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

Good Morning,
This week I encourage you to take a close look at the USDA Broadband Grant Program and the SRSA Application Extension. I also encourage you to nominate someone in your district for a WiRSA Rural Awards and submit a proposal promoting a great program in your district for our fall conference.

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.

Workshop Opportunity
CESA Knowledge Mobilization Workshop May 22-23 – The event’s emphasis on Knowledge Mobilization will engage participants in activities focused on their specific needs. One outcome will be creation of draft regional or institutional plans to guide mobilization of key knowledge that participants deem vital for improving lives of educators, schools, communities, and scholars.

Link to Flyer and registration info

Interesting Rural Article and Video
Education Policymakers Should Stop Taking Rural Schools for Granted

REL tools for rural practitioners

Legislative Update for the Week of May 6
May 7 at 1:30, 400 Southeast – Committee on Universities, Technical Colleges, Children and Families
Senate Bill 165 Relating to: transferability of courses between the University of Wisconsin System, technical college system, and tribally controlled and private colleges.

Budget Update A memo was circulated by the co-chairs of the JFC outlining the budget process and announcing their intention to remove certain provision from further budget consideration (see list below for items pertaining to DPI). This is concerning and we will continue to watch and update.

ITEMS THAT WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE MOTION TO EXCLUDE FROM CONSIDERATION IN THE BUDGET:

General School Aids and Revenue Limits

• Reallocate Property Tax Credit Funding to General School Aids Appropriation (Page 317, #5 and Page 385, #1)
• Revenue Limit Adjustment for Lead Testing and Remediation (Page 321, #14)
• Four-Year-Old Kindergarten Membership (Page 322, #15)
• Limit on Number of School District Referenda (Page 322, #16)

Categorical Aids
• Driver Education Aid (Page 333, #29) [odd to me that they would exclude this from consideration…)

Choice, Charter, SNSP, and Open Enrollment

• Private School Choice Programs — Cap Participation at 2020-21 Levels (Page 339, #3)
• Private School Choice Programs — Teacher Licensure Requirement (Page 340, #4)
• Private School Choice Programs — Accreditation of Private Schools (Page 341, #5)
• Milwaukee Private School Choice Program — Eliminate City Choice Levy Aid (Page 342, #6)
• Private School Choice Programs — Definition of Poverty Level (Page 342, #7)
• Private School Choice and Special Needs Scholarship Programs — Information Required on Property Tax Bill (Page 342, #8 and Page 390, #6)
• Special Needs Scholarship Program — Sunset (Page 344, #10)
• Special Needs Scholarship Program — Teacher Licensure Requirement (Page 344, #11)
• Special Needs Scholarship Program — Private School Requirements (Page 344, #12)
• Special Needs Scholarship Program — Delete Cost Reimbursement Provision (Page 346, #13)
• Special Education Scholarship Program — Additional Tuition Charges (Page 347, #14)
• Special Education Scholarship Program — Religious Activity Opt-Out (Page 348, #15)
• Prohibition on New Independent Charter Schools (Page 349, #17)
• Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program (Page 351, #20)

Administrative and Other Funding
• Eliminate Teacher Licensure for Alternative Teaching Preparation Program (Page 354, #5)
• Paid Planning Time for Teachers (Page 359, #23)

Related Items in other Agencies

· Rehired Annuitant Teachers (Page 119, #3) [ETF]
· Student Loan Refinancing Study Committee (Page 130, #2; Page 229, #10; and Page 396, #2) [HEAB]
· Transfer Office of School Safety (Page 252, #6 and Page 358, #22) [DOJ]
· Agency Publications (Page 262, #8) [LEGISLATURE] [Act 369]
· Administrative Rules (Page 262, #9) [LEGISLATURE] [Act 369]
· Municipal Broadband Facilities in Underserved or Unserved Areas (Page 361, #3) [PSCD]
· Transfers from DWD to DPI [DWD]
· Career and Technical Education Grants and Completion Awards (Page 330, #21 and Page 463, #1)
· Technical Education Equipment Grant Program (Page 331, #22 and Page 464, #3)
· Teacher Development Grants (Page 335, #33; Page 464, #4; and Page 464, #5)

National Level Legislative Update From NREAC/CEF
USDA Opens Application Portal for New ReConnect Rural Broadband Infrastructure Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now accepting online applications for funding through the new ReConnect Rural Broadband Pilot Program. These funds will enable the federal government to partner with the private sector and rural communities to build modern broadband infrastructure in areas with insufficient internet service. Insufficient service is defined as connection speeds of less than 10 megabits per second download and 1 megabit per second upload. Beginning today, ReConnect funding applications can be submitted at reconnect.usda.gov.

In this first round of funding, USDA is making available at least $600 million in rural broadband projects, through $200 million in grants, $200 million in loan and grant combinations, and $200 million in low-interest loans. The application deadlines for each of these funding packages are as follows:

• May 31, 2019, for projects seeking federal funds from the grants-only package;
• June 21, 2019, for projects seeking a combination of federal loans and grants; and
• July 12, 2019, for projects seeking low-interest federal loans.

From US Department of Education
IMPORTANT: Final week to apply for FY 2019 SRSA Application Period
The application deadline for the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Small, Rural School Achievement (SRSA) grant program has been extended until Friday, May 10, 2019, at 11:59 pm Eastern Time.

To access the SRSA application package, type the words rural education into the SEARCH field in the top right-hand corner of the Grants.gov homepage at www.grants.gov. Click on the SRSA grant funding opportunity (ED-GRANTS-022019-001) to access the SRSA application.

From the DOJ
No update

From the NREA
With loan forgiveness and stipends, Colorado lawmakers hope to lure teachers to rural districts Colorado Rural Teachers

Director Events from Last Week
April 29 – Weekly Stakeholder conference call
April 29 – Meeting with UW-P School of Education and Chancellor, followed by rural education symposium
May 1 – Woodland Regional Learning Center STEAM Fair
May 2 – Stakeholder call on Rehiring Retirees legislation

Director Events for the Upcoming Week
May 6 – Weekly Stakeholder conference call
May 8 – Multiple meetings with Legislators on budget concerns around TEACH and other Tech related items
May 8 – Westfield HS – scholarship presentation
May 9 – Meeting with Speaker Voss regarding budget
May 10 – CESA 11 PAC

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