Ahead of today’s agency briefing on the DPI budget, the WASB sent a memo to Joint Finance Committee (JFC) members outlining our concerns about a provision in the governor’s proposed budget that requires each school district to certify that it is using the “tools” provided under Act 10 in order to receive the proposed increases of $200 and $204 in per pupil categorical aid under the budget bill.
Specifically, this provision requires each school district to certify to the DPI that “the employees of the district will be required to pay at least 12 percent of all costs and payments associated with employee health care coverage plans in that year” in order to receive the increased per pupil aid.
The memo respectfully asks that this provision be removed from the budget bill or that, at a minimum, this provision be modified to take into account the reality that under revenue limits school districts have used flexibilities provided by Act 10 to generate cost savings and reduce personnel costs in a variety of ways.
The memo cites examples of many ways districts have achieved cost savings and reduced their costs other than simply increasing school employees’ share of payments for health care coverage.
View WASB Memo – Opposition to Act 10 Certification Requirement in Gov’s Proposed Budget.
As the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC) began hearing briefings from various state agencies concerning their budget requests, Department of Administration Secretary Scott Neitzel used a portion of his testimony to highlight investments in K-12 education Gov. Walker is proposing. Here is what Sec. Neitzel told committee members earlier today:
Continue reading DOA Secretary Neitzel’s Testimony to JFC Touts Investments in K-12 Education in Gov’s Proposed Budget
A bill draft (LRB-2039/1) released today by state Sen. Dave Craig (R-Big Bend, Town of Vernon) and state Rep. Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) would provide for the so-called “constitutional carry” of firearms in Wisconsin. Under this proposal, dubbed the “Right to Carry” bill, gun owners who can legally own a firearm would no longer be required to obtain a license in order to carry a concealed firearm in Wisconsin.
(Note: Current law generally prohibits an individual from carrying a concealed weapon unless the individual has a state Department of Justice-issued license to carry a concealed weapon, which requires a background check and proof of training, or the individual is a qualified current or former law enforcement officer.)
The bill unveiled today (3/28) would eliminate current state law prohibitions against carrying firearms in specified places, including school zones, but would retain provisions in current law that allow certain persons or governing bodies to post their buildings and grounds so that individuals who carry a firearm in violation of the posting would commit trespass.
For schools, the bill would eliminate the existing state gun free school zones law, which prohibits individuals generally from carrying a firearm on school grounds and prohibits individuals who do not hold a license to carry a concealed weapon (a CCW license) from carrying a firearm in a school zone. However, schools would be allowed to post their buildings and grounds to prohibit weapons possession under state trespassing laws.
Continue reading Bill to Allow “Constitutional Carry” of Firearms Could Impact Schools, Boards
A divide among lawmakers about how to deal with Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed state budget bill threatens to significantly reduce or even potentially eliminate the increased state aid the governor has proposed for schools.
Some lawmakers are actively pushing a plan for the Legislature’s budget–writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC) to reject the governor’s proposal and instead build the 2017-19 state budget from the current budget—called the “base budget” in Capitol lingo.
At stake are the substantial increases Gov. Walker has proposed for public schools, including increases in per pupil aid, aid targeted specifically to rural schools and funding from school-based mental health services, to name a few.
Working from the base budget rather than Gov. Walker’s proposal would erase the proposed funding increases for public schools as a starting point for budget discussions. This would put public schools back to square one in the budget debate.
Please contact your lawmakers as soon as possible and urge them to WORK FROM THE GOVERNOR’S BUDGET PROPOSAL. (Click Find My Legislators, then click on the map to get contact information for your legislators.)
The decision will be made very soon. JFC hearings on state agency budgets begin this week and public hearings will begin next week (April 3). (See previous post.)
Continue reading ALERT: Aid Increases for Schools Under Threat From Plan to Scrap Gov’s Budget
After a postponement of Thursday’s (3/23) scheduled vote, the U.S. House of Representatives may take up its bill to repeal and replace sections of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also called Obamacare, later today (3/24).
The bill includes numerous changes to the ACA, but most significantly for schools, the bill modifies how the federal government will fund the Medicaid program (also known as Medical Assistance or MA), including how the federal government funds their share of state Medicaid Costs. The bill would enact a per capita cap on federal Medicaid payments to states, thus jeopardizing the Medicaid funding schools receive to provide healthcare services to students, including students with disabilities. Continue reading Federal Healthcare Changes Could Impact Students and Schools
The U.S. Department of Education faces a 13.5 percent cut ($9.2 billion) under the Trump administration federal budget blueprint released today, a plan that also boosts charters and vouchers and calls for certain federal funds targeted to aid the education of low-income students to follow children who move from one public school to another.
The Washington Post reports that the so-called “skinny budget” plan would downsize or eliminate a raft of grant programs, including grants for teacher training and after-school and summer programs, among others. The cuts, among the steepest the agency has ever sustained, would be coupled with a historic investment — $1.4 billion — in charter schools, private schools and other school-choice initiatives. Continue reading Trump Administration Budget Plan Slashes Education Department, Boosts Charters and Vouchers