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

Good Morning,
I encourage you to nominate colleagues for the WiRSA Rural Awards and submit a proposal for the upcoming conference. Take note of UW Teacher Task Force listening sessions, the Einstein Project info and the AEF release. Also note JFC hearing dates and opportunity to submit written testimony. It will be important for the JFC to hear our voice. Finally, be sure to check out my Washington DC report.

Welcome new individual member MaryAnn Lippert from Pittsville.

WiRSA Conference call for proposals now open
The conference planning committee is now accepting proposals to present at the annual conference October 28-29 at the Glacier Canyon Lodge Conference Center. We are looking for presentations that promote the great programs being offered by our rural schools. This year’s theme is around diversity. To submit a proposal, complete the proposal form by June 21.

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 System Teacher Task Force Listening Sessions
The UW System Task Force for Advancing Teachers and School Leaders in the State of Wisconsin seeks public input and invites the public to attend three listening sessions in April. For more information see attached. The task force will meet on:

• Thursday, April 11, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the UW-Green Bay University Union, Room 1965.
• Monday, April 15, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the UW-Eau Claire Davies Center, Centennial Hall 1804.

Einstein Project Opportunity
The Einstein Project is looking to hold a free, 3-day that might support some of the rural schools in the WiRSA network. The purpose of the workshop is to guide schools/districts through an evidence-based process in evaluating or selecting new instructional materials that are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards, at the same time building professional growth for educators to implement 3-dimensional learning with students. The offer is free for this summer only. Feel free to share this flyer with others that may be interested.. The video does a nice job summarizing the process.

Please note they are also looking for regional host sites in central and western Wisconsin – If interested in hosting please contact Kim Lemberger at

AEF Report
Wisconsin Association for Equity in Funding (AEF) to release school funding and student outcome study on April 10th. See attached report.

Legislative Update for the Week of April 8th
No education related bills on the docket and the time of this printing.

Dates set for JFC Public Hearings
Make your voice heard at either a hearing near you, submit written testimony or do both.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019 (10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) * Oak Creek Community Center 8580 South Howell Avenue Oak Creek, WI 53154

Monday, April 15, 2019 (10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) * University of Wisconsin – River Falls University Center – Riverview Ballroom #260 500 Wild Rose Avenue River Falls, WI 54022 Free Public Parking Accessible at: PAY 1 LOT, North Second Street, River Falls, WI 54022

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 (10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) * University of Wisconsin-Green Bay University Union – Phoenix Rooms 2430 Campus Court Green Bay, WI 54311
To submit written testimony, use this dedicated email address or email the JFC chairs Rep. Nygren and Senator Darling. Listing of all members.

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
I had the great opportunity to represent WiRSA at the annual NREAC meeting in Washington DC last week. The meetings included a briefing on federal educational issues such as the Secure Rural Schools Program, Medicaid reimbursement concerns (see attached fact sheet), Student Data Privacy and Higher Education concerns. Following the meetings, I then had the opportunity to go to the Hill and meet with the educational staff for Senators Baldwin and Johnson as well as Rep. Pocan’s. The meetings rapped up with setting the NREAC 2019 Federal Legislative Agenda to be released shortly.

In my legislative staff meetings, I shared our rural concerns regarding Special Education Funding at both the Federal and State level, lack of funding and providers for rural mental health and health services, the SRS program, the Medicaid red tape that prevents rural schools from participating, broadband and infrastructure needs, more local control over grants such as the school safety grants and the impact of voucher expansion.

More from CEF
House bill to raise discretionary caps advances – Yesterday the House Budget Committee approved a bill that provides significant increases in both the defense and non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending caps for fiscal year (FY) 2020 and 2021. (The levels are described in detail in the second Update sent on April 2.) The Committee voted 19-17 for the “Investing for the People Act” after rejecting six amendments. The five Republican amendments sought to: eliminate any increase for NDD; condition the defense and NDD increases on first enacting offsetting cuts to mandatory spending; and eliminate the NDD cap adjustments (i.e., extra funding that doesn’t need to fit under the caps) for the decennial census and IRS tax compliance efforts. A Democratic amendment would have set the FY 2020 and 2021 defense caps at the FY 2019 enacted level (i.e., eliminated much of the defense cap increases in the bill). (CEF live-tweeting the markup, providing descriptions of the amendments and the vote tallies. If you don’t already follow CEF on twitter, we are @edfunding.) All Budget Committee Republicans voted against the bill, with many opposing the NDD increases because they were too big, and the defense increases because they were not big enough and expressing concern that the increases in discretionary spending would not be offset elsewhere by mandatory spending cuts. Some progressive Democrats objected that the defense increase was too high; three Democrats voted against the bill. The next step would be a vote on the House floor, where passage is not a sure thing.

CEF supports the bill to raise the capsCEF supports the bill’s large increase for NDD, which has been part of our advocacy as a necessary first step toward greater education investments. During the markup, CEF shared tweets about why it’s important to education programs that the caps are raised. We are working on a statement of support and encourage others to also publicly support the bill. NDD United letter urging Congress to increase the discretionary caps – On Tuesday, NDD United (CEF is a founding co-chair of this group) sent Congress and organizations urging an increase in the NDD caps. In releasing the letter, NDD United issued a statement supporting the Budget Committee bill to raise the caps.

From US Department of Education
Nothing to report this week.

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.”

From the NREA
The NREA has extended its deadline for National Conference proposal submission. To submit a proposal, use this link.

Director Events from Last Week
April 1-3 – Washington DC with NREAC
April 4 – Assembly Education Hearing
April 5 – CESA 10 PAC

Director Events for the Upcoming Week
April 8 – Weekly Stakeholder Conference Call
April 9 – Wisconsin Early Childhood Association Symposium and meeting
April 10 – JFC in Oak Creek
April 11 – UW System Teacher Taskforce Teleconference
April 11 – Meeting with WAES
April 11 – UW System Teacher Task Force listening session at UW Green Bay
April 12 – Redefining Ready 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