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

Good Morning,
I hope everyone had an enjoyable Easter with your families. In this edition, be sure to check the State Treasurer information, the Blue-Ribbon Commission updates and the IES report on school safety.

WiRSA Rural Awards
WiRSA is now taking applications for the 2018 WiRSA Rural Awards. The WiRSA Rural Awards are a way to recognize the great people you have in your district and community for the outstanding things that they do for your school and rural education. The deadline for nominations is September 14. Click here for more information.

WiRSA Board Meeting – April 4

Legislative Update for the Week of April 2
Both Houses are out of session.

Governor signs School Safety Bill
Governor Walker signed the $100 million school safety legislation March 26th in Kaukauna. article

State Treasurer Question on Tomorrow’s Ballot
When voting tomorrow take time to look closely at this question regarding the elimination of the State Treasurer’s position. There are a lot of questions around this move and how it may impact schools. The position of the Treasurer was part of the original Wisconsin Constitution in 1848 and part of the governmental checks and balance process. The State Treasurer is on the Board of Commissioners of Public Land which manages school trust lands; the Treasurer also oversees the Common School Fund and the University Fund. In many districts, the Common School Fund is the only funding for school libraries/media centers. If the Treasurer is removed, there are many unanswered questions as to how this money will be handled. Below are two op-ed articles I encourage you to read before making your decision; the first is for eliminating the position and the second is for keeping the position.

Eliminate the Treasurer position and Retain the Treasurer position.

Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding Dates Announced
The next meeting of the School Funding Commission will be held on April 9 in Fennimore at the Fred Lenz Center at Southwest Technical College, 1800 Bronson Blvd, Fennimore from 2:00 – 6:00.

The Blue-Ribbon Commission will hear testimony from invited speakers, Local Districts and CESA 3, followed by Public Comment.

Future meetings are scheduled for the following communities from 2:00-6:00; locations still to be determined. I encourage all of you to attend the Blue-Ribbon Commission meeting nearest you and share your thoughts on funding with the Commission. If they don’t hear from us, they assume everything is okay.
• Monday, April 23- Oshkosh
• Monday, May 7- Tomahawk
• Monday, May 21- Turtle Lake
• Monday, June 4- Madison

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) Removal of enrollment from the Sparsity Aid Formula (some legislators have expressed interest in doing this)
c) School choice funding is impacting our property taxpayers and there is a lack of transparency of where their tax dollars are being allocated.
d) Funding for school mental health.
e) Increase to Special Education categorical appropriation.
f) The ever-changing role of the traditional community public school and the responsibilities and expenses associated with the mandates imposed upon our districts.
g) Unfunded Mandates: Although well meaning, new programs are often mandated by the state.
Informative links
Blue Ribbon Commission website
Blue Ribbon Commission members
Blue Ribbon Commission mission and directive
Legislative Fiscal Bureau school finance documents

Congratulations to Member School Kohl Recipients
Excellence Scholars – Sean Haratine(Milton), Scottee Hoff (Brodhead), Hailey Krammerer (Juda), Cora Purdue (Brodhead), Morgan Tresemer (Brodhead), Sydney Sherry (Westby), Lamyra Adams (Sevastopol), Lydia Arnoldson (Stockbridge), Megan Waage (Elkhart Lake), Grace Latzig (Tomahawk), Jessica Slowik (Elcho), Vanessa Loe (Ladysmith), Samuel Butler, Alaina Driscoll, Katherine Herrick, Grace Klien, Addie McCurdy (Saint Croix Falls), Kevin Garland (Maple)
Teacher Fellows – Candice Sayre (Fort Atkinson), Leif Carlson (Richland Center), Kris McCoy (Mineral Point), Rebecca Molledahl (North Crawford), Gina Rollins (Cuba City), Elizabeth Gulden (Baraboo), Jan Imhoff (Portage), James Taylor (Montello), Ben Grignon (Menominee Indian), Tracy Tate (Oconto Falls), Joan Tabor (Merrill), Shari Wendland (Rhinelander), Michael Werdeo (Antigo), Katie Hatlestad (Owen-Withee), Michael Wilson (Saint Croix Falls), Danielle Kruger (Chequamegon), Sandra Dee Naas (Ashland), Susan Thurn (Drummond)
Principal Leaders – Laura Eicher (New Glarus), Nicki Pope (Tomah), John Blosenski (Baraboo)

Initiative Scholars – Jeffery Cobb (Black Hawk), Kylea Kaye (Richland Center), Ireln King (Mineral Point), Bailey Kreul (Fennimore), Kya Fish (LaFarge), Caleb Jensen (Tomah), Jerrod Foust (Necedah), Danielle Griffey (Portage), Haley Olson (Adams Friendship), Abigail Vazquez Perez (Almond-Bancroft), Kasey Wandling (Mayville), Greg Evans, Samantha George (Denmark), Raymond Shaw (Algoma), Mckenzy Mischo (Wabeno), Ally Niven (Pembine), Dawson Bryant (Three Lakes), Taylor Madl (Northland Pines), Selena Mertins (Edgar), Hannah Hinker (Greenwood), Thomas Romans (Neillsville), Bryce Aherns (Chetek-Weyhauser), Jaden Flores (Elk Mound), Adam Jenkinson (Turtle Lake), Abby Bloomer (Chequamegon), Hailee Cadotte (Ashland)

From the NREA
NREA kicks off our Rural Blog Series called Rural Focus
Articles for NREA Rural Blog Series should be approximately 500 words (or less) and contain news or commentary relevant to NREA or rural current events. Advertising-related posts are not permitted. The content must not infringe on any copyright agreements or laws. Photos or other images are encouraged if they also comply with copyright law. To submit your blog

Were Teacher Evaluation Reforms a Net Positive or Net Negative? By Matthew A. Kraft article

Cumulative effect Individual district budgets don’t fully reflect vouchers’ drain by Phil Downs article

Call for Proposals for the NREA Convention and Research Symposium:
The convention will be held OCTOBER 11–13, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. If you have a great rural program to share with others I encourage you to submit a proposal.
ONLINE PROPOSAL SUBMISSION Due by April 13, 2018. Submit your proposal here.

From IES
New Report on Crime and Safety in Schools and College Campuses – report

Director Events from Last Week
Mar. 22-30 – Office Closed

Director Events for the Upcoming Week
April 2 – Ed Issues Weekly Call
April 3 – CESA 3
April 4 – WiRSA Board Meeting
April 5 – Connecting America

AWSA Webinar on Licensing Changes
AWSA invites you to join our second webinar this year on significant changes to educator licensure in Wisconsin. The webinar will take place at 1:00 pm on Thursday, April 26.

With lifetime licensing coming into effect, there continue to be many questions from members and their staff about the status of the license they currently hold, as well as the lifetime status of other licenses they might hold (e.g., a principal who let his/her teaching license lapse but would like to receive a lifetime teaching license). The webinar will address frequently asked questions on lifetime licensing and provide an update on the licensure changes currently being proposed by the DPI. DPI TEPDL Director, David DeGuire, will be our guest, so you can trust that you are hearing answers to your questions from the person in charge of leading these changes for our state.

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

If you are not available, please know that we will be recording and posting the webinar online within 24 hours of the event.

WiRSA – WREA Job Connection Reminder
WREA and WiRSA have joined forces to connect school districts with hard to fill partial positions and long-term substitute positions with retired educators looking to get back into the workforce part time to share their knowledge and love of education with the students of rural Wisconsin. website

District Administrators and or HR personnel can complete the form below to post a partial position or long-term substitute position for posting on the WREA website. There is no cost for the posting, this is a service of WREA and WiRSA.

Please send or email completed form to Diane Wilcenski, WREA Executive Director, 6405 Century Avenue, Middleton, WI 53562 or email Diane at
WREA and WiRSA Job Connection Fillable Form

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