we believe this is valuable information for SAA members.  We are distributing this update to SAA members with the permission of the BoardmanClark Law Firm.  The information in this update is no substitute for consulting with your district legal counsel, and we encourage you to do so.

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Local Governments Can Donate Supplies to School Districts Utilizing Unused COVID-19 Relief Funds

By John Forester | September 17, 2020

At an August 17th meeting between officials from the Howard-Suamico School District and Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) and other area legislators, one of the topics of discussion was the extra financial burden carried by the district for COVID-19 safety and technology expenditures necessary for the district’s school reopening plans.  That initial discussion, and considerable legwork by Senator Cowles and his staff, generated a collaborative partnership that recently resulted in the Village of Howard acting to donate supplies purchased with unused COVID-19 relief funds to the Howard-Suamico School District.

Check out Senator Cowles’ press release and his letter to school district leaders in his Senate district encouraging them to establish similar partnerships with local governments to help reduce COVID-19 related expenses to school districts.  Many thanks to Senator Cowles for his work on this effort.  For more information on partnering with your local governments in this fashion, you can email questions to covidgovgrant@wisconsin.gov or contact Senator Cowles’ office at 608-266-0484.

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Federal Court Finds Wisconsin School District Denied FAPE

By John Forester | September 17, 2020

From the Legal Side…

In its most recent School Law FYI, the BoardmanClark Law Firm focuses on a recent ruling from a Wisconsin federal court and discusses the importance of implementing IEPs with fidelity and fully addressing a student’s lack of progress, even if a parent refuses to participate in the process.

The SAA regularly receives these legal updates and we believe this is valuable information for SAA members.  We are distributing this update to SAA members with the permission of the BoardmanClark Law Firm.  The information in this update is no substitute for consulting with your district legal counsel, and we encourage you to do so.

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As Third Friday Approaches, Schools Brace for Impact on Funding

By John Forester | September 14, 2020

As the third Friday count date approaches on September 18th, school districts brace for the impact on future school funding.  Check out Saturday’s coverage of this issue from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  The news story features quotes from DPI School Financial Services Director Dan Bush and WASDA Executive Director Jon Bales.

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Senator Marklein: The State of Our State’s Finances

By John Forester | September 8, 2020

Senator Howard Marklein is a key member of the Joint Finance Committee and I always pay attention to his public statements on the state’s fiscal condition and important legislation.  Check out his latest column on the state of Wisconsin’s finances.

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Cornell Superintendent Advocates for SAA Flexibility Agenda

By John Forester | September 4, 2020

Check out the letter that Cornell Superintendent Paul Schley sent to his district’s legislators in support of the SAA’s Statutory Flexibility Agenda.  Great job, Paul!

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Payroll Deferral Considerations for School Districts

By John Forester | September 4, 2020

From the Legal Side . . .

We share the following from the Boardman Clark Law Firm.  The SAA regularly receives these legal 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.

“In light of President Trump’s Executive Order allowing certain payroll tax deferrals and the recent IRS guidance on that issue, a number of employers, including school districts, have been getting questions from their employees about whether they can or should defer their taxes and some districts have been getting information from third party payroll advisors instructing them how to accomplish this deferral.  However, due to a significant number of questions which remain to be answered, and potential risk for employers who allow deferral, we are suggesting districts may wish to take a close look at the issues before they allow their employees to defer any tax obligation.  The deferral program is voluntary for employers to participate.”

“One of our Tax and Business partners has written a blog on this topic which we think you might find helpful. It can be found here.”

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