Legislative Update – June 5

WEAC Legislative Update

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Current WEAC Action Alerts

Ask committee to oppose referendum restriction bill

Tell your legislators to make public school funding a priority in the budget

Ask your senator to protect the WRS

While public education advocates were expecting the Joint Finance Committee could take up some measures relating to the K-12 budget soon, things seem to be at an impasse. The panel had not issued any official notices for meeting, so there’s no telling how long it will be before they take up education funding. We will continue to monitor the schedule and alert you of any developments.

The delay comes from a stir around school funding caused by the Assembly Republicans again floating the idea of creating their own education budget, which could cut about $90 million from the budget proposal currently on the table. Senators continue to push back hard, saying they will work off the original plan or may come up with their own instead of working together.

The Assembly and Senate are expected to hold floor sessions again on Wednesday, June 14.

Also making headlines is WEAC President Ron Martin, who penned an op-ed to underline the groundswell of support for neighborhood public schools – and let legislators know parents and educators are paying close attention to what happens in Madison. Read the column.

By the Issues
Community Schools. SB 282, creating community school start-up grants was introduced and referred to the Senate Committee on Education. Under this bill, the DPI would award competitive grants to school boards for community schools, as matching funds from the community. The bill defines a “community school” as a public school that focuses on improving student learning, strengthening families, developing healthier communities, working with community partners to provide additional services to the surrounding community, and providing wrap-around support services to pupils and their families but does not include independent charter schools or charter schools that are not an instrumentality of a school district. The bill specifically requires a portion of the grants to go to rural schools, high-poverty schools and to transform low-performing schools. The grants would be for five years, with opportunities to renew.

Higher Education.

  • SB 289 (companion bill AB 373): Requiring University of Wisconsin System schools to offer degree credit internships for each academic major. Referred to Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges.
  • SB 290: Three-year bachelor’s degree statements for University of Wisconsin System universities. Referred to Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges.

Coming Up:

Wednesday, June 7

  • Public hearings on two bills (SB-300 and SB-304) regarding student testing are scheduled.
  • The Assembly Financial Institutions Committee will meet to act on AB-280, which would require the incorporation of financial literacy into the curriculum of public schools.

Tuesday, June 13

  • The Joint Finance Committee has scheduled a meeting to decide on the self-insurance contracts from Gov. Scott Walker’s administration, which the JFC co-chairs said the committee will reject.

Wednesday, June 14

  • Assembly and Senate floor sessions.