- The U.S. House of Representatives voted today (Thursday May 4) to approve a bill to repeal and replace the federal Affordable Care Act (a/k/a “Obamacare”) with new legislation known as the American Health Care Act (ACHA). The measure was passed on a 217-213 vote.
Among other things, the ACHA would make profound changes to the state-federal partnership program known as Medicaid or Medical Assistance, including reducing by $880 billion over the next 10 years the amount of Medicaid dollars the federal government sends to states. These changes would significantly impact the ability of students with disabilities and students in poverty to receive critically necessary health services in public schools. The changes would require schools to compete for limited Medicaid funding, which would likely result in arbitrary caps on the amount of Medicaid reimbursements made to public schools.
Continue reading U.S. House Passes Obamacare Repeal Bill, Deep Cuts to Medicaid Will Impact Special Education
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 following are the resolutions adopted by member school boards and submitted before the Sept 15 deadline to the WASB for review by the Policy & Resolutions Committee. The committee meets for the first time Sept 30-Oct 1.
The committee determines which resolutions to recommend be advanced to the Delegate Assembly, which meets annually at the time of the State Education Convention in January. If approved by the Delegate Assembly, the resolutions become the official positions of the WASB. Resolutions turned down by the committee are still afforded an opportunity to be brought to the Delegate Assembly floor under the WASB’s Bylaws. Continue reading The Resolutions Submitted by School Boards for Policy and Resolutions Committee Review
State agencies submitted their 2017-19 budget requests to Gov. Scott Walker this week. The governor’s office will now use those requests to shape the budget proposal that Gov. Walker will unveil in February. These agency “asks” also show public school leaders where the major competing interests are for scarce general purpose revenues (GPR)–the funds used to pay out school aids, among other things.
Overall, agencies are seeking roughly $700 million more in GPR over the base given to build their budget requests, according to WisPolitics.com. This figure does not include the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) requests related to school aids. Those requests, likely to total in the hundreds of millions, will be made in early November after general aid allocations to school districts are certified. Continue reading Budget Requests Show Competing Interests for State Budget Dollars
The Assembly Speaker’s Task Force on Urban Education has released its final report. The task force was convened by Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) last year and chaired by Rep. Jessie Rodriguez (R-Franklin) with the aim of improving educational outcomes at urban schools.
Vice Chair Sondy Pope (D-Mt. Horeb) issued a statement indicating Democrats on the task force would be releasing their own separate report soon.
The recommendations are:
Continue reading Urban Education Task Force Releases Recommendations
Every October, state government issues its Annual Fiscal Report (AFR) for the fiscal year ending the prior June 30. The latest AFR shows Wisconsin closed its books for the 2014-15 state fiscal year with a general fund surplus of $135.6 million. Compared to annual general fund spending of $15.5 billion, that surplus is a modest amount. However, notes the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX), compared to the $283.4 million deficit forecast last January, this is a noticeable improvement.
The state’s general fund comes largely from income and sales tax receipts. The AFR showed that the state’s 2014-15 general tax collections grew by $593.1 million (4.3 percent) over the previous year, which WISTAX notes is moderate in historic terms. Continue reading State Fiscal Report Shows Where the Money Comes From and Where It Goes