Category Archives: National Issue

Where Does The Feds’ Withdrawal of Transgender Guidance Leave School Districts?

Federal Enforcement Actions: The joint decision by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education to withdraw and rescind past guidance on transgendered students means those departments will not be independently pursuing enforcement actions against schools and/or threatening the loss of federal funds based on a school district’s alleged failure to implement each and every aspect of the former guidelines.

As a practical matter, enforcement of the rescinded guidance has been on hold since last August when a federal district court in Texas issued a nationwide injunction blocking enforcement. (See previous post.) The Wisconsin Department of Justice was one of several state departments that joined a federal lawsuit challenging the guidance that resulted in the issuance of that injunction. (See previous post.) Given the latest action from the new Trump administration, that lawsuit is “essentially moot,” according to a state DOJ spokesman. Continue reading Where Does The Feds’ Withdrawal of Transgender Guidance Leave School Districts?

Feds Withdraw and Rescind Policy Guidance on Transgender Students

The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education have withdrawn and rescinded written policy and guidance statements related to transgender students that had been issued by the Departments in 2015 and 2016, including the “Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students” issued last May, in order to “further and more completely consider the legal issues involved.”  The Departments will no longer rely on the views expressed in those documents.

The now-withdrawn statements had taken the position that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Title IX’s implementing regulations, which expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, require school districts to provide students with access to sex-segregated facilities (such as restrooms and locker rooms) on the basis of gender identity.

Continue reading Feds Withdraw and Rescind Policy Guidance on Transgender Students

Opioid Abuse Task Force Releases Recommendations; Including WASB-Initiated Measure

nygrenGovernor Scott Walker signed three Executive Orders related to the Opioid Abuse Task Force co-chaired by Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Representative John Nygren (pictured) which also released its recommendations for fighting the heroin and opioid epidemic plaguing Wisconsin and the nation.

One of the Executive Orders requests a special session of the Wisconsin State Legislature beginning on January 5, 2017, to consider and act upon several pieces of legislation including a measure brought to the task force by the WASB, relating to opioid antidote (e.g., Narcan) administration in schools.

Continue reading Opioid Abuse Task Force Releases Recommendations; Including WASB-Initiated Measure

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

Court Blocks New Federal Overtime Rule

laborFederal Judge Amos Mazzant, of the Eastern District of Texas granted a preliminary injunction Nov. 22 that delays implementation of a regulation set to take effect next week, on Dec. 1, that would raise the salary threshold under which many workers qualify for overtime.  The injunction will remain in place while the Court determines the U.S. Department of Labor’s authority to impose the rule and the rule’s validity.

Under the new standard most salaried workers earning up to $47,476 a year must receive time-and-a-half overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours during a week. That’s more than double the current salary threshold for overtime eligibility of $23,660.  There are concerns that this 100% increase in the salary threshold and the accelerated implementation of the requirement exceeds the fiscal capacity of many school districts. Continue reading Court Blocks New Federal Overtime Rule

Register Today for the 2016 Legislative Advocacy Conference

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With the state’s finances once again looking tight, what will the 2017-19 state budget bring for public schools?  How will the 2016 election shape our state and federal government? What does polling tell us about how voter attitudes produced the results seen on November 8 and what do those attitudes portend for the future? How severe is Wisconsin‘s teacher shortage and what steps does the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) plan to take to address the supply and demand for educators?

We will examine all of these questions and more with special guest experts (see past the break) at the WASB Legislative Advocacy Conference. Click here to Register. Continue reading Register Today for the 2016 Legislative Advocacy Conference