Category Archives: Legislative Update Blog

Last virtual budget hearing held this week

THANK YOU to the school board members and administrators who testified at the Joint Finance Committee virtual budget hearing on Wednesday, April 28.

The following school board members testified:

  • Pablo Muirhead, Shorewood
  • Bob Peterson, Milwaukee
  • Kiley Cates, River Falls
  • Kay Eggert, Appleton
  • Brenda Warren, Green Bay
  • Cathy Olig, Menomonee Falls
  • Sara Booher, Menomonee Falls (Student Rep!)
  • Barb Herzog, Oshkosh

The following administrators also testified:

  • Bonita Basty, Business Manager, Birchwood
  • Stephen Murley, Superintendent Green Bay
  • Claudia Henrickson, Dir. Student Services, Green Bay
  • Cory Golla, Superintendent Menomonee Falls
  • Tanya Kotlowski, Superintendent, Necedah

Please let me know if you were there and I missed you. Thanks again to everyone for taking the time to advocate for your students’ needs!

Assembly education committee to hold info hearing on “School Funding as Related to the Counting of Students”

The state Assembly Committee on Education, chaired by Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) will hold an informational hearing on Tuesday, April 27 at 1:00 p.m. in Room 412 East of the State Capitol. The committee will receive invited testimony only from the Department of Public Instruction and Legislative Fiscal Bureau on the topic of “School Funding as Related to the Counting of Students”.

One of the WASB’s top budget priorities is to secure provisions that mitigate the effects of the drop in student membership counts (which affect both revenue limit calculations and per pupil aid allocations) caused by the pandemic. This was also one of the most-mentioned elements brought forward by school leaders who testified at budget hearings. Continue reading Assembly education committee to hold info hearing on “School Funding as Related to the Counting of Students”

DPI/DHS Webinar today (at 1:00 p.m.) on getting schools certified to conduct COVID-19 testing

As we reported in an earlier blog post, Wisconsin is receiving $175 million in federal funding to implement testing programs in schools.

The first phase of this testing program will include options for schools to begin conducting tests in Spring and Summer 2021. Future phases will expand testing options and supports available to schools in Fall  2021 and  during the 2021-22 school year. 

To provide school leaders with information about getting schools certified to become part of these new COVID-19  testing opportunities, the DPI and the state Department of Health Services will be conducting a webinar today (Friday, April 23) from 1:00-2:00 p.m. 

Advance registration is required to receive the Zoom link and call-in information. You can register here.

Continue reading DPI/DHS Webinar today (at 1:00 p.m.) on getting schools certified to conduct COVID-19 testing

Finance committee holds third public hearing on the state budget in Menomonie

THANK YOU to the school board members and administrators who testified at the Joint Finance Committee budget hearing in Menomonie on Thursday, April 23.

The following school board members testified:

  • Phil Lyons, Dr. Tim Nordin – Eau Claire
  • Teresa Ford (pictured), Garry Sievert – Howard Suamico
  • Hillarie Roth – Altoona 
  • Amy Riddle-Swanson – Menomonie
  • Todd Price – Kenosha
  • Christina Kintop – Superior
  • Mike Thompson – River Falls

The following district administrators also testified:

  • Randy Drost – Rice Lake
  • Patrick Olson – New Richmond
  • Joe Zydowski – Menomonie
  • Aaron Engel – La Crosse
  • Mike Johnson – Eau Claire
  • Jenny Starck – Cadott
  • Damian La Croix – Howard Suamico
  • Brian Misfeldt – Bloomer

Please let me know if you were there and I missed you. Thanks again to everyone for taking the time to advocate for your students’ needs!

Finance committee holds second public hearing on the state budget in Rhinelander

THANK YOU to the school board members and administrators who took to the turf of the Hodag Dome to testify at the Joint Finance Committee budget hearing in Rhinelander on Wednesday, April 22.

The following school board members testified:

  • Ron Counter – Rhinelander
  • Andy Merry – Antigo
  • Judy Conlin – Rhinelander (pictured)
  • Merlin Van Buren– Rhinelander
  • Duane Frey – Rhinelander
  • Cathy Schmit – Tomahawk
  • Deb Velleux – Tomahawk
  • Chrysa Ostenso – Ladysmith
  • Tricia Zunker – Wausau

The following administrators also testified:

  • Eric Burke – Rhinelander
  • Ben Niehaus – Florence
  • Scott Foster – Northland Pines
  • Tim Prunty – Antigo, Business Manager
  • Ben Heninger – Gresham, Principal

Please let me know if you were there and I missed you. Thanks again to everyone for taking the time to advocate for your students’ needs!

Governor announces $175 million to support COVID-19 testing in schools

From a DHS press release: Governor Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) today announced the state has received more than $175 million in federal funding to develop a program to support school-based COVID-19 testing for teachers, staff, and students. The program will be part of a comprehensive COVID-19 mitigation approach to assist schools in operating safely.

“We know this pandemic has been tough on students, educators, and staff and administration alike,” said Governor Evers. “Expanding access to testing is one tool we can use to help decrease disruption in classrooms across the state.” Continue reading Governor announces $175 million to support COVID-19 testing in schools

Assembly education committee to hold public hearing on Thursday (4/22)

The state Assembly Committee on Education, chaired by Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) will hold a public hearing on Thursday, April 22 at 10:00 am in Room 412 East of the State Capitol. The committee will receive public testimony on the following bills:

Assembly Bill 160 (Rep. Rodriguez) Relating to: payments to parents for transportation to a private school during the 2020-21 school year for pupils who reside in a first class city school district (MPS). Continue reading Assembly education committee to hold public hearing on Thursday (4/22)

Senate education committee to hold hearing on bill returning local control to school start date

The state Senate Committee on Education, chaired by Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, April 21 at 10:00 am in Room 411 South of the State Capitol. The committee will receive public testimony on the following bills:

Senate Bill 182 (Sen. Darling) Relating to: allowing local school boards to determine the start of fall classes in public schools.

WASB Position: Support, Resolution 1.22

Continue reading Senate education committee to hold hearing on bill returning local control to school start date

Puzzled about how best to spend federal COVID relief funds? Resources are available.

Last Friday (4/16), the WASB Government Relations team hosted Bob Soldner from the DPI as a guest at our weekly noon-hour Capitol Chat webinar.  Bob is the Assistant State Superintendent for School Finance and Management. 

In his presentation Bob described the DPI resources available to help districts with potential uses of federal “ESSER” funds.  (“ESSER” is an acronym that is short for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief.  These are the funds provided to K-12 education under the three main federal COVID relief packages.) Continue reading Puzzled about how best to spend federal COVID relief funds? Resources are available.

Final two in-person budget hearings are this week in Rhinelander and Menomonie

The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) will hold the final two in-person public hearings on the state budget this week:

  • Wednesday, April 21 in Rhinelander (Hodag Dome, School District of Rhinelander, 665 Coolidge Avenue, Rhinelander, WI 54501)
  • Thursday, April 22 at UW-Stout (Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center, 302 10th Ave E, Menomonie, WI 54751 *all attendees will be directed to park in Parking Lot #29)

The hearings are scheduled to start at 10am and take testimony until 5pm.

It is very important for K-12 to have a strong presence at these hearings. Lawmakers are not sold on increased school funding and school leaders cannot afford to be complacent. It is also a unique experience to present testimony at these hearings and listen to others. Board members who testify also receive WASB recognition points. Continue reading Final two in-person budget hearings are this week in Rhinelander and Menomonie