Legislative Update – June 12

With the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee holding off meetings last week and committing to none in the future, the division between Assembly and Senate Republicans around, among other topics, education is front-and-center. The Assembly is still pushing its own education budget that differs significantly from the governor’s, while leading senators say lawmakers should work off the governor’s proposal and the promise of per-pupil categorical aids of $200 and $204 over two years – or perhaps the Senate Republicans will make their own.

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Legislative Update – June 6

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.

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Legislative Update – June 5

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 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.

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Legislative Update – June 2

The Joint Finance Committee is expected to take up K-12 funding in the state budget next week, and there are several hearings set for stand-alone bills that impact students and public schools. Topics include restrictions on school referendums, special education funding, pupil testing and private school vouchers.

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Republican legislators expand proposed restrictions on school referendums

The first in a series of bills that restrict local control for conducting referendums, SB 187, received a public hearing this week, with some surprise changes. At the last minute, without providing an advance look to the public, legislators who make phony claims of supporting “transparency” and “local control” introduced a substitute amendment that significantly changed the reach of the proposal.

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Trump-DeVos cuts will ‘really hurt our public schools,’ Monona Grove teacher says

The cuts proposed by President Donald Trump and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos “are going to really hurt our public schools,” Monona Grove teacher Kelly Sullivan says. “There are a lot of people who are getting into this education privatization movement that are very dangerous because they are all about making profit off of students instead of being about the value of learning and the value of helping kids learn,” Sullivan says.

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