The Community’s public school is the greatest discovery, and the cornerstone of our democratic society – Horace Mann
It was a busy couple of days of last-minute negotiating, but as of Friday the Senate passed the budget bill. Based on the information that has come out of the Capital no changes were made, but the Governor has agreed to use his power of veto on some items to get the needed votes in the Senate. Two of the items mentioned in a statement will impact public education; referendum dates and energy efficiency exemption. Read more under the Legislative Update.
• Please be sure to take a few minutes and complete the membership survey that went out on Friday, September 8 with a deadline of September 22. The feedback you provide will be very helpful to WiRSA moving forward.
• The deadline for the room block for this year’s conference is September 29th.
Welcome New Members – Luck School District, Fort Atkinson School District and Prairie du Chien School District to WiRSA. We look forward to working with you.
WiRSA Conference Oct. 30-31, ‘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 at the Glacier Canyon Lodge in Wisconsin Dells. Please note the room block deadline is September 29th.
Legislative Update for the Week of Sept. 18
Budget Bill – On Friday the budget bill passed the Senate and is now on the way to the Governor’s desk for his signature. As stated in my opening it appears a deal was struck to use the Governor’s veto power on some items to gain the votes needed to pass the bill in the Senate. The two main items of concern are when schools can hold referendums and the use of the energy efficiency exemption. On referendums, it appears the Governor may be vetoing the odd year date for referendums leaving it at just general elections dates. On energy efficiency exemption, it appears the Governor may be vetoing the one-year moratorium language which could cut the program as he had originally wanted in his budget proposal. Here are a couple of excerpts from news articles regarding the negotiations.
According to a memo released after the vote, Walker has promised to do the following: veto a provision expanding the power of the state’s Public Financing Authority, tighten restrictions on when school districts can hold referendums, remove the energy efficiency exemption to school districts’ revenue limits, allow the state Department of Transportation to enact a policy that would “swap” a portion of federal funds with state dollars for some roads projects, make a full repeal of the state’s prevailing wage law effective immediately and remove proposed changes to the Transportation Projects Commission. See full article from Capital Times.
Another veto would limit school districts to holding referendum votes on regularly scheduled primary and general election days. The budget would have also allowed them in November of odd-numbered years.
Other vetoes would do away with expanding the powers of the Public Financing Authority, remove an energy-efficiency exemption to the school-district revenue limit and allow the Transportation Department to enact a policy related to how it spends certain federal money. See full article from the Daily Reporter.
I will keep you posted as more comes out.
Sept. 19 – Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety Executive Session- Senate Bill 169 Relating to: going armed with a firearm and electric weapons, licenses for carrying a concealed weapon, trespassing while armed with a firearm, and providing criminal penalties. WiRSA registered in opposition to this Bill.
Sept. 21 – Assembly Education Committee Executive Session –
Assembly Bill 477 Relating to: supplemental aid for school districts with a large area. WiRSA registered in support of this Bill.
Assembly Bill 488 Relating to: access to pupil assessments that are required to be administered by school boards, operators of independent charter schools, and private schools participating in a parental choice program and repealing rules related to accessing pupil assessments. WiRSA took no stance on this Bill.
Assembly Bill 329 Relating to: prohibiting aiding and abetting sexual abuse. WiRSA supports this Bill.
Assembly Bill 423 Relating to: an initial teaching license based on completion of a Montessori teacher education program. WiRSA took no stance on this Bill.
Assembly Bill 382 Relating to: screening school district employees for tuberculosis. WiRSA took no stance on this Bill.
From the NREA
Weatherman, Cow Herder, and Teacher: The Complementary and Competing Roles of the Rural Multi-District Superintendent presented by Erin McHenry-Sorber, PhD West Virginia University and Daniella Hall, PhD Clemson University
This research webinar will address some of the critical challenges faced by states to work efficiently with their rural schools and districts. It will also provide an in-depth examination of the strengths and challenges involved in one approach to addressing these challenges: the formation of a multi-district union, in which the state combines individual school districts and their respective school boards into a regional union overseen by a superintendent and a composite, central school board. Please join us on: October 2, 2017 12 PM – 1 PM EST. To register RSVP here.
Directors Events from Last Week
Sept. 11, Ed Issues Call
Sept. 13, CESA 3 PAC
Sept. 14, Senate Education Committee
Directors Events for the Upcoming Week
Sept. 18, Ed Issues Call
Sept. 19, Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety
Sept. 21, Assembly Education Committee and State Supt. State of Education
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!