December Advocacy Tip: Why the Specifics Matter on School Funding Promises

AdvocacyAs we reported, Gov. Scott Walker recently reiterated his pledge to put additional money into public schools in the next state budget.  Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos have also echoed those comments.

While that is very good news that school boards should be pleased to hear, it raises important questions school leaders should be raising with their state lawmakers, including newly elected ones, and with the governor as he works to develop his budget proposal: How much additional money and will it translate into actual resources school boards can use?

As school leaders we are in the education business, so we need to educate our elected policymakers about how school funding works and how their budgetary decisions impact our schools. Together we are partners with the state in educating our children. Continue reading December Advocacy Tip: Why the Specifics Matter on School Funding Promises

School Districts Represented by GOP Members of Joint Finance Committee

jfc-1Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) will return as the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC), the powerful state budget-writing committee. Two new committee members, Rep. Mark Born of Beaver Dam and Rep. Mike Rohrkaste of Neenah, were appointed to replace retiring Rep. Dean Knudson (R-Hudson) while Rep. Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh) was removed from the committee.

See the full list below, along with the school districts each represents.  If you are a board member or administrator in one of these districts you are in a great position to have the ear of legislators who are very influential in the development of the state budget: Continue reading School Districts Represented by GOP Members of Joint Finance Committee

School Bus Safety Draws New Scrutiny

school busFollowing a recent tragic school bus crash in Tennessee, there is renewed attention on school bus safety and, in particular, calls for requiring safety belts on all school buses. It is likely that lawmakers on both the federal and state level will be considering potential legislation on this issue.

The WASB is open to looking at ways to make school bus transportation safer, including more rigorous screening and training of school bus drivers, but the WASB membership has a long-standing position on school bus seat belt mandates.

Resolution 3.51 adopted by the 1986 Delegate Assembly, reads, “The WASB opposes legislation requiring all school buses to be equipped with seat belts for students.” This position is based primarily on the questionable safety merits along with the costs involved. Continue reading School Bus Safety Draws New Scrutiny

How the WASB Takes Positions on Issues

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2016 Delegate Assembly

The simple answer: positions taken by the WASB are determined by our member school boards.

This is accomplished through a member-driven process that ultimately results in resolutions adopted by the WASB Delegate Assembly each January at the state education convention.

These adopted resolutions form the official positions of the WASB and guide the development of our Legislative Agenda.  Adopted resolutions are in effect for perpetuity unless amended or repealed and are compiled in the Resolutions Book. Continue reading How the WASB Takes Positions on Issues

WASB Board of Directors Sets 2017 Legislative Agenda

CapitolThe 2017 WASB Legislative Agenda has been approved by the Board of Directors and is posted on our website.  The agenda outlines these top priorities for the Government Relations (GR) team to focus on in their advocacy efforts during the first year of the upcoming 2017-18 legislative session:

  1. Preserving Governance of Publicly Funded Schools by Locally Elected Boards
  2. Meeting Unmet Student Mental Health Needs That Interfere with Student Learning
  3. Providing Necessary Resources for Public Schools

Continue reading WASB Board of Directors Sets 2017 Legislative Agenda

Speaker Vos: Increasing Education Funding a Top Priority in State Budget

vosAssembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) recently had a brief Q & A with the Racine Journal Times.  The first question asked  Speaker Vos  to name his top priorities  in the upcoming legislative session beginning in January.  He said the legislature’s number one job will be passing a balanced state budget in the first six months or so of 2017.  He then listed his priorities for the budget including:

“I would like to continue to increase our investment in education, especially public schools and universities.”

This is encouraging news for school districts and falls in line with recent comments made by Governor Walker.  We have also noted that increasing resources is crucial as revenues to public schools have not kept pace with inflation since the passage of Act 10 and there appears to be momentum for further school voucher initiatives following the election.