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

Good Morning,
Legislative Action Alert
This week, Thursday, May 23rd the JFC will take up education items at their meeting. As you already know, many key items are in jeopardy of being omitted or underfunded. I encourage you to let your voice be heard and contact your legislators and members of Joint Finance Committee to do the right thing and provide appropriate funding for the students of Wisconsin, especially in the key areas our members discussed at the BRC and JFC Hearings:

1. Support the $200/$204 per pupil general revenue increase in each year of the biennium.
2. Support a substantial increase in funding for special education. It is important to explain your district’s fund 10 to fund 27 transfer.
3. Support a substantial increase in funding for school-age mental health.
4. Support for school funding that is “spendable.”

In recent state budgets, policymakers have commonly increased school levy credits or increased general aid with no corresponding revenue limit increase. More information under Legislative Update. Your voice is key. Keep the pressure on and thank you for your continued advocacy!

Congratulations to Juda School District 8th grader, Bethany Woodward for winning the Grade 6-8 2019 NREA Foundation Essay Contest. Job well done!

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. (See attached flyer to post.)  

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.

WiRSA Conference Vendor Booth and Sponsorship Registration is Open
Information for securing one of the 26 vendor booths for the 2019 WiRSA Conference is now available. Please see attached flyer for more details. Priority will be given to our Business Partners, formerly known as Associate Members, then vendors from last year, followed by new requests.

We will be using a new registration process this year, so please read all information carefully. Vendor/Sponsor Registration Form.

Legislative Update for the Week of May 20
May 23 at 11:00, 412 East – Joint Finance Committee will hold an Executive Session on the education part of the budget.

LFB Papers for the May 23 JFC Hearing
Public Instruction — General School Aids and Revenue Limits

Public Instruction — Categorical Aids

Public Instruction — Choice, Charter, and Open Enrollment

Public Instruction — Administrative and Other Funding

National Level Legislative Update From NREAC/CEF

• Right now, you are spending FY18 dollars, living under FY19 dollars, and we are lobbying for FY20 dollars (FY20 dollars will be in the schools in the 2020-21 school year). The president’s budget is a dead-on-arrival nonstarter, one that cuts USED by nearly $9 billion (11%) and eliminates 29 programs. We are relying on Congress to pass a bipartisan deal that raises the caps. Our bet is that the question is NOT if they will raise the caps, but how much they will raise the caps by. The House dropped their LHHS bill last week and it funds USED $4.4 b above FY19 levels making it nearly $12 b above the president’s budget. It includes $1 b increases for Title I and IDEA, no specifics on REAP, and no money for Secure Rural Schools (That we can see) for either FY19 or FY20. The bottom line when talking to your members now about appropriations is that we support a cap increase, FY20 conversations need to start at FY19 levels, at least, and that we continue to prioritize investment in critical federal formula programs.

Child Nutrition Reauthorization
• Next up on the docket is a status update on this year’s Child Nutrition Reauthorization. Since our last update, Congress still hasn’t made much progress on setting priorities or timelines for introducing bill text that reauthorizes the Russel Brand Child Nutrition act. However, we do know that the process is moving much faster in the Senate than in the House due to Sen. Roberts’ recent retirement announcement. Consequently, this means that we should see legislation before the August recess.

• Also, noteworthy, AASA has received data inquiries from House committee staffers on how states are handling lunch shaming (e.g., cheese sandwiches and debt shaming students), and from the Senate side on how states are keeping track of Free and Reduced-Price Lunch data once schools meet the community eligibility provision. Therefore, if any you have information on this, feel free to reach out directly via email.

Higher Education Reauthorization (HEA)

• The Higher Education Act is also up for reauthorization this year. Unfortunately, however, Chairman Alexander’s and Ranking Member Murray’s diverging priorities on Title 9 (sexual assault guidance), Title II (e.g., Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), Teacher Quality Partnership grants (TQP), and TEACH grants), and Title IV programs (e.g., Pell grants and student finical aid programs) remain sticking points in the

o analysis here is that Senate Dems have proposed expanding PSLF through the What Can You Do for Your Country Act. Specifically the bill would (1) allow borrowers with Direct and Federal Family Education Loans to be eligible for PSLF; (2) allow all federal repayment plans to qualify; (3) require U.S. ED to provide clearer guidance for applying to the program; (4) allow borrower to see partial forgiveness after 5-years; and (5) simplify the application and certification. AASA chose not to support this Act because it had the potential to hurt efforts to preserve PSLF in the House. In contrast, Senate Republicans want to cap PSLF at $39,000 or eliminate the program altogether.

• Looking at the House, it’s unclear whether Chairman Bobby Scott and Ranking member Virginia Foxx will come to a bipartisan agreement on HEA, especially considering that the 115th session of Congress PROSPER and AIM HIGHER acts were very different visions for the future of the nation’s higher education system.

• Thus, the big takeaway here is that the House is waiting for the Senate to move on HEA. That said, if negotiations fail in the Senate, DEMs and REPs will most likely produce their own partisan versions of the bill of HEA and hold off reauthorization of the law until after 2020.

• The FCC will be releasing a rule that proposes changes to ERate that could reverse and impact the ERate funding cap, and pit rural school broadband against rural health care. We won’t know the specifics of the proposal until we can read the plan, but we are deeply concerned with the direction of this proposal and will be relying on a full member mobilization over the summer, both with your members of Congress AND in submitting written comments to the FCC (We’ll provide a template. Draft). Stay tuned, this will be one of our biggest priorities this summer.

Fully Fund IDEA
• As you may recall, AASA chairs the IDEA Funding Coalitions – which is a group of 24 organizations focused on getting Congress to honor its commitment to fund 40% of the additional cost associated with educating students with disabilities. This year we are pleased to share that the coalition’s efforts resulted in bipartisan legislation – that outlines a 10-year path for Congress to realize its commitment – being introduced in the Senate (S.866) and House (H.R.1878).

Guidance to the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services
• As you may recall, AASA released a report in February examining the school-based Medicaid program and the role it plays in enabling districts to meet mandates under IDEA as well as provide enhanced healthcare services to Medicaid eligible children. Unfortunately, this report found that there are major barriers to participate in the school-based Medicaid program and that many small and rural high-poverty districts are totally precluded from pulling down resources via Medicaid that are critical to meeting the educational and healthcare needs of their students.

• These barriers are a direct consequence of the guidance issued by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) in 2003, which forced school districts to use a duplicative and onerous billing system comparable to those used by clinics and other healthcare providers.

• Our goal this Congress is to fix these inequitable policies in the school-based Medicaid program by asking Congress to place a mandate on CMS that would provide states with the flexibility to utilize a cost-based reimbursement system. Thus, reducing the paperwork burden for local education agencies.

• We are hopeful that bipartisan legislation will be introduced in the House and Senate this summer that would (1) streamline the Medicaid paperwork for districts, and (2) incentivize states/districts to expand healthcare access to kids in schools. When those bills are introduced, we will inform you so that you may reach out to your local congressional representative.

From US Department of Education
No update this week.

From the DOJ
Required School Submissions 2017 Wisconsin Act 143 requires public and private schools to submit required information to the Office of School Safety. Please note that this requirement is independent of school safety grant funding. While grant applicants may have provided some of this information, the statutory requirements in Act 143 apply to all schools, regardless of whether the school applied for grant funds. If you have any questions regarding the requirements of 2017 Act 143 please email

From the NREA
Join us Tuesday, 05/21 for a livestreaming event that shares research on the elements students demand in their academic experience, and how technologies can play a role in meeting them. Instructors will also gain insights into the set of skills and competencies they now need to effectively incorporate today’s technologies into their courses.

What: Delivering High Quality Teaching and Learning with Technology
When: Tuesday, 05/21 @ 2 PM ET // 11 AM PT
Register Now

From IES
New Report Release Analyzes Title I, Part A Grant Formulas
The smallest districts tend to have higher allocations per formula-eligible child than the largest districts in Basic Grants and Concentration Grants. However, for Targeted Grants and Education Finance Incentive Grants (EFIG), the largest districts tend to have higher allocations per formula-eligible child than the smallest districts, and the other districts (those with a 5- to 17-year-old population between 300 and 24,999) often had a lower overall Title I allocation per formula-eligible child than the largest or smallest districts. To view the full report, please visit.

Director Events from Last Week
May 13 – Weekly Stakeholder conference call
May 13 – Meeting with RERIC
May 15 – NREAC Monthly Call
May 15 – Albany Awards Night
May 16 – Mtg with Rep. Kitchens office on Consolidation Bill
May 17 – WASBO Presentation in Green Bay

Director Events for the Upcoming Week
May 20 – UW System teachers Task Force Meeting
May 20 – Weekly Stakeholder conference call
May 20 – Ed-Build State Advocate conference call
May 21 – Meeting with UWP
May 23 – Meeting with UW NETWORK and DPI
May 23 – JFC Executive Session on education budget

Resources and Grant/Scholarship Reminders
Save the Date: 2019 WiRSA Conference, Diversity in Rural Schools, 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