2021-23 Legislative Session

COVID

VETOED: COVID Relief  Plan (AB-1).  Includes an array measures to address the pandemic. Provisions impacting public schools include a requirement for a two-thirds vote by school boards to provide virtual lieu of in-person instruction between January 11-June 30, 2022. The vote to extend virtual instruction would have to occur every 14 days; provide flexibility for rehiring retirees in critical positions; prohibiting employers from requiring vaccinations and providing immunity for schools and other entities from civil liability. Read more about it here.

VOUCHERS

Open Enrollment and Vouchers (SB-41/AB-59). Increases the income eligibility for the statewide voucher program to 300 percent of the federal poverty level, allows a pupil to submit full-time open enrollment applications to an unlimited number of nonresident school districts, and prohibits a resident school district from denying an open enrollment application if the basis for the application is that it is in the best interests of the pupil. Passed by the Senate and Assembly Education Committees. The Assembly will vote on AB-59 Tuesday, May 11.

Voucher Enrollment Deadlines. (SB-302 / AB-261). Extends the DPI authority through October 31, 2021 to waive some state rules, including some deadlines for participating in voucher programs. Signed into law.

EQUITY

Transgender Athletic Participation (AB 195 / SB 323 & AB 196 / SB 322). These bills to limit transgender athletic participation are up for public hearings Wednesday. Learn more and take action.

African American History (AB 273). Requires model K-12 curriculum on African American history. There is no companion Senate bill.

Signed into Law:

Holocaust Education (Act 30). This incorporates the Holocaust and other genocides into the state model social studies standards. WEAC registered in support.

GENERAL

School Report Cards (SB-235 / AB-216). This bill requires DPI, for purposes of measuring a school district’s improvement, to exclude data derived from students who were in state care for half the year or more. A public hearing has been held by Assembly Committee on Corrections.

Child abuse and neglect reporting hotline (SB-238 / AB-222). This requires information on the child abuse and neglect reporting hotline to be posted in school buildings.

Timing of School Aid (SB-177 / AB-162) Changes the timing of equalization aid payments to school districts.  Passed by Senate Education Committee and Assembly Committee on State Affairs.

School Start Date (SB-182 / AB-188) Allows schools to start prior to September 1st without a waiver.

Transportation to Private Schools (SB-221 / AB-160).This requires Milwaukee Public Schools to pay parents who had a contract to transport their children to private schools in 2019-20 the same payment for the 2020-21 school year and allows MPS to claim state transportation aid for those payments. Passed by Senate Education Committee. The Assembly Education Committee will vote on the bill Tuesday, May 11.

Educational Options (SB-231 / AB-220). Specifies that the youth apprenticeship program administered by the Department of Workforce Development must be included in the list of educational options that a school provides. The Assembly Workforce Development Committee will hold a public hearing Wednesday, May 12.

Circulating for Co-Sponsorship:

School Finance (LRB-1968) Requires the DPI to maintain an expenditure portal on its website, with the items to be included recommended by a committee. Memo

Redistricting (LRB 0756). Requires nonpartisan development of redistricting plans that include equal population requirements, boundaries that coincide with municipal wards and convenient contiguous territory. Stipulates the number of assembly districts must fall between 54 – 100 and that the number of senate districts may not be more than one-third nor less than one-fourth of the number of assembly districts. States districts must be drawn so the intent nor the result of the plan abridges the equal opportunity of racial or language minorities to participate in the political process. Read more.

Athletic Associations (LRB 3322). Prohibits a school district from being a member of an interscholastic athletic association unless it makes an exception to allow transfer students to participate in sports. The measure only impacts the 2021-22 school year and would allow students who transferred to an in-person school during the pandemic to be eligible for sports there, which is currently not allowed under the WIAA rules. Read more.