Legislative Update – June 6

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

Legislative Update

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has released details about the Assembly Republicans’ proposed education budget, which they introduced separately from the governor’s proposal to be considered by the Joint Finance Committee. In reaction to the Assembly budget, Senate leaders said they supported the JFC taking up the governor’s proposal as a starting point, or perhaps writing their own education funding plan. JFC leaders held off meeting this week to take up education, saying with this much turmoil it’s better to wait for “a gentleman’s agreement” between the Assembly and Senate before moving ahead. The Assembly plan has several different proposals for voucher funding, which we are analyzing. WisPolitics has linked to the Assembly document, and here are a few key points:

  • K-12 school funding would come in about $70 million less than the governor’s proposal, with less funding for per-pupil categorical aid and $50 less per pupil than the governor’s call of a $200 and $204 per-year increase.
  • The Assembly GOP plan would lower property taxes compared to current levels, it would fall short of the governor’s demand that property tax bills in 2018 would be lower than 2014.
  • The plan would benefit low-spending districts more than Walker’s proposal by raising the low-revenue ceiling.
  • The proposal includes a provision to only allow school districts to put referendums before voters in the spring or fall general elections. This local control restriction is one of several currently introduced as stand-alone legislation.
  • The plan would omit the provision proposed by the governor that districts prove they are “meeting the requirements” of Act 10 to shift healthcare costs onto employees.
  • The proposal calls for some increased funding for special education aid.

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.

Wednesday, June 14

  • Assembly and Senate floor sessions.

Thursday, June 15

  • The Joint Finance Committee will meet regarding objections to self-insurance. The governor’s budget proposal includes anticipated savings, about which elected leaders on both sides of the aisle have expressed doubts will be realized.

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