Subsidized COBRA Coverage Now Available to Certain Individuals

By John Forester | April 14, 2021

From The Legal Side . . .

In its most recent School Law FYI, the BoardmanClark Law Firm focuses on new obligations placed on group health plan sponsors (which in many situations are employers) created under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 with respect to federal COBRA and state health insurance continuation laws.

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.

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update, SAA Legal Side | No Comments »

Responding to Requests Under the Wisconsin Public Records Law

By John Forester | April 14, 2021

From The Legal Side . . .

Many Wisconsin school districts have been receiving requests for information or records from individuals and groups under the Wisconsin Public Records law related to district decisions made in light of COVID-19.  In a recent School Law FYI, the BoardmanClark Law Firm focuses on considerations for school districts when responding to these requests for information.

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.

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update, SAA Legal Side | No Comments »

Virtual JFC Hearing Details

By John Forester | April 13, 2021

From The Wheeler Report . . .

Joint Finance co-chairs Sen. Marklein and Rep. Born announced the registration information for the virtual JFC hearing scheduled for Wednesday, April 28.

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

Notes from JFC Hearing

By John Forester | April 12, 2021

Last Friday, April 9th, the Joint Finance Committee held it’s first of four public hearings on the 2021-23 state budget bill in Whitewater.  The SAA was well-represented with the following school superintendents providing testimony:  Patrick Rau (Peshtigo), Aaron Sadoff (North Fond du Lac), Steve Salerno (Mount Horeb), Phil Tubbs (Weyauwega), Tim Raymond (Cambria-Friesland).  Chief Financial Officer John Gahan (Pewaukee) also provided testimony.  Many thanks to these SAA members for their leadership.

Patrick Rau Testimony

Aaron Sadoff Testimony

Steve Salerno Testimony

Phil Tubbs Testimony

Tim Raymond Testimony

For those of you planning to testify at one of the in-person hearings, here are my suggestions:

SAA Budget Alert
SAA Legislative Agenda

Once again, we need a strong showing at the JFC budget hearings.  If you have questions about testifying please call me at 608-242-1370.

Here are the upcoming hearing locations and times:

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 (10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)*
The Hodag Dome
School District of Rhinelander
665 Coolidge Avenue
Rhinelander, WI 54501

Thursday, April 22, 2021 (10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)*
University of Wisconsin-Stout
Great Hall, Memorial Student Center
302 10th Avenue East
Menomonie, WI 54751

Public Parking Available in LOT #29
400 13th Avenue East
Menomonie, WI 54751

For more information on UW-Stout’s COVID-19 policies and guide to visiting campus, please visit https://www.uwstout.edu/community-visitors-0.

Hearing attendees must follow the COVID-19 safety protocols at each host facility, including wearing masks and maintaining social distance. Available seating may be limited due to social distancing guidelines. The process and arrangements for the virtual public hearing, to be held April 28th, are still being ironed out by Capitol staff.  We will forward that information when it is available.

All public hearings will be streamed by WisconsinEye and can be viewed at WisEye.org/live.

*The Committee will conclude taking testimony at the time specified.  Written comments can be emailed to the Committee at:

Budget.Comments@legis.wisconsin.gov

http://www.legis.wisconsin.gov/topics/budgetcomments

or sent via U.S. mail to Joe Malkasian, Room 305 East, State Capitol, Madison, WI  53702.

 

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

SAA PAC Frequently Asked Questions

By John Forester | April 8, 2021

In 2003, the SAA Legislative Committee created SAA PAC, which is supported by members of all five SAA member associations, to strengthen the identity of the SAA and to improve the management of our combined political activities.  The SAA Legislative Committee believes that SAA PAC is vitally important to our objective of establishing a comprehensive SAA giving program designed to strengthen our relationships with lawmakers and influence legislation.

What is SAA PAC?

SAA PAC is the SAA’s registered political action committee (PAC) in Wisconsin.  A PAC is any political committee, other than a candidate committee or a political party committee, which receives contributions, distributes funds, or incurs obligations for the purpose of influencing the election or defeat of candidates to state or local office.  SAA PAC funds are used for campaign contributions designed to help reelect “friends of public education,” strengthen our relationships with key legislators and, ultimately, to influence legislation.  SAA PAC is the SAA’s primary campaign contribution vehicle.

How are SAA PAC funds distributed?

The SAA Executive Director develops a PAC contribution plan that conforms to the following SAA PAC contribution guidelines. This plan is subject to the approval of the SAA Board of Directors.  It is also reviewed by the SAA Legislative Committee.   The distribution of SAA PAC campaign contributions is largely limited to:

Are political contributions tax deductible?

No.  (Sorry, but it’s the law.)

How do I contribute?

If you are interested in supporting the SAA PAC, please contact the SAA by email or by phone at 608-242-1370.  The SAA also has a secure on-line credit card option for your SAA PAC contributions.  Simply access the SAA website (www.wsaa.org) and hit the Donate Now button on the left-hand side of our home page.

Please note, the Wisconsin Elections Commission advises members to make online contributions from a personal electronic device and not on school servers!  

Paid for by SAA Political Action Committee, Beth Holznagel, Treasurer

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

Reminder: SAA Has An Online PAC Contribution Option

By John Forester | April 7, 2021

As what promises to be a very difficult 2021-23 state budget process begins to pick up speed, several SAA members have asked, “what is the easiest way to make a contribution to the SAA Political Action Committee (SAA PAC)”.

This is just a reminder to all SAA members that the SAA has developed a secure, online credit card option for your SAA PAC contributions.  The option has been available for several years and was created at the suggestion of SAA members.

If you are interested in making a contribution, please go to the Donate Now button on the left-hand side of our home page.

Please note, the Wisconsin Elections Commission advises members to make online contributions from a personal electronic device and not on school servers!

Thank you for your continued efforts on behalf of Wisconsin school children.  If you have any questions, please contact the SAA by email or by phone (608) 242-1370.

Paid for by SAA Political Action Committee, Beth Holznagel, Treasurer

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

School Referendum Results

By John Forester | April 7, 2021

From The Wheeler Report…

SCHOOL REFERENDUM FOR APRIL 6 SPRING ELECTION

District

District Name Total Amount Type Brief Description
0091 Alma Center

Passed

$4,900,000.00 Issue Debt This referendum will address energy efficiency projects, capital maintenance improvements, as well as the completion of a new athletic stadium complex.
0245 Bangor

Passed

$2,700,000.00 NR – 2022 Exceed the revenue cap by $900,000 per year for three years beginning with the 2022-2023 school year and ending with the 2024-2025 school year for non-recurring purposes.
0308 Barron Area

Passed

$24,500,000.00 Issue Debt INITIAL RESOLUTION NUMBER I AUTHORIZING GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $24,500,000.
0308 Barron Area

Failed

$1,900,000.00 Issue Debt INITIAL RESOLUTION NUMBER II AUTHORIZING GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $1,900,000
0427 Benton

Passed

$43,000.00 Issue Debt The money will be used for district building and site improvements and capital maintenance repairs.
2240 Black Hawk

Failed

$14,225,000.00 Issue Debt CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS – REMOVAL OF PORTION OF BUILDING AND NEW CONSTRUCTION
0602 Bonduel

Passed

$12,500,000.00 Issue Debt Shall the School District of Bonduel, Shawano County, Wisconsin be authorized to issue pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $12,500,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of a district-wide school facility improvement project consisting of:  renovations, building infrastructure, security and site improvements, including classroom and ADA accessibility updates and HVAC improvements, and construction of an addition for a gymnasium and locker room at the Junior High/High School campus; remodeling for a secure entrance and building infrastructure improvements at the Elementary School; and acquisition of furnishings, fixtures and equipment?
0657 Brighton #1

Failed

$3,975,000.00 Issue Debt The debt issued will be to build a STEM lab, a new art/music room, renovate the library media center, add a special education suite, and improve the building site to have a separate bus drop off to improve student safety.
0735 Bruce

Passed

$2,000,000.00 NR – 2021 Operating expenses
0882 Cambria-Friesland

Passed

$5,000,000.00 NR – 2021 To exceed the revenue limit for non-recurring purposes to maintain academic and educational programs, technology, and address facility needs.
5054 Central/Westosha UHS

Passed

$39,600,000.00 Issue Debt The proposed solution focuses on four key areas:
1.  Enhance Safety & Security — Modify the main entrance to better monitor and control visitor access; upgrade/add security cameras and exterior locks; and revise drop-off/pick-up traffic flow.
2.  Upgrade Building Infrastructure — Replace lighting, flooring, ceilings, and walls; remove asbestos; replace sections of roof; and update plumbing, heating/ventilation, and electrical systems that have exceeded their useful life.
3.  Modernize Educational Spaces — Create and renovate spaces to provide better access to technology, flexible furniture, small-group instruction spaces, and modern art, choir, and Family & Consumer Science areas.
4.  Expand Activities & Arts Areas — Add a new gymnasium and cafeteria/commons and renovate the existing cafeteria to become an auditorium to support physical education, art programs, and community events.
1260 Cumberland

Failed

$32,500,000.00 Issue Debt
1295 Darlington Community

Passed

$9,500,000.00 NR – 2021 Resolution Authorizing the School District Budget to Exceed Revenue Limit by $1,900,000 Per Year for Five Years for Non-Recurring Purposes
1540 East Troy Community

Failed

$8,000,000.00 Issue Debt Bonds in an amount not to exceed $8,000,000 for school wide maintenance and improvements.
1540 East Troy Community

Failed

$8,000,000.00 NR – 2021 Non-recurring, five year referendum to exceed the revenue limits for operating purposes of maintaining existing programs and staffing.
1561 Edgar

Failed

$800,000.00 RR – 2021 three-year for recurring purposes consisting of facility maintenance and operational expenses
1582 Elcho

Failed

$4,000,000.00 NR – 2021 General Operation and Maintenance expense
1855 Florence

Passed

$5,450,000.00 NR – 2021 Referendum to exceed revenue cap for four years beginning FY2021-2022
2051 Genoa City J2

Failed

$2,100,000.00 NR – 2021
2233 Grantsburg

Failed

$17,900,000.00 Issue Debt Close Nelson, Remodel Elem, Add few classrooms and gym to MS, HS office/entrance addition
2233 Grantsburg

Failed

$4,235,000.00 Issue Debt Multi Purpose Gymnasium at High School
2583 Hortonville

Passed

$41,800,000.00 Issue Debt The District will be completing renovations and additions at both Greenville Middle School and Hortonville High School.  These projects will assist with growth and add appropriate and flexible space for current education needs.  The project cost is $41.8M with no tax impact.
2583 Hortonville

Failed

$12,200,000.00 Issue Debt Question #2 will ask voters to vote on an additional of a multipurpose facility at Hortonville High School for school and community use.  The project cost is $12.2M with minimal tax impact ($22 per $100,000 of value).
2605 Howards Grove

Failed

 

$35,000,000.00 Issue Debt Referendum for a new middle school and other capital improvements
2604 Howard-Suamico

Passed

 

$25,000,000.00 NR – 2023 exceed the revenue limit specified in Section 121.91, Wisconsin Statues, for a duration of five years beginning with the 2023-2024 school year and ending with the 2027-2028 school year by an amount of $5,000,000 each year for non-recurring purposes consisting of reducing class sizes, employee compensation, and facility maintenance
2604 Howard-Suamico

Passed

$98,000,000.00 Issue Debt issued pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $98,000,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of a school building improvement project consisting of: renovations, including improvements to learning environments, safety and security improvements and construction of additions for new gymnasiums at Bay View Middle School and Forest Glen Elementary School; district-wide capital maintenance and building infrastructure improvements; site improvements; and acquisition of furnishings, fixtures and equipment.
2625 Hustisford

Failed

$900,000.00 NR – 2022 To exceed revenue limit by $300,000 each year for three years (starting Fiscal Year 2022)
2632 Independence

Failed

$2,100,000.00 NR – 2021 Exceed Revenue Limit by $700,000 per year for 3 years.
5960 Kickapoo Area

Passed

$2,000,000.00 Issue Debt To pay the cost of a pool facility building and improvement project at the existing facillity.
2842 Kohler

Passed

$17,550,000.00 Issue Debt District wide school facility improvement project.
2842 Kohler

Passed

$2,590,000.00 Issue Debt Improvements to outdoor athletic facilities and related site improvements.
2885 Lake Geneva J1

Passed

$750,000.00 RR – 2021 $750,000 rr consisting of ongoing operational expenses, technology, safety to maintain current educational programming?
2884 Lake Geneva-Genoa UHS

Passed

$6,000,000.00 Issue Debt $6,000,000 paying cost of renovations, capital maintenance and updates at the school facilities and site
2884 Lake Geneva-Genoa UHS

Passed

$750,000.00 RR – 2021 750000 for recurring purposes consisting of ongoing operational expenses, technology and safety upgrades and maintain current educational programming
2961 Lena

Passed

$4,250,000.00 NR – 2021 Operational
3213 Luck

Passed

$6,980,000.00 Issue Debt General Obligations Bonds
3290 Manitowoc

Passed

$12,900,000.00 NR – 2021 Manitowoc Public School District is seeking approval from its tax payers for a non-recurring referendum to increase the revenue limit an additional 4.3 million dollars each year for the 2021-22, 2022-23, and 2023-24 fiscal years.
3409 Medford Area

Failed

$39,900,000.00 Issue Debt Resolution Providing for a Referendum Election of the approval of an Initial resolution authorizing the issuance of general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $39,900,000
3682 Monroe

Passed

$5,600,000.00 Issue Debt School Facility Improvements at Northside Elementary School
3934 New Glarus

Passed

$28,900,000.00 Issue Debt Shall the School District of New Glarus, Green and Dane Counties, Wisconsin be authorized to issue pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $28,900,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of a school building and improvement project consisting of:  construction of a grade 4K-2 primary school; renovations, capital maintenance and building infrastructure improvements at the current Elementary School; renovations and a technical education/shop addition at the Middle School/High School; site improvements; and acquisition of furnishings, fixtures and equipment?
2177 Nicolet UHS

Passed

$23,400,000.00 NR – 2022 Resolution authorizing the Nicolet Unified High School District budget to exceed revenue limit by $3.9 million for six years for non-recurring purposes.
4067 Oconto

Passed

$13,000,000.00 Issue Debt Issuance of GO Bonds in an amount not to exceed $13,000,000
4067 Oconto

Passed

$4,000,000.00 NR – 2021 Exceed revenue cap by $800,000 for five years.
4074 Oconto Falls

Passed

$4,400,000.00 RR – 2021 Excess revenues to be used to maintain current programs and services and to fund building maintenance, competitive staff compensation, expanded course offerings and additional building security improvements.
4305 Peshtigo

Failed

$33,200,000.00 Issue Debt School building and facility improvement project at the Middle/High School.
4305 Peshtigo

Failed

$1,825,000.00 Issue Debt Construction of additional athletic fields and related facilities, site improvements and acquisition of related equipment.
4330 Phelps

Passed

$7,092,000.00 NR – 2021 Exceed revenue cap in the amount of 1,182,000.00 each year for 6 years.
4627 Randall J1

Passed

$2,700,000.00 NR – 2021 Authorization to exceed the revenue limit by $900,000 per year for the 2021-22 school year through the 2023-2024 school year.
4760 Reedsville

Failed

$11,500,000.00 Issue Debt
4851 Richland

Failed

$19,700,000.00 Issue Debt INITIAL RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $19,700,000
3850 Riverdale

Passed (Very close)

$7,910,000.00 NR – 2022 Resolution authorizing the school district budget to exceed revenue limit for nineteen years for non-recurring purposes.
2422 Saint Croix Central

Failed

$22,500,000.00 Issue Debt INITIAL RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING ISSUANCE OF GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS
IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $22,500,000
2422 Saint Croix Central

Failed

$4,850,000.00 RR – 2021 RESOLUTION TO EXCEED REVENUE CAP COMMENCING WITH THE 2021-22 SCHOOL YEAR
5026 Saint Francis

Passed

$3,200,000.00 NR – 2021 Non-Recurring referendum to exceed revenue limit by $800,000 per year for operational purposes 2021-2022 through 2024-2025
5026 Saint Francis

Passed

$30,600,000.00 Issue Debt Referendum to issue debt in the amount of $30,600,000 for District-wide facilities additions and improvements.
5138 Seymour Community

Passed

$6,550,000.00 Issue Debt Technology Education Addition and renovation as well as improvements to site at middle school and high school.
5467 Spencer

Failed

$975,000.00 NR – 2021 Resolution Authorizing the School District Budget to Exceed Revenue Limit by $975,000 for the 2021-2022 School Year for Non-Recurring Purposes
5754 Tomahawk

Failed

$13,000,000.00 NR – 2021 Beginning 2021-22 school year 3.25M per year non-recurring referendum ending 2024-2025.
5780 Trevor-Wilmot Consolidated

Failed

$3,000,000.00 NR – 2021 RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGET TO EXCEED REVENUE LIMIT FOR FIVE YEARS FOR NON-RECURRING PURPOSES
5992 Wabeno Area

Passed

$12,500,000.00 NR – 2022
6223 Wausau

Passed

$4,000,000.00 RR – 2021 To exceed the revenue limit by $4,000,000 beginning with the 2021-2022 school year, for recurring purposes consisting of expenses related to maintaining educational programs and staffing, providing full pupil services teams at each elementary school, and other safety, operational, and maintenance expenses?
6223 Wausau

Failed

$148,800,000.00 Issue Debt Issue debt in the amount of $148,800,000 for district-wide safety and security, school modernization, building infrastructure, capital maintenance and site improvements; remodeling at the elementary, middle and high schools; construction of additions at Horace Mann and John Muir Middle Schools, West High School and Grant, Lincoln, Hawthorn Hills, Maine, Rib Mountain, Riverview, South Mountain and Stettin Elementary Schools; construction of a new School Forest Environmental Center; and acquisition of furnishings, fixtures and equipment?
6354 Weston

Passed

$3,900,000.00 NR – 2021 Referendum to authorize the School District Budget to Exceed Revenue Limit by $975,000 for four years for Non-Recurring Purposes
6354 Weston

Passed

$1,900,000.00 Issue Debt Initial Resolution authorizing General Obligation Bonds in an amount not to exceed $1,900,000.
6678 Wisconsin Dells

Failed

$4,890,400.00 RR – 2021 To exceed the revenue limit for recurring purposes to maintain existing programs and services.
0469 Wisconsin Heights

Failed

$7,500,000.00 Issue Debt Add Auditorium to current MS/HS location
6685 Wisconsin Rapids

Passed

$10,000,000.00 NR – 2021 To exceed the revenue limit specified in Section 121.91, Wisconsin Statutes, by $2,000,000 per year for five years, beginning with the 2021-2022 school year and ending with the 2025-2026 school year, for non-recurring purposes consisting of technology and curriculum updates.
6685 Wisconsin Rapids

Passed

$34,000,000.00 Issue Debt To issue pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $34,000,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of a district-wide school building and facility improvement project consisting of:  construction of secure entrances at all schools; renovations to science classrooms, labs and other areas and construction of an addition for a new Library/Student Resource Center and main office at Lincoln High School; construction of an addition for a new gymnasium and renovations at Rudolph Elementary School (THINK Academy); capital maintenance and building infrastructure improvements; and acquisition of furnishings fixtures and equipment.

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

JFC Begins Budget Process – DPI Agency Briefing

By John Forester | April 6, 2021

From The Wheeler Report…

Media Availability By Co-Chairs Prior To Hearing

JFC Co-chairs Sen. Marklein and Rep. Born held a media availability prior to the start of the JFC hearing today to discuss their thoughts on the Department of Public Instruction and the Department of Workforce Development.

Marklein started the briefing with a discussion of Governor Evers’ 2021-23 budget proposal and how the budget as proposed would return the state to a deficit after eliminating the deficit over the past 10 -12 years. Marklein then went on to comment on how the federal funds coming into the state are impacting the state budget and the budgeting process. He said the state has received $12.4 billion not including the stimulus payments to individuals, the enhanced unemployment payments, and the enhanced FMAP payments. He was clear the federal funds will be taken into consideration as the budget committee moves forward.

Born began his comments with a discussion of the K-12 funding and the need for students to return to in-person classes. He also emphasized his commitment to providing choices for families in schooling options.  Born then turned to the Department of Workforce Development and what he called a ‘failure’ of DWD to provide unemployment benefits.

Both co-chairs reiterated the impact the federal funds will have on the budget, and the desire they have for the Governor to allocate the federal funds so they can begin to see what needs still need to be met after the federal funds are distributed.

Co-Chair Release.

Department of Public Instruction

The Department of Public Instructions was the first agency to testify to the Joint Finance Committee on the 2021-23 state budget. In her testimony, DPI State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor said the federal government has appropriated $2.4 billion to K-12 schools in Wisconsin through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds which are available to be used through September 30, 2024. She was clear in her statement, “The receipt of these funds does not change the recommendations I made last fall to address the ongoing needs of schools. While these federal dollars will help our education system recover from the effects of the pandemic, they are one-time funds.”

Stanford Taylor said the state needs to return to its commitment of two-thirds funding for education. She discussed that the commitment was originally made by then Governor Tommy Thompson who she said made the commitment to equalize the financial resources available to school districts while decreasing the dependence on property taxes.

Stanford Taylor went on to discuss things her administration had worked to address opportunity caps (directly from her testimony):

Stanford Taylor discussed the achievement gap saying, “There is no simple solution, but rather a number of strategies that must focus on supporting the whole child.” From there she quickly shifted to discussing the special needs education in Wisconsin.  She highlighted that the state currently reimburses only 28 cents of every dollar spent on special education, highlighting that the remaining funding requirements must be funded by the local school. The Governor’s budget proposed reimbursing costs at 45 percent in FY22 and 50 percent in the following year with sum sufficient appropriations. During questioning Stanford Taylor said special education funding was a top priority for schools across Wisconsin.

The need for mental health services was addressed during Stanford Taylor’s testimony when she said, “This is why I am asking for $28.5 million in first year of the budget and $30 million in the second year to expand state support for services beyond school social workers to include school psychologists, school counselors, and school nurses. In addition, other school professionals need to be trained to help address student mental health needs, which is why the DPI is also asking for $1 million over the biennium to expand training available to schools on bullying prevention, school violence prevention, and trauma-sensitive schools.”

When questioning by JFC members began it started with questions about DPI staff and who was working from home and who was working in the DPI office. It was asked when they planned to return DPI staff and Stanford Taylor said they will begin April 19.

Next came questions pertaining to in-person instruction of students, and Stanford Taylor was clear that those decisions are made at the local school level and not controlled by DPI.

Several questions came regarding school choice options in Wisconsin. Questions were asked about why the DPI budget request did not request changes to the school choice program, and the Governor’s budget proposed a “pause” to the choice program.

While most members recognized that the federal funds being distributed to schools were done through the Title I formula, meaning the state had no say over how the funds were sent to different districts, many members asked about equity for districts and how funding was being prepared for in future years as student enrollment was continuing to decline.

Stanford said in her tenure as State Superintendent DPI has put a focus on mental health services for schools and students, offering training and opportunities to help students rather than simply disciplining students.  She went on to say while Superintendent the agency has focused on reading.

When asked about the legalization of marijuana, Stanford Taylor said she has not had a discussion with the Governor on the issue.

As to questions pertaining to in-person attendance, some were asked about the decline in student attendance and what guidance Stanford Taylor was giving to schools to go out and find those students and bring them back to the classroom.  DPI and Stanford Taylor said it is an issue they are aware of and some of the federal funds are available for schools to use in addressing attendance issues going forward. While student attendance has been down during Covid, one DPI staff member said some of the decreased attendance appears to be due to declining enrollment, and that many 4-year-olds and 5-year-olds were not sent to kindergarten because of concerns by their parents. Stanford Taylor confirmed there are concerns about child abuse reporting going down because students are not in the classroom. Stanford Taylor said the child abuse issue is another reason behind her drive to ensure mental health training for teachers and staff as well as additional resources available for mental health demands in the schools.

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

Milwaukee Bucks, Brewers, Business Community Support Special Education Aid Increase

By John Forester | April 6, 2021

Check out this letter from numerous partners in the City of Milwaukee in support of increasing the current level of special education aid to reimburse 50 percent of aidable costs by the end of the 2021-23 biennium.  The letter includes as signatories representatives from the Milwaukee Bucks, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Milwaukee business community and Milwaukee civic organizations.  The letter was delivered to legislative leadership late last week.

Perhaps SAA members across the state could use this effort as a model with your local or area business community and civic organizations.

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

LFB Memo Details Federal Funds Distribution to Wisconsin School Districts

By John Forester | April 6, 2021

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) is out with a new memo that details the distribution of federal ESSER and GEER funds to all Wisconsin school districts under the three federal coronavirus relief acts passed to date.

See the memo here.

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

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