Voices in Rural EducationWisconsin’s rural residents talk about their memories, perspectives on life in rural Wisconsin today and their hopes for the future.
Kim Kaukl, Executive Director
The Community’s public school is the greatest discovery, and the cornerstone of our democratic society – Horace Mann
Last week was busy with the Lame Duck session. I encourage you to look at the information below on Building the People’s Budget, the update from last week’s legislation, information from the Girls Who Code, Redefining Ready, DOJ and NREA.
Governor Elect Evers and Lt. Governor Barnes Listening Sessions – “Building the People’s Budget”
The Governor Elect and Lt. Governor Elect will be hosting these events across the state – These events are great opportunities for people to have their voices heard and their policy items prioritized. Our first budget session is this Tuesday in Green Bay, so please encourage folks to attend.
Information about each session, as well as the link to RSVP to each event, is below:
• December 11, 4:30PM-6:00PM: Green Bay, University of Wisconsin Green Bay, Phoenix Room. 2420 Nicolet Dr, Green Bay, WI 54311. Register for Green Bay session at this Green Bay link.
• December 12, 12:00PM-1:30PM: Wausau, Wausau Labor Temple. 318 South Third Avenue, Wausau, WI 54401. Register for the Wausau session at this Wausau link.
• December 18, 12:00PM-1:30PM: La Crosse, American Legion Post 52. 711 6th St South, La Crosse, WI 54601. Register for the La Crosse session at this La Crosse link.
• December 19, 4:30PM-6:00PM: Milwaukee, United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County Volunteer Center. 200 West Pleasant Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212. Register for the Milwaukee session at this Milwaukee link.
Reminder to Support the DPI budget proposal for students with disabilities
Support continues to grow in backing the DPI Budget request for students with disabilities by the number of School Board resolutions already submitted and recent press this issue has received. With State categorical funding for students with disabilities frozen for the past decade, moving to a 60% reimbursement rate for public schools would set the path toward the 90% reimbursement rate currently provided to private schools.
For those that have not submitted a resolution, I would encourage you to explore doing so. I have attached a resolution approved by the Pecatonica School Board as an example. (Thank you, Jill Underly, District Administrator at Pecatonica.) If you do move forward with a resolution, please share a copy with me.
Girls Who Code
WiRSA is partnering with the Girls Who Code organization. Girls Who Code is an after-school program that encourages girls to explore the computer science field. The curriculum is free, and more information will be coming out in the next couple of weeks. Girls Who Code Overview
WiRSA took part in the Wisconsin Redefining Ready Workshop on Thursday and will be working closely with the CESA’s to get the word out on this data driven local report card that can tell a more in-depth story about your schools and students. More information to follow I the future. Here is a link to the national website.
Legislative Update for the Week of December 10
Nothing Educational Scheduled at the time of this Update.
December 3-5 Update –The JFC took up these five fast tracked bills that limits the power of the Governor Elect and AG Elect powers and has language that could impact the Common School Fund and a bill regarding moving the 2020 Primary. All 5 Bills passed the JFC along party lines and then went to the floor of both houses on the 4th and 5th and passed both houses with some modifications. The only piece that was truly pulled was moving the election. These bills are now waiting to see if Governor Walker will sign them.
AB 1069 AB 1070 AB 1071 AB 1072 AB 1073
December 6 Update – Study Committee on the Investment and use of School Trust Funds – WiRSA and other organizations were able to stop these bills and the proposed constitutional language that were crafted in a way that could negatively impact the fund.
National Level Legislative Update From NREA/CEF
Stop-gap government funding to be extended until December 21 – The House of Representatives has canceled votes for this week due to the death of former President George H.W. Bush, making it impossible to finalize negotiations on the seven incomplete fiscal year (FY) 2019 government funding bills this week. Programs under those seven bills are operating on a short-term extension that expires on Friday, but Congress is planning to extend the funding for another two weeks, until December 21, through unanimous consent in the House. (These negotiations do not impact education funding as the full-year FY 2019 Labor-HHS-Education funding bill was signed into law in September.) We’re hearing that virtually all spending issues are settled except for how much funding to provide in the Homeland Security bill for a southern border wall. We’re also hearing that Congress is likely to add a modest disaster funding package to the bill. It’s possible that the House will first pass an omnibus appropriations bill that satisfies a majority of Republicans but that is a non-starter in the Senate – for example, a bill that includes policy riders, more than $5 billion for a border wall, and steep cuts to other programs. After that fails to go forward, there could be final negotiations on an omnibus that includes all seven bills, or perhaps a year-long extension of funding for all seven bills or an extension just for the Homeland Security bill with an omnibus appropriations bill for the other six bills. Ultimately, we think that the difficult decisions will get made as the drop-dead deadline for negotiations draws near, and December 21 qualifies as that!
Everything you wanted to know about the sequester – As mentioned at the Friday meeting, CEF budget expert extraordinaire, Sarah Abernathy, has written the attached short primer on budget sequestration and the discretionary spending caps, including the history of congressional action and what’s ahead for next year. In short, non-defense discretionary (NDD) funding faces a cut of $55 billion (9%) for FY 2020, setting up the need for Congress to enact another increase in the NDD and defense caps. The appropriations process could start before Congress enacts a deal to raise the caps, but moving forward without an agreement on the totals for defense and NDD makes it hard for the House and Senate to produce negotiable bills, and the agreement would need to be in place before all the bills could be signed into law, if the President is willing to sign bills that are on track to break the caps. If the total of all the bills broke the caps, an automatic across-the-board sequester would be triggered at the end of the Congressional session to bring spending down to the levels of the caps.
From the US Department of Education
STEM STRATEGIC PLAN
This past week, President Trump released a plan to strengthen science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. The five-year strategic plan seeks to ensure that all Americans have access to quality STEM education and safeguard America’s place as a global leader in innovation and employment. The Administration’s goals include building a strong foundation of STEM literacy, increasing diversity in STEM careers, and preparing the STEM workforce of the future. To achieve the goals, the plan lays out key pathways: developing and enriching strategic STEM partnerships, engaging students where disciplines converge, and advancing computational thinking as a critical skill for America’s workforce. The plan was collaboratively developed by the National Science and Technology Council Committee on STEM Education and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (fact sheet and blog post).
From the DOJ
School Threat Assessment Conference
the Office of School Safety is announcing a School Threat Assessment Conference to be held March 18-19, 2019, at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva Wisconsin. There will be no charge for this event. There is a block of hotel rooms available at the state rate of $82.00 per night for Sunday, March 17, and Monday March 18. There are a limited number of seats for this event, so please encourage your partners to register early!
This conference will count toward the Threat Assessment Team Training requirement. All educators, law enforcement and school based behavioral health/social services professionals are encouraged to attend. Please see the attached tentative agenda for more information.
From the NREA
Rural school leaders have some of the most complex roles in education — and some of the highest attrition
Can Innovative Rural Schools Stem the Urban Bleed?
Survey: Students Say Schools Don’t Give Them Skills They Need to Succeed After Graduation
NEPC Review: Everything You Know About State Education Rankings Is Wrong (Reason Foundation, November 2018) and Fixing the Currently Biased State K-12 Education Rankings (University of Texas, September 2018)
Director Events from Last Week
December 3 – Joint Finance Committee Hearing
December 3- Stakeholder Meeting regards to School Trust Fund
December 4 – Meeting with Steeping Wellness
December 4 – Stakeholder Meeting regards to School Trust Fund
December 6 – Legislative Council Study Committee on School Trust Fund
December 6-7 – Redefining Ready Workshop in Green Bay
Director Events for the Upcoming Week
December 10 – Stakeholders Conference Call
December 11 – Meeting on 2019-20 budget
December 12 – Conference Call with Lifemap
December 13 – Meeting with UW System on Opioid Grant possibility
December 14 – Follow-up Meeting on DPI Quality Matters
Resources and Grant/Scholarship Reminders
• 2019 WiRSA Conference, Save the Date, October 28-29, Glacier Canyon in Wisconsin Dells.
• 2019 WiRSA Scholarship Information