WPF: Fewer Education Grads Pose Threat to Teacher Workforce

By John Forester | August 11, 2021

In its most recent FOCUS publication, the Wisconsin Policy Forum reports, “The number and share of college graduates earning degrees in education is declining in southeast Wisconsin, which is a concerning trend for area schools and the regional and statewide economy.” While the report focuses on southeast Wisconsin, it speaks to the broader education workforce challenges faced by district leaders statewide as well.  Check it out here.

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

WPF Report on 2020-21 School Enrollment Disruptions

By John Forester | August 6, 2021

The Wisconsin Policy Forum (WPF) has released a report on 2020-21 school enrollment and the implications of the pandemic enrollment disruptions for Wisconsin school districts moving forward.  Check it out here.

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

Education Committees to Take Up Bills Banning the Teaching of Race or Sex Stereotypes

By John Forester | August 5, 2021

From WisPolitics.com …

The Legislature’s education committees have scheduled a joint hearing next week to take testimony on bills Republican sponsors say would ban critical race theory in K-12 schools by prohibiting the teaching of race or sex stereotypes.

Critical race theory is often defined as a concept that institutions in the United States are inherently racist as they function and therefore maintain racial inequalities.

Along with banning teaching race or sex stereotyping, the legislation would prohibit instruction or training that one race or sex is inherently superior to another or that an individual bears responsibility for acts committed in the past by others of the same race or sex.

The committees also plan to take testimony Wednesday on legislation that would require school boards to post online information on learning materials used in pupil instruction.

See the hearing notices:

Senate Committee on Education

Assembly Committee on Education


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

DPI 2021-23 Biennial Budget Summary

By John Forester | August 3, 2021

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has released its Summary of 2021 Wisconsin Act 58 (the 2021-23 Biennial Budget).  This document summarizes action on the state budget for K-12 school funding, public libraries and lifelong learning, and the Department’s operations.  Check it out here.

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

Guv Calls Special Session to Spend $550 Million on Education

By John Forester | July 26, 2021

From WisPolitics.com …

Assembly Republicans will try to override Gov. Tony Evers’ veto of legislation seeking to cut off enhanced federal unemployment benefits when the chamber convenes tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Evers wants lawmakers to approve $550 million for K-12 and higher ed while they’re in the Capitol, calling a special session tomorrow to coincide with the veto override attempt.

Assembly Org this afternoon circulated a ballot adding AB 336 to the extraordinary session used last month to take up the budget and several other bills.

The enhanced benefits of $300 a week are set to expire in early September. The Legislature isn’t scheduled to be in regular session again until Sept. 28.

As word spread on Friday that the Assembly planned to come in, speculation immediately turned to the enhanced unemployment benefits bill. Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, tweeted on Friday that Assembly Dems would uphold the veto.

Evers today signed an executive order calling on lawmakers to meet and take up a bill to increase education funding.

While the guv can call the special session, he can’t force lawmakers to act.

In a video announcing the special session, Evers said he was glad lawmakers aren’t “taking this summer off,” a dig over the Legislature not returning in 2020 after passing a bipartisan COVID-19 bill in April. He then accused Republicans of trying to play politics by seeking to override his vetoes.

“If Republicans have time to come into session just to try and override my vetoes, then they sure as heck have time to come into session and to do what’s best for our kids,” Evers said. “So If they’re going to come to Madison, then they have work to do.”

The offices of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, didn’t immediately return requests for comment.

Evers’ call was accompanied by these proposals:

*$240 million for increasing per-pupil aid by $146 per student;
*$200 million for special education aids;
*$90 million for the UW System;
*$20 million for the Wisconsin Technical College System.

The overall price tag of $550 million matches the transfer to the rainy day fund that GOP lawmakers had proposed in the budget. Evers vetoed that.

GOP lawmakers originally put $128 million in state taxpayer dollars into K-12 education with $89.3 million in GPR for special education, including money for special education, and $22.3 million for the UW System, the Wisconsin Technical College System and the Higher Educational Aids Board.

After the Legislative Fiscal Bureau upped revenue projections by $4.4 billion, the Joint Finance Committee approved another $408 million into general school aids and $72 million into funding technical colleges. That money was added to drive down property taxes.

Watch the guv’s video here.

See Evers’ release here.

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

LFB Analysis of Governor’s High Cost Transportation Partial Veto

By John Forester | July 14, 2021

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has produced a memo detailing the impact of the High Cost Transportation Aid Program Modification Under Enrolled AB 68 and Under 2021 Act 58.

Governor Evers used an item veto to delete the eligibility criterion limiting eligibility to districts with a membership of less than 3,500 pupils and restore the prior law eligibility criterion under which a district would not qualify for aid if its pupil population density was greater than 50 pupils per square mile. Based on the 2020-21 distribution of aid, this change would have resulted in two districts with a membership of greater than 3,500 pupils gaining eligibility (Kettle Moraine and Hortonville) and four districts losing eligibility as a result of the restoration of the population density criterion (Maple Dale-Indian Hill, Glendale-River Hills, Fox Point J2, and Nicolet UHS).

The memo shows the distribution of aid in 2020-21 under current law, as well as estimates of the aid distribution under the bill as passed by the Legislature and under 2021 Act 58.

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

Evers Suggests $100 Million Will Be Distributed On Per Pupil Basis

By John Forester | July 14, 2021

Comments from the Evers administration, detailed in a Wisconsin State Journal article from this morning, suggest that the $100 million in additional federal funds for K-12 education that the Governor announced last week during the state budget signing will be distributed on a per pupil basis.  Check it out here.  We will forward additional information on this issue as we receive it.

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

Evers Signs State Budget

By John Forester | July 8, 2021

From WisPolitics.com …

Gov. Tony Evers OK’d a more than $2 billion income tax cut that reduces one of Wisconsin’s three brackets as he largely signed off on the budget that Republicans sent him last week.

But he nixed a provision to update income tax withholding tables and a $550 million transfer to the budget stabilization fund that Republicans had proposed.

In his veto message, Evers wrote taxpayers will already see significant savings in the budget he signed and nixing the update in withholding tables will not impact anyone’s tax liability. Rather than seeing additional money in their paychecks, taxpayers will instead continue to see the money in their refunds from the state.

He also wrote the budget stabilization fund was already flush with cash and the $550 million, which will now remain in the general fund, could be used to “address gaps and shortfalls in the Legislature’s budget actions.

In all, Evers’ veto message listed 50 changes he made to the budget.

During a signing ceremony at a Whitefish Bay school, the guv also announced he’s investing more than $100 million in federal funds into K-12 education.

Read the veto message here.

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

Second School Funding Benchmark Could Jeopardize CIVID-19 Relief Funding

By John Forester | July 8, 2021

From WisPolitics.com …

Some new guidance from the U.S. Education Department added a wrinkle in the debate over education funding ahead of Evers’ final deliberations on the budget.

The budget GOP lawmakers produced met one benchmark to qualify Wisconsin for $2.3 billion in federal aid. But citing the new guidance from the Biden administration, Department of Public Instruction officials said it was unclear if the budget would hit a second benchmark that requires states to maintain aid to high-poverty districts.

Complicating matters, it won’t be clear until this spring whether the state meets the second mark. If it falls short, the state could need to pump additional general purpose revenue into K-12 schools to shore up its qualifications for the federal money.

As the Joint Finance Committee deliberated the budget, Evers had knocked the original proposed investment in K-12, in part, because it failed to meet a maintenance of effort requirement in the last two COVID-19 packages to qualify for $2.3 billion in federal aid for K-12. That benchmark required states to maintain how much they put toward K-12 and higher ed as a share of their overall spending. The GOP budget later met that mark after the committee used some of the $4.4 billion in unanticipated revenue growth to put more money into K-12 and tech colleges.

The American Rescue Plan Act that President Biden signed also included a second benchmark requiring states to maintain their support for high-poverty districts. It was noted in a March LFB memo. But the requirement began receiving new attention late last month after the U.S. Department of Education provided additional guidance.

The agency wrote the “maintenance of equity” provisions were designed to ensure schools that serve large proportions of historically underserved groups — including students of color, those from low-income backgrounds and with disabilities — receive an “equitable share” of state and local funds. What’s more, the effort is designed to make sure those schools that serve the highest poverty districts don’t see a decrease in state funding below what they received in 2018-19.

DPI’s Tom McCarthy said the agency, now being led by new Superintendent Jill Underly, is still working through a host of calculations that will go into determining whether the state meets that requirement.

For example, the provision includes a formula that takes into account a community’s poverty based on Census data and district enrollment to determine which districts will be used to determine if the state meets the benchmark. DPI is still working on that calculation.

The benchmark for the highest poverty districts will take into account both general school aids and categorical aids.

DPI last week released its first estimate of what districts will receive through general school aids, and four of the state’s 20 poorest districts are projected to receive less for the 2021-22 school year than they did in 2018-19.

But those numbers won’t be finalized until October.

Meanwhile, categorical aids are paid out in the fall and spring. That means the state can’t determine whether it met the benchmark for the high-poverty districts until spring.

It also remains unclear what the federal government would do if it determined the state failed to meet the maintenance of equity benchmark. The money distributed through the COVID bills is a reimbursement program in which districts spend money on qualified expenses and then receive payment from the federal government to cover the outlay.

During debate on the maintenance of effort requirement, Joint Finance Co-chairs Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, and Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, questioned whether the federal government would try to recoup money from school districts if the state fell short of maintenance of effort benchmarks.

Asked about the latest fed guidance, the GOP lawmakers issued a joint statement accusing DPI and Evers of playing politics. They cited DPI’s failure to submit to the feds for final approval a plan to divvy up some of the federal money among districts that Evers signed off on in mid-June “in hopes that the Biden administration will help him move the goalposts once again.”

A DPI spokesman said the agency was waiting until the state budget was finalized to submit the plan and expected to submit it by mid-August.

“It’s sad that Governor Evers is playing politics with this K-12 funding plan,” Born and Marklein said.

See the U.S. Department of Education guidance here.

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

Evers to Act on State Budget This Morning

By John Forester | July 8, 2021

From WisPolitics.com …

Gov. Tony Evers will take action on the budget today during a morning news conference at a Whitefish Bay elementary school, his office said.

Evers will be joined by Revenue Secretary Peter Barca and new state schools Superintendent Jill Underly.

The guv also will travel to an Eau Claire hospital and UW-Green Bay today for additional news conferences.

A livestream of the 10 a.m. news conference in Whitefish Bay will be available on Evers’ Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/GovernorTonyEvers


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

« Previous Entries Next Entries »