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

Senate Bill 302 (Sen. Stroebel) Relating to: the department of public instruction’s waiver authority related to parental choice programs, the Special Needs Scholarship Program, and independent charter schools.

WASB Position: Neutral. This is a technical bill supported by the DPI.

Senate Bill 221 (Sen. Bradley) 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).

WASB Position:  Monitoring.  May oppose based on research we are still conducting.

Senate Bill 235 (Sen. Bradley) Relating to: measuring a school district’s improvement for the school and school district accountability report.

WASB Position: Support, Resolution 3.185

Senate Bill 41 (Sen. Kooyenga) Relating to: Open Enrollment and Income Eligibility for the Statewide Voucher Program. 

Open Enrollment: This bill prohibits a resident school district from denying an open enrollment application for any reason and eliminates the current limit of three open enrollment applications during the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years. If more students use the changes made here to open enroll, the positive/negative impacts felt by districts regarding open enrollment would be increased.

Statewide Voucher Program: For 2021-22 school year, this bill increases the family income eligibility requirement for the WPCP to a family income that is no more than 300% (from 220%) of the federal poverty level, which is the same as the Racine and Milwaukee Parental Choice Programs. The impact of more students being eligible and potentially participating in the program will likely be felt by property taxpayers (DPI fiscal estimate). 

WASB Position: Oppose, Resolutions 2.70, 3.77

Senate Bill 177 (Sen. Jacque) Relating to: the timing of equalization aid payments to school districts. The result is that equalization aid will be paid to school districts in four equal installments (of 25% each) beginning in the 2025-26 school year.

WASB Position: Support, Resolution 2.20 (d)

Senate Bill 238 (Sen. Jacque) Relating to: requiring each school board to post the child abuse and neglect reporting hotline number in school buildings.

WASB Position:  Monitoring.

The committee will also hear from the Department of Public Instruction and the public on the following proposed rules:

  • Clearinghouse Rule 21-008 Relating to expanding virtual summer and interim session courses.
  • Clearinghouse Rule 21-011 Relating to changes to criteria relating to specific learning disabilities.

Notes: *Seating in Room 411 South may be limited. **Those who wish to testify remotely should contact Senator Darling’s office in advance for information. ***Additional public access may be provided through an overflow room and the State Capitol Rotunda. At the discretion of WisconsinEye, the meeting may also be streamed by WisconsinEye at wiseye.org/live/.