Thank you to our Sponsors: CESA 10 Facilities Management Services, CESA Foundation, Ehlers, Forecast5, Jostens, M3 Insurance, National Insurance Services, Nexus Solutions, PMA, Siemens, UW Colleges Online, UW-Oshkosh, WEA Members Benefits, Wisconsin Digital Learning Collaborative and Wisconsin Farmers Union

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

Good Morning,
Congratulations to all fall athletes on a great season in their respective programs. WiRSA would also like to wish all teams advancing on to WIAA Tournament play the best of luck.

Last week I had the honor of representing our great state, along with Ken Kasinski, our Board President, at the NREA/Battelle for Kids National Conference in Columbus, Ohio. We had the opportunity to attend many excellent sessions and heard some great keynote speakers. One of the speakers was Mara Casey Tieken author of “Why Rural Schools Matter.” Her book along with Dr. Cramer’s book the “The Politics of Resentment” are highly recommended reads for all of us working in the rural areas. One of my takeaways from the conference was that Wisconsin is still a leader in rural education and far ahead of many of our counterparts around the nation. Keep up the great work.

For those interested in attending the national conference in the future it will be held October11-13 next year in Denver, Colorado.


  • 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. The room block has been released but rooms are still available until sold out at the conference rate.  WiRSA Conference Brochure
  •  1st Annual WiRSA Conference Auction – We are excited about our new initiative! We will be holding an auction during the Monday night reception at the WiRSA Conference. All proceeds will fund new scholarships for students who plan to major in Education. We feel this is a great way to encourage young people to enter the field of education and to help build our teaching ranks.

WiRSA Conference Rural Research
UW graduate student Katie McCabe and her colleague are interested in doing research in rural schools. (Katie has done some previous work for WiRSA.) They are currently in a class which focuses on qualitative research methods. For some of their assignments they are required to set up opportunities in which they can practice qualitative data collection in an area of interest. Their overarching question is: How do rural school districts make decisions to distribute resources to support students in an equitable manner?

They are both attending the WiRSA Conference this year and thought that it would be a good time to meet interested administrators. If you are interested in working with them, they would love to hear from you. They will be doing a focus-group format on Sunday evening, October 29th from 5:30 until the Welcome Reception at 6:30. They are looking for 5-6 districts to work with. If you are interested in being part of this discussion, please email me at

Request from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Please review this request from Patrick Thomas from the MJS. Patrick is working with Erin Richards on an extensive story involving transient students in our schools. Patrick and Erin have both done positive articles on education and have reached out to our organization for input. If you would like to contribute, please read Patrick’s request and respond to him at the email address he has provided.

My name is Patrick and I am working on an extensive project for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel regarding the issue of rural student homelessness, student mobility in rural areas and what’s going on to address it.

This is part of a much larger project from the Journal focusing on student transience, but most of that will highlight urban areas. I am specifically focusing on student homelessness in rural areas, with a goal of giving rural schools a voice in this.

If rural student homelessness is a problem or something you handle on a regular basis in your district, please contact Patrick Thomas at I’d love to hear your district’s story.

Legislative Update for the Week of October 16
Oct. 17 – Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges will hold an Executive Hearing on AB 266 relating to changes in the eligibility for the Technical College Higher Education Scholarship and SB 407 relating to transfer policies for college credit earned by high school pupils

Sparsity Aid Bill Introduced
Governor Walker has announced his support of a sparsity aid bill being co-authored by Sen. Marklein and Rep. Mursau. I urge you to contact your local legislators and encourage them to support this bill. This was something WiRSA had originally requested in our budget talks and was in the Governors original budget proposal.

Senator Howard Marklein (R – Spring Green) and Representative Jeff Mursau (R – Crivitz) introduced legislation that increases Sparsity Aid in the second year of the biennium. The Sparsity Aid Program aims to offset the challenges faced by low-population school districts through providing $300 in per-pupil funding for districts with 745 students or less and a population density of less than 10 students per square mile.

The new bill provides an increase from $300 per pupil to $400 per pupil for districts that currently qualify for Sparsity Aid, and creates a second tier of Sparsity Aid by providing $100 per pupil for districts with 746-1000 pupils.

See entire press release.

School Districts Receive Notice of Certified General Aid
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has provided the certified amount each public school district will receive from the $4.584 billion appropriated for general state aid for the 2017-18 school year. This is the same amount of general state aid as the prior year’s budget appropriation. Overall, 55 percent of the state’s public school districts (230 of 422) will receive less general state aid this school year than they did in 2016 17.

Additional information is available on the Department of Public Instruction News Room website. (Text) Lists of aid payments can be found online:  Alpha by district  and by Percent Change.

DPI Budget Summary
Here is the link to the summary that was released late last week. I am available to answer needed questions.

Licensing Changes Webinar
AWSA would like to invite you to join our webinar on the significant changes to educator licensure included in the State Budget. The webinar will take place at 9 AM on Thursday, October 26.

You will be able to access the webinar by registering at this link.

Director Events from Last Week
Oct. 9, Ed Issues conference call
Oct. 11, Rural Collaborative Network Meeting – Columbus Ohio
Oct. 11 – 14, NREA National Convention – Columbus Ohio

Director Events for the Upcoming Week
Oct. 16, Conference call with Health Tide
Oct. 16, Ed Issues conference call
Oct. 19, Schools Team Meeting

Resources and Grant/Scholarship Reminders

 Have A Great Week!