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

Good Morning,
In this edition – Recognize staff and community members by nominating them for a WiRSA Rural Award. Check out the links to the recently released State Budget, the recently released WAOW Special Report on School Funding and other great items.

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.

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. Also find attached the joint support letter put out last Friday.

WAOW Special Report on School Funding
WAOW reporter Chase McNamara did a great job last week on school funding. The interview included sound bites from Scott Foster Northland Pines and myself. Facebook

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 4
March 6 – Assembly Committee on Workforce Development 10:00 am, 415 Northwest

AB 23 – Career and technical education incentive grants and making an appropriation – WiRSA will be providing a letter of support.

National Level Legislative Update From NREAC/CEF

• AASA Medicaid Survey: AASA has released a new report on school-based Medicaid programs that should be of great interest to rural school leaders. Structural Inefficiencies in the School-Based Medicaid Program Disadvantage Small and Rural Districts and Students is a report that describes how immediate Congressional action could ensure school districts of all sizes, but particularly small and rural districts, can deliver healthcare services more efficiently and to a greater number of students. You can access the report at

• AASA Superintendent Salary: AASA released the 2018-19 superintendent salary survey, the seventh annual salary study to benchmark superintendent compensation and benefits. The demands placed on a superintendent’s desk exceed that of just about every other occupation in America, which is why we see this report as a valuable tool for our members. The rich data generated in this survey provide key benchmarks when comparing how leaders of other industries are compensated in small, medium and large communities. To access a copy of the 2018-19 AASA Superintendent Salary & Benefits Study, click here. AASA members can access the full member-only version through

AASA Policy & Advocacy Sessions at NCE: We had a set of rich policy-related sessions at NCE, all of which are available in summary and with related slides (when available) on the blog.

Secure Rural Schools and Forest Counties: The SRS coalition is having its annual fly in next Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing in local and county leaders and school superintendents to talk about the importance of not only funding SRS, but also providing permanent policy support for the program. SRS was NOT funded in the final FY19 bill, so we will need to seek retroactive funding as part of the 2020 budget process. I’ve attached a one pager with a summary of the history of the program.

ESSA: ESSA fiscal transparency is still the number one issue we are flagging for ESSA implementation this year. At the AASA National Conference on Education in LA last week, we had one session dedicated to the topic, and those slides are available for you. Some of the most contentious issues district leaders face are about money. Those are about to get even more intense as a slew of school-by-school financials are released (per the ESSA requirement). This workshop-style session is designed to equip leaders to engage with their communities and principals (and the media!) on emerging financial data with the goal of leveraging dollars do the most for students. The session included new messaging research on how to talk about money in ways that can help unite (versus divide) communities, particularly amidst financial scarcity. Download the presentation.
USED Released Non-Binding Guidance on Supplement, Not Supplant: Late last month, USED released draft non-binding guidance related to supplement, not supplant for ESSA Title I.

• Background: ‘Supplement, not supplant’ (SNS) is a provision in federal law designed to ensure that federal funds are in addition to—not in place of—state and local dollars. The guidance released on Friday applies only to ESSA Title I, but not to other federal education programs that may have separate SNS provisions. Under NCLB, the SNS provisions had been beefed up to a level that was burdensome and unnecessarily complicated. While the core provision remains unchanged from NCLB to ESSA, the big change is that under ESSA, no LEA can be required to identify that an individual cost or service is supplemental. This provision rules out requiring an LEA to use the three presumptions to comply with the supplement not supplant requirement, which were based on an analysis of individual costs. LEAs no longer have to demonstrate SNS at the individual cost or service level. Congressional Research Service released a good primer on SNS in early 2015.

• New Guidance: The guidance released by USED is a very light touch, especially compared to the regulations proposed under the Obama administration. The guidance released on Friday aligns much more closely with the guidance document that had been released in the summer of 2015 (before ESSA was even reauthorized!) You’ll recall AASA had deep reservations regarding the Obama regs, which mandated equalized spending and would have resulted in forced transfers, among other concerns. The new guidance avoids those traps, also clarifies that LEAs do not have to publicly disclose their SNS methodology on their websites but does clarify that LEAs can’t simply use their per-pupil spending to demonstrate compliance with SNS. The guidance includes sample methods LEAs can use in demonstrating SNS, clarifies that list is not finite, and reiterates that USED cannot mandate the SNS methodology.

• You can read the guidance here.

FY19 Funding Wrap Up: Last week, Congress reached consensus on a compromise bill to fund the remaining portions of the federal government, a middle ground on the contentious border security debate, and avoided another shutdown. The president signed the deal. This brings the final FY19 appropriations process to a close (nearly 5 months after the fiscal year started on October 1). You’ll recall that education was largely untouched in the shutdown, as our portion of the appropriations process was funded on time last fall. The conference report can be found here, a section by section summary here, and an explanatory statement here. Here is a top-line summary of the funding levels included in the bill. Of the programs and agencies impacted, we were most closely following the Department of Agriculture, as it is the agency that funds the school meals programs. (H/T to our friends in the Children’s Budget Coalition for this quick list):

• Department of Homeland Security: $49.4 billion, $1.7 billion above FY 18

• Agriculture-Food Drug Administration: $23.042 billion in discretionary funding, $32 million above FY 18
o WIC is funded only at $6.075 billion, a $100 M cut from FY 18
o Summer EBT and School Meal Equipment grants are level funded with FY 18 at $28 M and $30 M, respectively

• Commerce Justice Science: 71.5 billion, $1.6 billion above FY 18
o Census is funded at $3.83 billion, an increase of more than $ 1 billion over FY 18
o Title V Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Grants received $24.5 Million, $3 million below FY 18
o Youth MENTOR grants received $95 million, a $1 million increase over FY 18
o CASA level funded at $12 million

• Interior-Environment: $35.6 billion, $300 million over FY 18
o The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry is level funded at $74.6 million
o Indian Education Elementary and Secondary School Programs are funded at $582.58 million, an increase of $3.3 million over FY 18.

• Transportation and Housing Urban Development: $71.1 billion, a $1 billion increase over FY 18
o Includes more than $17 billion in funding for new infrastructure projects
o Public and Indian Housing received $31 billion, a $716.6 million increase over FY 18
o The Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes received $279 million, an increase of $49 million above FY 18

• State and Foreign-Ops: $54.2 billion in discretionary funding, including $8 billion in OCO funding—a $200 million increase over FY 18

• Financial Services: Level funded at $23.42 billion.
o The IRS received $11.3 billion, an increase of $75 million above FY 18. $77 million is designated for implementation of FY 2017 tax legislation

FY20 Funding: The president’s budget was legally required to be released in February but was delayed because of the shutdown. It is expected in two parts, over the weeks of March 11 and 18. We anticipate the president’s budget will include his continued prioritization of privatization, as well as expected cuts to programs like Title II and Title IV. We anticipate his budget will comply with the budget cups, which would mean a deep overall cut to USED to ensure compliance with the post-sequester cuts. While the president’s budget is likely to be dead on arrival (neither the House nor the Senate will take serious cues from his proposal), Congress will have to raise the funding caps. Absent a vote to raise the caps, funding levels will fall drastically, to post-sequester levels, reverting the cap increases of 2018 and 2019. We will need a significant cap increase to merely maintain level funding, let alone provide funding increases for programs AASA prioritizes, including ESSA Title I and IDEA.

From US Department of Education
No update this week.

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

From the NREA
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
February 25 – Stakeholder Conference Call
February 25 – UW System Teacher Education Task Force
February 26 – RCN Monthly Meeting
February 27 – Conference call with UWP School of Education
February 28 – Roll out of the Biennial Budget
March 1 – CESA 8 PAC

Director Events for the Upcoming 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 – Redefining Ready Meeting
March 7 – State Budget Meeting with WPEN
March 8 – Education Academy 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