A recently introduced Assembly Bill—Assembly Bill 267—aims to call attention to the growing impact of Wisconsin voucher programs on school property taxes.
The “Wisconsin Voucher Taxpayer Transparency Bill,” authored by state Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) would require property tax bills to include information from the school district where the property is located regarding the amount of any net reduction in state aid, if any, to the district as a result of pupils enrolled in the statewide voucher program, the Racine voucher program, or the Milwaukee voucher program. (See news release.)
Continue reading Bill Seeks Transparency on Property Tax Impact of Voucher Funding
Forty out of 65 referendum questions on Tuesday’s spring general election ballot statewide were approved by voters for an overall passage rate of 62%. This is down from the 82% overall approval rate of last November and the 77% seen in April, 2016.
This time, 29 questions were for debt issuance with 16 (55%) passing. Of the 36 questions in which voters were asked to allow the district to exceed the revenue limit, 24 asked to exceed the revenue limit on a non-recurring basis with 18 (75%) passing. Six of the 12 questions (50%) asking to exceed the revenue cap on a recurring basis were approved. Continue reading Support for School Referenda Down Statewide But Still Above Historical Average
A package of six bills labelled as “referendum reforms” was unveiled today by Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville), the Senate author of all but one of the bills, and a number of Assembly Republican authors, mostly from southeastern Wisconsin or the Fox Valley.
These six bills would:
Continue reading GOP Lawmakers Offer Package of Bills Restricting School District Referendums
The WASB Delegate Assembly met and voted on proposed resolutions submitted by school boards and vetted through the WASB Policy & Resolutions Committee last week in Milwaukee at the Joint Education Convention. A recap, the Delegate Assembly Reporter, has been posted on our website.
The Delegates approved resolutions on state funding for mental health supports in schools, repealing the Sept 1 start date mandate, adjustments to revenue limits to allow low spending districts to catch up, and reaffirming local school board governance in relation to recovery school districts or other mechanisms among others. See all of the items in the Delegate Assembly Reporter.
Governor Scott Walker recently sat down for end of the year interviews with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin State Journal, and the Associated Press.
On the school funding issue he again pledged additional state aid to schools in his 2017-19 state budget proposal which will be released in February.
According to the State Journal’s Matt DeFour: “He ( Gov. Walker) said he will increase the state-imposed limits on school district spending and then provide enough additional state aid to cover those increases, in order to keep property taxes lower than they were in 2010. He didn’t specify how much the increase would be, but said it would be lower than the $200 per pupil requested by the Department of Public Instruction.” Continue reading Gov. Walker Talks More About School Funding Increase in Next Budget; Questions Drug Testing Students
As 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