WEAC Education Advocacy Update

The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau has released information on 2019-20 general school aid amounts, including the payments for each school district in this school year. This year, over $4.7 million from the general fund is directed toward general school aids. The report shows 399 of Wisconsin’s 421 school districts are eligible for equalization aid, by far the largest percentage of the total payments. In addition, 25 districts receive integration aid, and 61 districts can receive special adjustment aid.

Bills We’re Watching
See all the bills we’re watching at www.weac.org/bills

  • Family and Medical Leave (AB 666 / SB 596). This bill would expand the family and medical leave law to allow an employee covered under that law to take family leave to care for a grandparent, grandchild, or sibling and for the active duty of a family member, lowers the threshold number of employees above which an employer must allow an employee to take family or medical leave, and establishes a family and medical leave insurance program under which certain covered individuals may receive benefits while taking family or medical leave. The Senate version was referred to the Senate Committee on Insurance, Financial Services, Government Oversight and Courts and the Assembly bill was sent to the Committee on Family Law.
  • Dyslexia Awareness Training (AB 601 / SB 552). This would require the Department of Public Instruction, in consultation with the International Dyslexia Association–Wisconsin Branch, Inc., to develop or adopt an online dyslexia awareness training. The training must cover the indicators of dyslexia and evidence-based interventions and adaptations for dyslexia. Additionally, if DPI develops the online dyslexia awareness training, the bill requires DPI to design the training so that it can be completed in no more than two hours. Under the bill, in the 2020-21 school year, each school board must require each teacher, supervisor, administrator, professional staff member, and paraprofessional staff member in the school district to complete the online dyslexia awareness training. Beginning in the 2021-22 school year, the bill requires each school board to require each newly hired teacher, supervisor, administrator, professional staff member, and paraprofessional staff member to complete the online dyslexia training within six months of becoming an employee of the school district. Referred to the Assembly and Senate education committees.
  • Dyslexia Program (AB 604 SB 571). This bill would require a school board to develop or adopt a program to identify and address pupils with dyslexia. Referred to the Assembly Education Committee and the Senate Committee on Universities, Technical Colleges, Children and Families.
  • Reading Readiness and Difficulties (AB 632 / SB 578). Under this bill, beginning in the 2020-21 school year, each school board and operator of an independent charter school must assess pupils in four-year-old kindergarten through second grade for reading readiness and reading difficulties using an assessment selected by the school board or operator of the independent charter school and a voluntary questionnaire about reading difficulties in a pupil’s family history. The bill further specifies that the assessment selected by the school board or operator of the independent charter school must evaluate whether a pupil possesses age-appropriate skills in phonological and phonemic awareness, rapid automatized naming, letter-word reading, and picture-naming vocabulary. Referred to the Assembly Education Committee and the Senate Committee on Universities, Technical Colleges, Children and Families.
  • Dyslexia Specialists (AB 635 / SB 579). This bill would require, beginning in the 2020-21 school year, the board of control of each cooperative educational service agency (CESA) to employ a dyslexia specialist. The bill defines a dyslexia specialist as an individual who meets specific criteria, including that the individual has at least five years’ experience in screening, identifying, and treating dyslexia and related conditions and that the individual has received advanced training in various topics related to dyslexia and related conditions. Referred to the Assembly Education Committee and the Senate Committee on Universities, Technical Colleges, Children and Families.