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

Good Morning,
A big thank you to Doug Mearing, Baraboo School District; Todd Carlson, Gillett School District, and Jon Novak and Brian Krey from the River Valley School District for their testimony last Thursday at the Study Committee on the Investment and Use of the School Trust Funds. These four along with Keith Brightman from Menominee Falls did a Great Job! (Testimony begins at the 3:40 mark.)

In this edition:
• WiRSA Conference Registration is now open.
• Nominate someone for the WiRSA Rural Awards.
• National Legislative Update – Disaster Relief and ESSA update.
• DOJ second round of School Safety Funding deadline.
• Must reads from the NREA.

WiRSA ‘Rural Schools Matter’ Conference Registration is now Open

The 2018 WiRSA Conference will be held again this year at the Glacier Canyon Lodge Conference Center in Wisconsin Dells, October 29-30. View the program outline and registration information on our website. To register for the conference, go to the following link.

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. Visit our site for more information.

Legislative Update for the Week of August 20
There is nothing scheduled for this week.

National Level Legislative Update From NREA/CEF
In a letter to Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act state coordinators, the Department outlines key changes the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) made regarding the Title I homeless set-aside. The ESSA requires LEAs to reserve Title I funds necessary to provide educationally related support services to homeless children and youth regardless of whether they attend a Title I school. The ESSA does not require an LEA to reserve a specific amount — only that the amount be enough to serve homeless children and youth in shelters and other locations. Also, as authorized by Congress prior to the ESSA, an LEA may continue to use a portion of the reservation to fund a local homeless liaison’s salary and expenses and defray the excess cost of school of origin transportation.

This week, Secretary DeVos announced a total of $359.8 million in new federal assistance for 20 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands under the Temporary Emergency Impact Aid for Displaced Students Program. These awards provide funding to eligible state educational agencies (SEAs) to make payments to eligible local educational agencies (LEAs), charter schools, and Bureau of Indian Education-funded schools for the cost of educating elementary and secondary students displaced by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria or the 2017 California wildfires during the 2017-18 school year.

The awards are based on the quarterly counts of displaced students included in the SEA applications for Emergency Impact Aid. The statute specifies that the annual per-student amounts shall be the sum of $10,000 for each displaced student who is a child with a disability, $9,000 for each displaced student who is an English Learner, and $8,500 for each displaced student who is neither a child with a disability nor an English Learner.

Congress appropriated a combined amount of $2.5 billion for both the Immediate Aid to Restart School Operations and Emergency Impact Aid programs. The amounts awarded under each program will be based on demand and specific data received from eligible applicants, with multiple opportunities to apply.

Earlier, the Department announced Restart awards to four states (California, Florida, Georgia, and Texas), Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It anticipates granting a second round of Emergency Impact Aid awards in the coming weeks, including awards for California and Puerto Rico.

For further information on all five disaster assistance programs, visit the agency’s Disaster Relief web page.

From the Department of Justice
From the Office of School Safety. Round 2 of the School Safety Initiative grant on Egrants opened on August 15, 2018! The deadline is August 30, 2018!

• WiRSA and other school organizations have registered our frustration with this short turnaround and have asked for consideration to extend the deadline but have made little headway.
• There is the option to request an extension for extenuating circumstances. I will keep you posted if things change.

Bucking the Trend: 3 MINN. small towns that continue to grow

Teachers and Pay: Good Time to revisit this story: W. VA. Teachers win a raise, but rural teachers still underpaid

Transportation: Amid driver shortages, school transportation departments look for answers

Rural Housing: Rural America Faces A Crisis In ‘Adequate Housing’

Director Events from Last Week
Aug. 13 – Meeting with Mary Lippert DOA North Region
Aug 15 – Meeting with stakeholder groups regarding Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding.
Aug. 16 – End of year audit with Mike Koltes at CESA 5

Director Events for the Upcoming Week
Aug. 20 – Ed. Issues Conference Call
Aug. 22 – Meeting with Wisconsin Partners
Aug. 23 – Meeting with Mid State Technical College

Resources and Grant/Scholarship Reminders
WiRSA Rural Awards – Click here for more information
ESEA Information
Licensure Webinar
• NREA Conference in Denver, Colorado– October 11-13
2018 WiRSA Conference, RURAL SCHOOLS MATTER, October 29-30, Glacier Canyon in Wisconsin Dells.


Thank you to our Sponsors!

Alliant Energy, CESA Foundation, Ehlers, Jostens, McKinstry,

National Insurance Services, Nexus Solutions,

The Insurance Center, TRICORE Insurance, UW Colleges Online,

WEA Member Benefits and Wisconsin Farmers Union