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

Good Morning,

Please note that there will not be an Update next week. I will be in Washington DC working with the NREAC on rural education federal legislative policy.
In this edition: I encourage you to nominate colleagues for the WiRSA Rural Awards and check out the program at UW-Platteville in April. Take note of the tentative JFC hearing dates; it will be important for the JFC to hear our voice. Check out the LFB Memo on the Special Ed Funding proposal. Don’t miss the highlights on the federal budget from the NREAC and the US Department of Education. Finally check out the upcoming workshops being offered by the Wisconsin Green Schools Network.

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.

UW-Whitewater Online Special Education Degree Program (SPECED4U)
UW-Whitewater is offering a new online special education degree program (SPECED4U) designed especially for para- educators, instructional assistants, and persons with extensive work or volunteering experience in schools. We are now accepting applications for the fall 2019 semester.
Please contact Sharon Kolb at, (262) 472-4831, with any questions or inquiries about this program. See attached flyer and check out our website.

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 608-342-1248.

Legislative Update for the Week of March 25
No education related bills on the docket and the time of this printing

Tentative Dates Set for JFC Public Hearings
Agency Briefings:
Agency briefings are hearings at which representatives of state agencies, typically the head of the agency, present testimony to the JFC on the Governor’s budget bill and the effect that the proposed budget would have on the agency and its programs. Typically, agency briefings take place at the Capitol.

Wednesday, April 3
Thursday, April 4

In addition, the letter to agencies put forward a tentative schedule of JFC public hearings on the state budget at the following four locations around the state:

Friday, April 5 – Public Hearing – Janesville Area
Thursday, April 11 – Public Hearing – Milwaukee Area
Monday, April 15 – Public Hearing – River Falls/Hudson Area
Wednesday, April 24 – Public Hearing – Green Bay Area

Legislative Fiscal Bureau Memo on the impact budget language on Special Ed Funding
At the request of Senator Erpenbach the LFB last week released the following memo on the impact of Governor Evers budget proposal to raise Special Ed. Funding to 30% in year one of the budget and 60% in year two. See Memo

Wisconsin Policy Forum Budget Brief and Full Report

Links 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.

National Level Legislative Update From NREAC/CEF
Policy Intelligence and Education News

Education-related congressional hearings next week House Committees have now scheduled several hearings for next week, including two education-related ones:

o Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will be testifying on the President’s education budget request before the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday, March 26, at 10:15am. The hearing is in room 2358-C Rayburn House Office Building.

o The House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment will hold a hearing on Innovations in Expanding Registered Apprenticeship Programs on Wednesday, March 27, at 10:15am in 2175 Rayburn House Office Building.

• Plan for House appropriations action – A schedule and plan for moving appropriations bills through the House is starting to take shape. From what we’ve heard and read in the press, House Democrats hope to start making up fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations bills at the end of April and bundle several together for floor action. The first five bills may be for Labor-HHS-Education, Defense, and Legislative Branch, Military Construction-VA, and the Energy and Water; these five were the only ones enacted on time last year. Last year the Defense and the Labor-HHS-Education bills were enacted as a package, one designed to include top priorities for both Democrats and Republicans. Democrats may do that again this year, which would boost the chances of education funding being enacted before the start of FY 2020 on October 1, providing the certainty and planning time envisioned for the budget process.

• Early plan to raise discretionary caps – CQ is reporting that if the House Budget Committee does not mark up a FY 2020 budget resolution, it may mark up a bill to raise the defense and non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending caps for the upcoming fiscal year (and likely also for FY 2021, the last year of the discretionary caps). Absent congressional action to change them, the existing caps require steep and unrealistic cuts for FY 2020 and would not be a useful top line for the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to use in allocating totals for the 12 government spending bills. The conventional wisdom has been that Congress is unlikely to enact new caps until the fall, but it would be helpful if the negotiations started sooner rather than later.

• White House announces its priorities for Higher Education Act reauthorization – This week the Administration published a five-page overview of its principles for reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, which Congress plans to consider this session. One proposal that got a lot of attention would cap Parent and Grad Plus loans (the limit isn’t specified) as an effort to limit student debt. Senate HELP Committee Chairman Alexander (R-TN) did not comment on the specifics, just said it was “helpful to have these suggestions” while Ranking Member Murray (D-WA) criticized the Administration’s proposal as “hurting students by reducing the amount of federal aid.”

From US Department of Education
On March 11, President Trump submitted his Fiscal Year 2020 budget request to Congress. While the request reduces the overall federal role in education, it makes strategic investments to support and empower families to select the best educational options for their children, to improve teacher quality, to ensure students learn in a safe environment, and to improve access to postsecondary education. The request also demonstrates the Administration’s commitment to supporting state efforts to serve vulnerable students, ensuring that all students have equal access to high-quality schools, protecting their paths to a world class education, and empowering local educators to deliver for their students.

“This budget at its core is about education freedom — freedom for America’s students to pursue their lifelong learning journeys in the ways and places that work best for them, freedom for teachers to develop their talents and pursue their passions, and freedom from the top-down, ‘Washington knows best’ approach that has proven ineffective and even harmful to students,” Secretary DeVos noted. “We have also reaffirmed our commitment to spending taxpayer dollars wisely and efficiently by consolidating or eliminating duplicative and ineffective federal programs…. I look forward to working with Congress to pass a budget that truly puts the needs of students, parents, teachers, and local leaders first, because it is my sincere belief that, if we give them the freedom to break free from the one-size-fits-all ‘school system,’ we will truly begin to unleash our nation’s full potential.”

There are six major themes in the FY 2020 budget request for education:

Increasing Education Freedom

• Education Freedom Scholarships (EFS) would provide up to $5 billion in federal tax credits for voluntary contributions by taxpayers to state-identified, non-profit scholarship granting organizations that help students access the education that is right for them.
• Doubles funding for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program to $30 million.
• Provides $500 million for the Charter Schools Program, an increase of $60 million over FY 2019.
• Provides $107 million for the Magnet Schools Program.
• Provides a total of $50 million for new Student-Centered Funding Incentive Grants to increase transparency in education funding and allow more federal, state, and local aid to follow students to schools.

Supporting High-Needs Students through Essential Formula Grant Programs

• Level-funds Title I grants to school districts at $15.9 billion.
• Level-funds Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) state formula grants at $13.2 billion.
• Level-funds Impact Aid Basic Support Payments for federally connected children at $1.4 billion.

Protecting Students by Promoting Safe and Secure Schools

• More than doubles School Safety National Activities grants, to $200 million, to assist states and districts with developing school emergency operations plans, offering counseling, and implementing evidence-based practices for improving behavioral outcomes.

Elevating the Teaching Profession

• Provides $300 million for Education Innovation and Research grants, an increase of $170 million over FY 2019, with $200 million for teacher professional development vouchers and $100 million for innovative science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) grants.
• Provides $200 million for Teacher and School Leaders Incentive Grants to fund projects that support high-quality mentoring and residency programs for new teachers and increased compensation for effective teachers, particularly in high-need fields and subjects (such as computer science).

Promoting Workforce Development for the 21st Century

• Provides $1.3 billion for Career and Technical Education (CTE) State Grants.
• Provides $20 million for CTE National Programs to help states modernize their CTE programming, an increase of $12.6 million over FY 2019.
• Provides a $60 million increase for Fast-Track Pre-Apprenticeships for Low-Skilled Adults, to boost the number of adults who are able to meet the basic entry requirements of apprenticeship programs.

Streamlining and Improving Postsecondary Aid Programs

• Expands Pell Grant eligibility to students enrolled in high-quality, short-term programs.
• Simplifies the federal student loan program and loan repayment system.
• Provides $1.8 billion to support administration of federal student aid programs, including the modernization of student loan servicing through the Next Generation Financial Services Environment.

Among the resources online are a press release, the budget summary, Congressional justifications, and the PowerPoint presentation used in the in-person stakeholder briefing.

From the DOJ
School Threat Assessment Protocol
Attorney General Josh Kaul and the Office of School Safety recently announced the release of the Wisconsin School Threat Assessment Protocol and Wisconsin Comprehensive School Security Framework, providing educators and partners a comprehensive set of policies that support school safety efforts.

The Comprehensive School Security Framework and the Wisconsin School Threat Assessment Protocol can assist teachers, administrators, and others who are working to make our schools safer,” said Attorney General Kaul. “We hope that schools across the state will use these resources.”

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

From the NREA
No Update this week.

From Wisconsin Green Schools Network
DPI, National Geographic Certified Educators, and the Wisconsin Green Schools Network invite educators and administrators (PK-12) to attend a “Connect, Explore, Engage in Inquiry” Workshop.

For just $25.00 per participant (includes registration, lunch, and resources), this workshop will be offered in two beautiful and natural settings. Choose from:

Tuesday, April 16, Trempealeau Wildlife Refuge, Trempealeau (Register by April 1)
Thursday, April 18, 1000 Islands Nature Center, Kaukauna (Register by April 1)

Participants will:

1. Become familiar with inquiry in the new Wisconsin Standards for Environmental Literacy & Sustainability, Social Studies, and other content areas.
2. Learn about and engage with National Geographic’s “geo-inquiry process” and tools of inquiry that can be used in any classroom setting and with any age of student.
3. Complete Step 1 National Geographic Educator Certification (a free certification program)–for those interested–just by attending and participating in this workshop!

Contact: Victoria Rydberg
Environmental Education and Service-Learning
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
Office: (608) 266-0419 or (800) 441-4563
Mobile: (608) 616-9246 | Fax: (608) 266-1965 |

Director Events from Last Week
March 18 – Weekly Stakeholder Conference Call
March 19 – Meeting with Rep. Felzkowski
March 20 – Educators Rising Conference in Oshkosh
March 21 – Legislator Education Academy
March 21 – State Budget Stakeholder Meeting

Director Events for the Upcoming Week
March 25 – Weekly Stakeholder Conference Call
March 25 – Teachers Connect Webinar
March 26 – Monthly RCN Meeting
March 27 – Viterbo Special Ed Research
March 28 – State Budget Stakeholder Meeting
April 1-3 – Washington DC with NREAC

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