Good morning,

I hope you had an enjoyable Halloween with family and friends. This is a busy time for many of you with your first quarter of the school year coming to an end and parent teacher conference starting or coming up. The WiRSA Conference has come together nicely and I want to thank Ronnie for her work on the brochures, programs and signage for the conference. I want to thank Michele for her assistance with registration, Jerry for his help and knowledge and the Board for their help on various activities.

Welcome to the following new members: Wauzeka-Steuben School District, Think Through Learning Inc. and CESA 2.

Events from this Past Week:

  • Monday, Oct. 26 — I took part in the weekly Educational Issues Teleconference. We spent a lot of time discussing LRB 2893 referendums. This bill doesn’t seem to be gaining much traction, but I continue to monitor. We also talked about the Student Opt Out Bill that is being proposed, basically there will be no penalties for opting out of the State and Federal mandated testing (my initial reaction is to oppose this bill because it seems to be another tool for charter and voucher schools to manipulate the system). Finally, we had an update on Rep. Sanfelippo’s bill to appoint the State Superintendent. This bill does not seem to have much support and we are hearing that the only way a hearing will happen on this bill is if it’s done as a joint hearing.
  • Thursday, Oct. 29 — I participated in a webinar with Global Teletherapy. Global is an online speech and language service provider. This may be a great service for members to look into considering the shortage of speech and language providers. More information to follow.

I sent invitations to all rural legislators to join us at our conference.

Events for the Upcoming Week:

  • Monday, Nov. 2 — Weekly Educational Issues conference call.
  • Thursday, Nov. 5 — Traveling to UW Oshkosh to meet with Margaret Brill regarding the redesigning and upgrading of the WiRSA website.

The majority of the week will be spent wrapping up the final details for the conference.

5 Share — If all continues to go well , in the next week or so prior to the conference, you will be receiving an email from Forecast 5 regarding 5 Share. 5 Share can be used as a collaboration tool and we will be posting all of the conference handouts on 5 Share.

Voucher Talking Points:

Enrollment in Wisconsin’s statewide private school voucher program has more than doubled since enrollment caps were lifted.

The state Department of Public Instruction on Tuesday reported that 2,514 students were enrolled in a voucher school for the current year. That is up from 1,008 students last year when the cap was in place.

Of the new students, 75% attended a private school the previous year before taking the taxpayer-funding subsidy to continue their private school education. Only 19% of new voucher school enrollees came from a public school.

The vouchers are worth $7,214 a year to students through grade eight and $7,860 for high school students.

The total cost for the statewide program this school year was $18.3 million

WiRSA Annual Meeting will be held on Nov. 12 at the Holiday Inn in Stevens Point immediately following the WiRSA Conference.

Veterans Day Recognition: With the first day of the conference falling on Veterans Day, we will be paying honor to our veterans either at the start of the conference or prior to lunch.


Reminders:

  • Information for the 2015 WiRSA Conference registration can be found here.
  • Nov. 1 is the deadline to receive special lodging rates for the conference.
  • WiRSA Annual Meeting will be held on Nov. 12 at the Holiday Inn in Stevens Point immediately following the conference.