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

Good Morning,
Congratulations to the following member school girls’ basketball teams on great runs at State this past weekend: Blackhawk, Clayton and Colby!

In this edition: Reach out to your local legislators and invite them to the Education Academy. Check out the links to the recently released State Budget, the update on the Federal Budget, DOJ Website update and the call for proposals for the NREA National Conference.

Education Academy for Legislators – Reach out to your local legislators today
WiRSA along with SAA, WASB SWSA and WPEN are inviting legislators and their staff to join school business officials from across Wisconsin for a half-day training session on Public School Finance on March 21st at the Concourse Hotel in Madison. We are asking our members to reach out and extend an invitation to your local legislators and staffers to attend this half-day event that will help inform them on the issues facing Wisconsin’s public schools. (reference attachment with details)  

This workshop is designed to be a “straight forward, spin-free talk” on school finance led by experts in the field; school district business managers, district administrators, and a special guest speaker, Bob Soldner, from DPI.

The goal is to help them build an understanding of basic school finance concepts, so they are better prepared to make informed decisions during the biennial budget cycle.

WiRSA Rural Awards – New Category added for Principals
WiRSA is now taking applications for the 2019 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 13.

Click here for more information.

Brown vs. Board of Education in 21st Century Rural America
The University of Wisconsin – Platteville School of Education and Office of the Chancellor invite you to this event on Monday April 29th at Velzy Commons, Ullsvik Hall. Reception at 4:00 with the Conversation with Cheryl Brown Henderson beginning at 5:00. To RSVP by April 12 go to or
call 608342-1248.

UW-Whitewater Teacher Residency Program
The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is launching a new teacher preparation program. The Teacher Residency Program (TRP) is an inquiry-based teacher education program that leads to teacher licensure. Residents will spend an entire academic year in a classroom full-time while completing a series of online learning modules. See the attached brochure for more information.

Legislative Update for the Week of March 11
Link to 2019-20 Biennial Budget
Here are links to the Biennial Budget – The first one takes you directly to the education part of the budget the second takes you to the budget brief and the third is the budget menu page.

No hearings on education scheduled at the time of this publication.

National Level Legislative Update From NREAC/CEF
President’s 2020 budget on Monday; what it might mean for education – The Administration is releasing its fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget request on Monday, March 11, although only the main summary volume and the summary tables will be published next week. The more detailed backup material is expected the following week. Agencies’ program-level budget material will be released over time.

As we’ve described earlier, the President’s budget will cut non-defense discretionary (NDD) funding by at least 9% to get down to the statutory NDD cap. However, the budget may cut an additional 5% below that level, according to what the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget wrote last week. The NDD funding cut may not be applied across the board, and some agencies are likely to be cut more deeply to offset increases elsewhere. To provide some perspective on how deep the cut could be, it would require greater cuts than the President’s FY 2019 request for the Department of Education, which was about 11% below what Congress ultimately provided (it was 11.6% below the FY 2019 enacted level counting the rescission of $600 million of previously appropriated funding for Pell Grants, and was 10.8% below the level not including that rescission). But we have a sense of where additional cuts might be made because the Administration was planning to cut education funding by an additional $3.3 billion until Congress enacted a deal that raised the FY 2018 and FY 2019 NDD caps just before the President’s budget was released. That original request for FY 2019 is about 16% ($11 billion) below the FY 2019 enacted level and provides a sense of how much could be cut from the Department of Education if there is a 14% cut. The extra cuts the Administration had planned to make before the spending caps were raised were:

o $1.6 billion rescission of Pell Grant funding,
o $525 million cut to Impact Aid,
o $400 million cut to TRIO programs,
o $500 million less for a new opportunity grant, and
o an extra $300 million cut for Federal Work Study on top of the cut it did include.

ED budget briefing on Monday at 2:30pmThe Department of Education (ED) will hold a briefing at 2:30 pm on Monday, March 11, to discuss the President’s fiscal year 2020 education budget request. ED will distribute its customary budget summary booklet at the briefing; detailed programmatic information will not be available online beforehand. The President’s main budget volume should be on the OMB website Monday morning, and it will likely include agencies’ total discretionary funding as well as a brief description of highlighted initiatives and programs for each agency. It should also include the summary tables that show proposals for changes in mandatory spending and revenue, but not detail on discretionary programmatic funding levels.

From US Department of Education
Secretary DeVos joined the Association for Career and Technical Education’s (ACTE) annual Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month site visit on February 26 to the Academies of Loudoun in Leesburg, Virginia. The visit began with a brief overview of the school by Principal Tinell Priddy. It was followed by a roundtable discussion with students, teachers, and association partners and a tour of three classrooms: the Radiology Technology Lab, the Makerspace, and the Research Greenhouse.

In outlining the school’s four-pillared mission to help students explore, research, collaborate, and innovate, Priddy noted that the Academies is the largest school ever built by the county, retains a placement coordinator to help students find internships and careers, and focuses on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) (see media coverage of the visit in LoudounNow, the Loudoun Times-Mirror, and The 74).

Meanwhile, on the Department’s Homeroom blog, a prep chef outlines in “2 Years Was the Path for Me in CTE” how his high school’s family and consumer sciences program helped him discover his passion for the culinary arts, which he was able to turn into a successful career.

From the DOJ
School Safety Website Updated

Upcoming Training
Register for any of our statewide training events here.

From the NREA
111th NREA Convention and Research Symposium in Louisville, Kentucky. October 24-26, 2019 – Call for Proposals
Inspire and impact rural education leaders and practitioners by sharing your research, stories, resources, and ideas…Sound like you? If so, please submit a proposal to present at the 2019 National Forum to Advance Rural Education.


Better Buildings Developed by the U.S. Department of Energy
Rural school districts accommodate nearly 14 million students in facilities located in remote areas around the country. Due to their locations, it is difficult to deliver services to maximize school building energy performance. To address this lack of resources for rural schools, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Better Buildings Initiative recently published a resource guide for rural K-12 school energy managers and educators.

Rural schools represent about one-third (32,000) of the public schools in the United States, and this resource is intended to help decision makers, who are often juggling multiple roles at once, with important choices around energy efficiency improvements as a part of their master facilities management plan. The guide pulls together key technologies, strategies, and financial mechanisms from existing Better Buildings solutions and other sources that can help rural school district stakeholders become more energy-efficient.

Guidelines for completing the 2019 SRSA Application: SRSA Guidelines

Review of US Department of Ed Section 5005 Report
At the end of last year, the US Department of Education released its Section 5005 Report on the ways the Department addresses rural education. Devon Brenner reviews and critiques that report in the most recent issue of the The Rural Educator. Find the review here.

NREA Foundation Essay Contest
The annual NREA Foundation Essay Contest allows contestants to participate in three divisions: elementary, middle/junior high, and high school. Grades 3-8 may participate in a written essay contest using the provided prompt and rubric. Grades 9-12 may participate in a video essay contest using the provided prompt and rubric. The winner in the elementary division receives $250. The runner-up will receive $100. The winners in the middle/junior high and high school divisions receive $400. The runners-up receive a $200 prize.
Guidelines and Submission Info

Director Events from Last Week
March 4 – Stakeholder Conference Call
March 4 – Medford Legislative Meeting
March 5 – Meeting with BetterLessons
March 6 – Assembly Committee on Workforce Development
March 7 – State Budget Meeting with WPEN
March 8 – DOJ School Safety Taskforce
March 8 – Education Academy Meeting

Director Events for the Upcoming Week
March 11 – Weekly Stakeholder Conference Call
March 12 – Federal Budget Webinar
March 13 – Girls Who Code follow-up meeting
March 14 – Meeting with WiRSA Member
March 14 – NREA Federal Budget Webinar
March 14 – State Budget Stakeholder Meeting
March 15 – WAES Board Meeting

Resources and Grant/Scholarship Reminders
Save the Date: 2019 WiRSA Conference, October 28-29, Glacier Canyon in Wisconsin Dells.


Thank you Sponsors!
Alliant Energy, CESA Foundation, Ehlers, Jostens, McKinstry,
Mid-State Technical College, National Insurance Services, Nexus Solutions,
The Insurance Center, TRICORE Insurance, UW Colleges Online,
WEA Member Benefits and Wisconsin Farmers Union