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,
Final reminder that the due date for the WiRSA Scholarships is the close of business on Thursday, February 15. Also, be sure to remind students of the second set of scholarships for students going into education. Check out the WiRSA website for the WiRSA scholarships.

WiRSA Office Closed
The WiRSA office will be closed February 10-14.

Bucky’s Tuition Promise Announcement
Chancellor Rebecca Blank made a major announcement that firmly demonstrates the UW-Madison’s commitment to access and affordability, particularly for Wisconsin residents. Bucky’s Tuition Promise (BTP) commits to providing some of our most financially vulnerable students and families with the opportunity to attend UW-Madison without concern of the cost of tuition and segregated fees. We feel that one of the best parts of this new initiative is that the clarity and simplicity of the criteria and commitment– if an incoming student’s household adjusted gross income (AGI) is less than or equal to $56K, we’ll ensure that tuition and segregated fees are paid with gift aid (i.e. scholarships and grants).

WiRSA has consulted with the UW team on removing barriers to access over the last two years. attached are some of the highlights of the program.

Legislative Update for the Week of February 12
Nothing scheduled at the time of this publication.

Feb. 8 – JFC approves AB 835 and SB 690 (Low Rev/Sparsity) 16-0 with amendment. The amendment would allow those districts with a failed referendum to present another one to voters. If successful, they would then qualify to receive the low revenue funding. Although not perfect, it gives those districts a chance that they didn’t have under the original language in the bill. Thank you to Rep. Mursau for spearheading this effort. See article.

Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding
The next meeting of the School Funding Commission TBA. A request was made at the Milwaukee hearing that the committee set the hearing calendar farther in advance so folks can plan and prepare to give testimony.

Testimony Tips for future hearings:
1) We strongly encourage Business Mangers, Bookkeepers and/or other key financial personnel to present as they work with this daily.
2) Key areas to build testimony around
a) School districts lack a predictable, sustainable funding mechanism which impacts programming for students and the ability to attract and retain quality educators in our districts.
b) School choice funding is impacting our property taxpayers and there is a lack of transparency of where their tax dollars are being allocated.
c) The ever-changing role of the traditional community public school and the responsibilities and expenses associated with the mandates imposed upon our districts. a) Unfunded Mandates: Although well meaning, new programs are often mandated by the state.
d) Informative links
Blue Ribbon Commission website
Blue Ribbon Commission members
Blue Ribbon Commission mission and directive
Legislative Fiscal Bureau school finance documents

From the DPI
Charter subgrant applications now available
Applications for the 2018-19 Wisconsin Charter Schools Program subgrant competition are now available.

The Wisconsin Charter Schools Program is also seeking peer reviewers for this competition. More information regarding the peer review process is also available here.

Application Deadline is 4:30 pm, March 9 2018.

Please feel free to contact Latoya if you have any questions regarding this information. Email: latoya.holiday@dpi.wi.gov

Hearing scheduled on educator licensing emergency rules
The Department of Public Instruction will conduct a hearing from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Feb. 15 to take public testimony on emergency rules related to PI 34, educator licensing. The hearing will be held at department headquarters, GEF 3, Room P41, 125 South Webster Street, Madison.

Additional information is available in the attached news item or on the Department of Public Instruction newsroom website. (Text here.)

Please direct comments or questions about this news item to Tom McCarthy, (608) 266-3559, or Thomas.McCarthy@dpi.wi.gov.

Proposed rules restore part-time open enrollment
he Department of Public Instruction will conduct a hearing from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Feb. 21 at department headquarters, GEF 3, Room P41, 125 South Webster Street, Madison, to take public testimony on proposed administrative rules to restore part-time open enrollment (PI 36).

Additional information is available in the attached news item or on the Department of Public Instruction newsroom website.

From the NREA
SRSA Grants Open Feb. 20th
The FY 2018 Small, Rural School Achievement (SRSA) grant application period is scheduled to open Tuesday, February 20, 2018, and close Friday, April 20, 2018, at 4:30 p.m.
Washington, D.C. time. The FY 2018 SRSA application will be available in Grants.gov once the application period opens on February 20.
The Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP) team sent this notification to local education agencies (LEAs) and state education agencies this morning.

We will send a follow-up email to LEAs next week with a link to the updated eligibility spreadsheet and details about pre-application actions that SRSA-eligible LEAs should take to be prepared to start their FY 2018 SRSA grant applications on February 20.
If you have questions regarding this notification, please send them to REAP@ed.gov.

Here is a link to the USDE site on SRSA eligibility. If you click on the eligibility spreadsheet it will tell you if you are eligible.

Director Events from Week of January 22
Feb. 5 – Ed Issues Conference Call
Feb. 5 – Jennifer Berkshire Interview
Feb. 5 – Dr. Bobbi Damrow – Mid-States Tech
Feb. 5 – Jesse Leib – Social Sentinel
Feb. 6 – Sen. Marklein (White Space Technology) – Rescheduled
Feb. 6 – Senate Education Committee
Feb. 7 – CESA 7
Feb. 8 – Ehlers Symposium and JFC Hearing

Director Events for the Upcoming Week
Feb. 10-14 – WiRSA office closed

Resources and Grant/Scholarship Reminders
WiRSA Scholarships
Clif Bar Family Foundation Grants
ESEA Information 
DPI Budget Summary
Licensure Webinar
NREA in Denver Colorado October 11-13
2018 WiRSA Conference, October 29-30, Glacier Canyon in Wisconsin Dells