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

Good Morning,
In this edition, be sure to check the School Safety and Blue-Ribbon Commission updates. Also look closely at the Bills the Senate will be discussing in tomorrow’s floor session and the NREA Webinar.

There will be no Update on March 26.

WiRSA – WREA Job Connection Reminder
WREA and WiRSA have joined forces to connect school districts with hard to fill partial positions and long-term substitute positions with retired educators looking to get back into the workforce part time to share their knowledge and love of education with the students of rural Wisconsin. website

District Administrators and or HR personnel can complete the form below to post a partial position or long-term substitute position for posting on the WREA website. There is no cost for the posting, this is a service of WREA and WiRSA.

Please send or email completed form to Diane Wilcenski, WREA Executive Director, 6405 Century Avenue, Middleton, WI 53562 or email Diane at
WREA and WiRSA Job Connection Fillable Form

WiRSA Rural Awards
WiRSA is now taking applications for the 2018 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 14. Click here for more information.

Legislative Update for the Week of March 19
March 20 – Senate will hold a floor session to go over several bills – Ones key to Education are:
SB 798 – Proposed $100 rebate per child
AB 488 – DPI to release practice exams
AB 745 – Relating to Youth Apprenticeship
AB 804 – UW System Merit Scholarships
AB 842 – ETF Language change
AB 848 – Regarding Mental Health
AB 872 – CTE Grants

School Safety – We are also expecting the Senate to present their School Safety proposal this week. Rep. Pope and Senator Bewley put their proposal (AB 1011 / SB 858) on the table as has Governor Walker.

State Superintendent Evers also made a proposal to Gov. Scott Walker and legislative leaders asking for a special session to adopt a comprehensive school safety agenda. In his statement about the work he says, “All of these proposals are focused on improving safety for students and their schools.”
Letter to Gov. Scott Walker and Legislative Leaders

The Assembly Republicans appear to be in line with the Governors proposal. From what we are hearing the Senate is considering a different approach. These differences could lead to a stalemate between the houses and the Governor, thus delaying or jeopardizing any bill passage. We will keep you posted.

When talking to your legislators, be sure to stress the following points:
1) Funding for school safety must be sustainable, not a one-time shot band-aid;
2) Must have a strong Mental Health component;
3) Provide districts with local control on how to best use the dollars to make their schools safe. One size doesn’t fit all;
4) Finally, emphasize this isn’t just a school issue, it is a community issue.

Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding Dates Announced
The next meeting of the School Funding Commission will be held on March 26 in De Pere at Foth, 2121 Innovation Court from 2:00–6:00. The Blue-Ribbon Commission will hear testimony from invited speakers including representatives from the following: Chamber of Commerce- Partners in Education, and CESA 7.

Future meetings are scheduled for the following communities from 2:00-6:00 PM, locations still to be determined. I encourage all of you to attend the Blue-Ribbon Commission meeting nearest you and share your thoughts on funding with the Commission. If they don’t hear from us, they assume everything is okay.
• Monday, April 9- Fennimore
• Monday, April 23- Oshkosh
• Monday, May 7- Tomahawk
• Monday, May 21- Turtle Lake
• Monday, June 4- Madison

Testimony Tips for future hearings:
1) We strongly encourage Business Mangers, Bookkeepers and/or other key financial personnel to present as they work with this daily.
2) Key areas to build testimony around
a) School districts lack a predictable, sustainable funding mechanism which impacts programming for students and the ability to attract and retain quality educators in our districts.
b) Removal of enrollment from the Sparsity Aid Formula (some legislators have expressed interest in doing this)
c) School choice funding is impacting our property taxpayers and there is a lack of transparency of where their tax dollars are being allocated.
d) Funding for school mental health.
e) Increase to Special Education categorical appropriation.
f) The ever-changing role of the traditional community public school and the responsibilities and expenses associated with the mandates imposed upon our districts.
g) Unfunded Mandates: Although well meaning, new programs are often mandated by the state.

Informative links
Blue Ribbon Commission website
Blue Ribbon Commission members
Blue Ribbon Commission mission and directive
Legislative Fiscal Bureau school finance documents

From the NREA
NREA Research WebinarEducational Attainment among Rural Students: Current Knowledge and Future Directions

This webinar will help you answer questions, such as:
1. What is the status of educational attainment among rural students in the United States?
2. What does this mean for parents and educators working with rural students?
3. What questions should we be asking as we look to understand rural students’ educational goals?
Please join us on: Tuesday March 27, 2018 from 11:00:12:00 EST.
To register please RSVP here.

Call for Proposals for the NREA Convention and Research Symposium:
The convention will be held OCTOBER 11–13, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. If you have a great rural program to share with others I encourage you to submit a proposal.
Submit your proposal here.

Director Events from Last Week
Mar. 12 – Ed Issues Weekly Call
Mar. 12 – Conference call with Mara Tieken
Mar. 12 – Sparsity Aid Bill signing – Riverdale HS
Mar. 13 – CESA 3
Mar. 15 – School Safety Conference Call
Mar. 16 – WPEN Meeting

Director Events for the Upcoming Week
Mar. 19 – Ed Issues Weekly Call
Mar. 19 – Blue Ribbon Commission on Funding – La Crosse
Mar. 20 – UW Financial Aid
Mar. 20 – Meeting with Rural Partners
Mar. 20 – UW-Whitewater – Increasing rural student teachers

AWSA Webinar on Licensing Changes
AWSA invites you to join our second webinar this year on significant changes to educator licensure in Wisconsin. The webinar will take place at 1:00 pm on Thursday, April 26.

With lifetime licensing coming into effect, there continue to be many questions from members and their staff about the status of the license they currently hold, as well as the lifetime status of other licenses they might hold (e.g., a principal who let his/her teaching license lapse but would like to receive a lifetime teaching license). The webinar will address frequently asked questions on lifetime licensing and provide an update on the licensure changes currently being proposed by the DPI. DPI TEPDL Director, David DeGuire, will be our guest, so you can trust that you are hearing answers to your questions from the person in charge of leading these changes for our state.

You will be able to access the webinar by registering at this link.

If you are not available, please know that we will be recording and posting the webinar online within 24 hours of the event.

Microsoft TechSpark – FREE Teacher Training This Summer in Green Bay -Deadline March 30th
Microsoft TechSpark is focused on Rural America. Our efforts are based mainly in Brown and Outagamie Counties, but I thought that this FREE training may be of interest to the schools within your network.

Microsoft’s TechSpark Initiative is excited to partner with CESA 7, Marquette University, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and to bring Computer Science Teacher training to Green Bay this summer (June 25 – 29). No computer science experience needed to get started.

This training is FREE thanks to Microsoft grants and other funders.
Event Details: CSD Training Slide
Register Now

Resources and Grant/Scholarship Reminders
• WiRSA Rural Awards – Click here for more information
WiRSA Scholarships
Clif Bar Family Foundation Grants
ESEA Information
DPI Budget Summary
Licensure Webinar
NREA Conference in Denver, Colorado– October 11-13
2018 WiRSA Conference, October 29-30, Glacier Canyon in Wisconsin Dells