Legislative Update: June 10

Assembly Education Committee to meet. The Assembly Education Committee will meet Thursday to vote on two teacher licensing bills.

  • Special Education Licensure (AB 194). This bill is almost identical to one that was circulated a couple of years back. This makes exceptions for a particular license area, special education, which could open the door 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. Specifically, this bill allows the Department of Public Instruction to issue an initial license as a special education teacher to an individual who successfully completes a course in the teaching of reading and reading comprehension, provided the individual satisfies all other requirements for licensure by DPI. Current law requires, as a condition for receiving an initial license to teach in special education, that an individual passes an examination identical to the Foundations of Reading test.

  • Out-of-State Teacher License Reciprocity (AB 195). This 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. 

The Committee will also hold public hearings on two bills:

  • Supplemental state aid for consolidated school districts (AB 223). This creates a new aid program for certain consolidated school districts. To be eligible, the consolidation must take effect on or after July 1, 2020, and the consolidated school district’s maximum allowable levy rate must be greater than the lowest levy rate of the school districts that were consolidated to create the school district (underlying school districts). If the criteria is satisfied, in the first school year following the consolidation, the consolidated school district would be entitled to aid in an amount equal to the consolidated school district’s equalized value multiplied by the difference between the maximum allowable levy rate of the consolidated school district and the lowest levy rate of the underlying school districts (base aid amount). In the second school year, the consolidated school district would be entitled to aid in an amount equal to 80 percent of the base aid amount. The amount of the aid would be reduced by 20 percent each year for six years.
  • Shared costs and secondary cost ceiling for general equalization aids. (AB 224)Under current law, the equalization formula provides three tiers of state support for school districts. The second tier of support is for costs per pupil between $1,000 and the secondary cost ceiling. Under current law, the secondary cost ceiling per pupil is set at 90 percent of the previous school year statewide shared cost per pupil. Beginning in the 2020-21 school year, this bill increases the secondary cost ceiling to 100 percent of the previous school year statewide shared cost per pupil. A school district’s shared cost is one of the factors used to calculate a school district’s equalization aid.

    Generally, under current law, a school district’s shared cost is the sum of the school district’s expenditures from its general fund and its debt service fund. Under this bill, beginning in the 2020-21 school year, expenditures from either a school district’s general fund or debt service fund that are authorized by an operating or capital referendum held after the date on which this bill becomes law are excluded from the school district’s shared cost if the school district is a negative tertiary school district.

    A school district is a negative tertiary school district if its equalized valuation exceeds the tertiary guaranteed valuation per member. In other words, under the bill, a negative tertiary school district will not lose equalization aid for operating and capital expenditures that exceed the tertiary guarantee and are funded by referenda approved after this bill becomes law.