Public Hearing on CPR Mandate Bill Wednesday (Jan. 6)

The Senate Education Committee, chaired by state Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon), will hold a public hearing on  Senate Bill 412, relating to: providing lifesaving skills instruction to pupils on Wednesday, January 6, 2016 at  12:00 noon in Room  411 South of the State Capitol.

Note: The Committee will also hold an Informational Hearing on the topic of Mental Health and K-12 Schools immediately following the Public Hearing on SB 412.  Only invited guests will be speaking at the informational hearing.

This bill, authored by Senator Jerry Petrowski (R- Marathon) and Representative John Spiros (R-Marshfield), requires school boards to provide instruction in cardiopulmonary and cardiocerebral resuscitation in any health education course offered to pupils in grades 7 to 12 and to provide instruction about automated external defibrillators to pupils in grades 7 to 12, beginning in the 2017-18 school year.

Under current law, a school board, operator of an independent charter school, and governing body of a private school is required to offer instruction about cardiopulmonary and cardiocerebral resuscitation and to provide automated external defibrillators to pupils enrolled in high school grades.

Although the bill itself is an unfunded mandate, WASB staff has been in conversations with representatives of the American Heart Association (AHA), one of the bill’s main backers. The AHA indicates it is prepared to invest $75,000–enough to provide each CESA in the state with 100 kits (mannequins and training DVDs) for use in training students.

In addition, the AHA is working on a grant proposal with CESA 7 to provide substantially more funding.  If successful, this grant application would fund teacher training and provide those who successfully complete the training with kits they could take back to their districts.  The grant may also include funds to cover the cost of hiring substitutes while regular teachers are receiving training.  We are also encouraged by the opportunity for schools to partner with local fire/EMS and medical providers such as hospitals in an effort to reduce costs.

It is our understanding that if a school only provides the minimum instruction required by the bill (compression-only), it can be done in as little as 30 minutes and teachers will not be required to obtain any additional license or certification to do the training.

Since the WASB has no existing resolution specifically on this topic, because schools already have an existing similar requirement, and the significant effort by the bill authors to address our financial concerns, we will testify for information only (neither for nor against) at the public hearing.