Thank you to our Sponsors: UW-Oshkosh, National Insurance Services, Culver’s VIP Foundation, Farmers Union, CESA Foundation, Forecast5, PMA, Meemic, Ehlers, Jostens and WEA Members Benefits.

Good Morning,

Thank you to those that have reached out to your legislators and committee members on AB 751 regarding the last-minute amendments being pushed by Assembly Speaker Voss without a public hearing. Thanks to your responses, we were able to stave off a hearing last Thursday, but we must keep the pressure on as it appears they are going take another run at it this coming Wednesday. Talking Points –It is important that we all remember that even if you presently don’t have any voucher students, this bill won’t have an immediate impact, but with the continued statewide expansion of vouchers, it could eventually impact you down the road. The other piece to remember is with the continued growth of the statewide program, all schools will be impacted in the amount of aid you will receive.  Remember, with the continued expansion, everyone’s piece of the fiscal pie will become smaller. One last point to drive home is the message that important amendments like this need to be part of a public hearing, not slipped into an executive meeting for a vote at the last minute. 

 Please keep the pressure on with AB 314/SB 228 regarding the 28 ACT requirement for the Academic Excellence Scholarship. I made some headway in the Assembly to get this modified, but it is important for you to also voice your concerns.  Finally, keep pressure on with the referendum bill AB 481/SB 355. We need to keep reminding our legislators of the impact this will have on rural schools.

WiRSA Facebook – I am asking for your help in making our Facebook Page more relevant. Please share exciting events and programs that are occurring in your schools. I will then post them on our Facebook page, to better share and promote the great things that are happening in rural schools.

WiRSA Product Fair Survey – This Fair would give you an opportunity to see some potential products that may be helpful to your district at one site. Please complete the survey by Friday, Feb. 12. The Survey can be found at the following link.  Your feedback will be very helpful in our planning process.
Scholarship Deadline Reminder: Please be sure to remind your Guidance Counselors that the Feb. 15th deadline is fast approaching for WiRSA Scholarship applications.
Rural Trust’s Global Teacher Fellowship: (Deadline Feb. 12, 2016) Up to 25 fellowships will be awarded in 2016 to support the professional and personal development of rural teachers. Eligibility: Any K–12 educator working full-time and teaching at least 60% time in a rural community can apply for the fellowship. Each applicant must have 4 years teaching experience by the fellowship start date.

Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, helps farmers positively impact their communities by supporting local school districts. The program gives farmers the opportunity to nominate a rural public school district in their community to compete for merit-based grants. Farmer nominations for the 2016 program will be accepted from January 1 to April 1, 2016. Please visit.

Morgridge Discovery Summer Science Camps: The Morgridge Institute for Research is excited to announce the ninth annual Summer Science Camp for students and teachers from rural Wisconsin high schools. There will be two offerings for the Summer Science Camp in the Discovery Building, located on UW Madison’s campus, on July 11-14 and July 25-28, 2016. One teacher will select and accompany five students for the camp, and each camp will host five schools. There is no cost to participants. Teachers are responsible for facilitating transport to and from Madison as well as accompanying the students in the dorms and through the activities during the four-day camp. Teachers who would like to participate in the camp and bring students are invited to complete the following sign up hereThe deadline for sign-up is Monday, March 2, 2016.

Events from this Past Week:

  • February 1: Educational Issues Weekly Conference call
  • February 2: Senate Committee on Education Executive and Public Hearing on SB 642 Career and Workforce Pilot
  • February 3: REL Midwest Rural Research Alliance Conference Call
  • February 4: Rural Wisconsin Initiative Hearing – WiRSA Registered in support of these bills.

AB 793 Rural Teacher Loan Program

AB 794 Rural Student Loan Reimb

AB 795 Youth Apprenticeship Grants

AB 796 Apprenticeship Comp. Award

AB 798 Broadband Expansion Grant

AB 799 Rural STEM Grants

 Events for the Upcoming Week:

  • February 8: Educational Issues Weekly Conference call
  • February 10: Rural Wisconsin Initiative Hearing Executive Session on AB 793,794,795,796,798 and 799 (See links above)
  • February 10 : Possible Hearing by Assembly Education Hearing on AB 751 and amendments 
  • February 10: UW Systems Strategic Planning Ed. Experts Group Meeting
  • February 11: AWSA Convention Booth

Have a great week.