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

The Community’s public school is the greatest discovery, and the cornerstone of our democratic society – Horace Mann

Good Morning,
Welcome back to a new school year. I hope all of you had a great summer and had time to enjoy your families. As the new school year begins, we need to continue to be diligent in providing quality education for our rural students. Have a great year.

JFC Update
What we know at this time is the Joint Finance Committee will be meeting today to discuss the education portion of the budget with the hope of a signed budget by the end of the week. How could this delay impact aid payments?

Based on a memo released by the DPI, the 2017-19 Biennial Budget must be signed into law by the dates indicated below in order to complete the specified calculations and payments:
August 31 – to enable the department to distribute Sparsity Aid payments to school districts on the same timeline as prior years (paid in September), otherwise payments will be delayed.

September 5 – to enable the department to incorporate the indexing of the per pupil payments for the 2017-18 school year in the statutorily-required September payments to independent charter schools and private schools participating in any of the state’s parental choice programs. Otherwise, changes in funding will be allocated across the other payments.

October 3 – to enable the Department to run the October 15th General Aid Certification, incorporating the aid deductions to all school districts related to the Independent Charter School Program, the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program, Racine Parental Choice Program, Special Needs Scholarship Program and the aid deduction to Milwaukee Public Schools for the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. Districts have the authority to essentially levy back for these deductions. Missing this deadline may result in insufficient state aid deductions, which will increase cost to the state general fund.

October 27 – to enable school districts to set levies, incorporating the revenue limit exemption for resident incoming choice pupils and pupils receiving a Special Needs Scholarship, based on an accurate per pupil payment amount for the 2017-18 school year. Failure to meet this deadline may result in districts under-levying the costs for choice and charter programs.

I will keep you posted as more information comes out.

Welcome New WiRSA Members: Lee Bush and the Mishicot School District and Associate Members: Miron Construction, On To College and UNESCO Corporation.

Legislative Update for the Week of August 28
August 28 – The Joint Committee on Finance will meet in Executive Session on the 2017-19 biennial budget at 1:30 p.m. The meeting will be held in Room 412 East, State Capitol. The Executive Session will be held on the budgets of the following agencies:
Building Commission and Building Program

Public Instruction
• General School Aids and Revenue Limits
• Categorical Aids
• Choice, Charter, and Open Enrollment
• School District Operations
• Administrative and Other Funding
School Levy Tax Credit
Lottery Fund

Income eligibility guidelines from DPI: See link for the guidelines applying to student eligibility for free and reduced price school meals offered through the National School Lunch or School Breakfast programs and milk offered through the Special Milk Program as well as to reimbursement for meals served in day care centers and family child care homes participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

From the NREA: Supporting CTE Program Quality in Rural Communities: Providing high quality Career Technical Education (CTE) programs in rural communities is an imperative for all states. Advance CTEs latest brief profiles strategies from states, including Nebraska, South Dakota and Idaho that are providing tools and supports to strengthen local program quality. Check out the report and learn how states can leverage labor market data, state and federal funding, and other supports to strengthen rural CTE programs.

AASA Webinar: Voices in Education: Pros and Cons of Public Education
Drawing from one of the most popular sessions during the 2017 summer leadership conference, we are hosting a webinar featuring Mike Petrilli (Fordham Institute) and Catherine Brown (Center for American Progress) to walk us through both sides of the meaningful conversations that will shape the path of policy in public education. The hour-long webinar will debunk some of the false narratives around public education and shed a light on the purposeful and substantive arguments for vouchers and privatization.

Rural School Awards (Deadline of Sept. 15th)
The WiRSA Rural Awards are a great way to recognize the great people you have in your district for the outstanding things that they do for your school district and rural education. Now is a great time to start thinking about nominees for the 2017 WiRSA Rural Awards. Deadline is Sept. 15th Click here for more information.

WiRSA Conference Oct. 30-31
2017 WIRSA Brochure, Rural Schools – The Heart and Soul of Wisconsin. We again have strong General Session speakers including Dr. Katherine Cramer and Leroy Butler, along with 32 different break-out sessions to appeal to administrators, board members and teachers. Please join us Oct. 30-31 at the Glacier Canyon Lodge in Wisconsin Dells.

WiRSA Election Nominations and Elector Update (Sept.15th Deadline)

The Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance (WiRSA) will be conducting an election for Board of Director seats that expire this December. Each region is represented on the Board by one administrator, one board of education member, one teacher and one CESA representative. The four regions listed below each have one seat up for election, with Regions 1 and 4 each having an additional seat:

Region 1 – CESAs 1, 5, 6, 7

  • Teacher. Incumbent Leah Luke is seeking re-election.
  •  Administrator. Reopened to fill the remainder of the term vacated by Richard Waski, due to a change in school district and region.

Region 2 – CESAs 2, 3, 4

  • CESA. Incumbent is not seeking re-election.

Region 3

  • CESAs 10, 11
  • District Administrator. Incumbent Bob Houts is seeking re-election.

Region 4 – CESAs 8, 9, 12

  • Board of Education. Incumbent is not seeking re-election.
  • Teacher. Still vacant and looking for nominations.

If you are interested in seeking election for the seat in your Region or would like to nominate someone, please complete the information below and return to me by September 15th:

  • Name of Nominee
  • Title
  • Region and position –


Each member school district is entitled to three votes in this election. In accordance with WiRSA Bylaws, certified electors include one administrator, one board of education member and one teacher. With this email, we are also beginning the process of gathering the names and emails of the certified electors for each member district. Please complete the information below and return via email by September 15th:

  • School District
  • Administrator Name and Email
  • Board of Education Name and Email- Teacher Name and Email –

Welcome UNESCO Corporation: UNESCO Corporation is a Program Management Firm that assists school districts with the revitalization, renovation, and new construction of educational facilities. Their services encompass: planning, architecture, engineering, construction, and energy efficiency. Contact UNESCO’s Wisconsin Education Consultant, Jim Connell, for more information about our services including our no-cost, comprehensive facilities assessment:

Director Events from Last Week
August 21, Meeting with UW System on Financial Aid Resource for Rural Schools
August 21, Ed Issues Call
August 22, Rural Collaborative Network Meeting
August 24, State Journal and WPR Interviews regarding State Budget
August 25, WPR Interview on Summer SAT
August 25, Ed Issues Call regarding State Budget

Director Events for the Upcoming Week
August 28, Meeting with Rep. Felzkowski on budget proposals-Whole Grade Sharing and Shared Services.
August 28, Ed Issues Call
August 28, JFC Hearing on State Budget
August 31, Meeting with Catherine Reiland from Wisconsin Idea
August 31, UW Grand Challenges Grant Review

Resources and Grant/Scholarship Reminders
WiRSA Scholarships
2017 WiRSA Rural Awards
2017 WiRSA Conference – Oct. 30-31 Glacier Canyon Lodge at the Wilderness in Wisconsin Dells
ESEA Information and more here.

Have A Great Week!