Legislative Update – September 13

The Senate and Assembly education committees will both meet next week. To contact your elected officials on any of the bills under consideration, use the “Find Your Legislators” link at www.weac.org/take-action. For help writing and submitting testimony, email Christina Brey, WEAC Public Affairs.

The Senate Education Committee will hold a public hearing Tuesday on the following bills WEAC is watching:

  • Character Education (SB 138AB 149). Would authorize the Department of Public Instruction to award grants to school districts for teachers, pupil service professionals, principals, and school district administrators to participate in professional development trainings in character education. Under the bill, DPI would be authorized to make these grants for 24 months.
  • School Board Meeting Notice (SB 160AB 170). This changes the way that school board meetings can be noticed. Notably, it provides that, “if a school district clerk or, in the clerk’s absence, the school district’s president determines that providing notice at least 24 hours before the meeting is, for good cause shown by the clerk or president, impossible or impractical, the clerk or resident may notify each school board member of the date, time, and place of the meeting less than 24 hours, but not less than 2 hours, before the meeting.”
  • Special Education Licensure (SB 183AB 194). This bill is almost identical to one that was circulated a couple of years back. This makes exceptions for particular license area, which could open the doors to more carving out of exceptions in specific licensing areas and lowers the standard for special education teachers, those teachers who serve Wisconsin’s most intellectually vulnerable population. This bill has already passed in the Assembly.
  • Out-of-State Teacher License Reciprocity (SB 184AB 195). Would change the way a person who has been educated and licensed to teach out of state can become licensed to teach in the state of Wisconsin. This bill would continue to allow a person who is educated and licensed out of state to begin teaching in Wisconsin with a 1 Year License with Stipulations. After two successful semesters, that person would then be eligible for a License Based on Reciprocity. Furthermore, this bill would move the License Based on Reciprocity to a Tier II Provisional License. This bill has already passed in the Assembly.

The committee will vote on the following bills prior to the public hearing:

  • Assembly Bill 53 Relating to: pupil records.
  • Assembly Bill 54 Relating to: fire, tornado, and school safety drills for public and private schools.
  • Assembly Bill 67 Relating to: information on the school district and school accountability report

The Assembly Education will hold public hearings Thursday on the following bills:

  • Exempting ‘high performing’ schools from weather makeup days (AB 115SB 112). Under this bill, a school district that was in one of the top two categories on the state report card would not be required to make up hours of direct pupil instruction that were missed because schools were closed due to an emergency or inclement weather. Students in districts that did not make that mark on the standardized test-based report cards would have to make up the days. The Senate Education Committee has not yet taken up the bill.
  • School Revenue Adjustment (AB-368SB 327). This bill would alter the school district revenue limit adjustment for declining enrollment and the prior year base revenue hold harmless adjustment. 

Assembly, Senate Floor Sessions. The state Assembly will be on the floor Oct. 10 with meeting dates for November yet to be announced. The Senate has asked senators to keep open Oct. 8 and Nov. 5 for floor dates.