Legislative Update: Republicans strip Evers’ budget of key items

The Joint Finance Committee Thursday killed a plan for $1.4 billion in federal funding that would have helped fund schools, roads and healthcare. The party-line vote to deny full Medicaid expansion was followed by a vote on a huge package of recommended budget provisions that would have increased special education funding and teacher quality measures, plus require transparency and accountability for taxpayer-funded private schools. “Wisconsin educators and parents have turned out in droves to be clear about our No. 1 priority – our students,” said WEAC President Ron Martin. “Our dedication is strong – we will continue to advocate in the best interest of our students for equitable funding for public schools.”

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With schools ‘at the tipping point,’ educators ask legislators to ‘do the right thing’ and pass Evers’ budget

As the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee concluded its statewide budget hearings Wednesday in Green Bay, educators continued to encourage legislators to “do the right thing” and support Governor Evers’ budget plan that supports children, public schools and our dedicated teachers and education support professionals. “Green Bay Area Public Schools, and schools around Wisconsin are at a tipping point,” said said Green Bay special education teacher Justin Delfosse, who is president of the Green Bay Education Association. “Wisconsin has neglected funding for public education for too long.”

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Voters support ‘major increase’ in special education funding

A large majority of Wisconsin’s registered voters – 74 percent – agree with Governor Evers that there should be a “major increase” in state aid for special education, according to results from the latest Marquette University Law School poll. As part of his state budget plan, Evers has proposed a $600 million increase.

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Educators ask Joint Finance Committee to support public education funding increases and measures to attract and retain quality teachers

Advocates of public education testified in Janesville Friday at the first of four state budget hearings by the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, expressing strong support for Governor Evers’ proposals to increase public education funding and to attract and retain quality educators.

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Governor Evers supports public schools, educators in his first State Budget Address

Governor Tony Evers Thursday night unveiled a state budget increasing state funding of public K-12 schools by $1.4 billion over the next two years, requiring that teachers receive preparation time as part of their workday, and achieving two-thirds state funding of education without raising property taxes. 

In addition, he made the case for higher educator pay, saying, “Wisconsin pays our public school teachers less than the national average… We need to do our part to make sure our educators know that the work they do is valued and to use these funding increases to do everything they can to keep our talented educators here in Wisconsin.”

“Governor Evers listened to the people and is making public schools a priority,” said Ron Martin, a teacher and president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council. “Through this budget, he reveals the heart of an educator – embracing opportunity for all students, protecting the most vulnerable among us, and respecting the noble profession of teaching.”

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Legislative Update – October 5

A bill that is being circulated threatens teachers’ rights to access the statutory grievance procedure that includes review by an impartial hearing officer. … A bill is being drafted that aims to give teachers information about violent crimes committed by students. … A full state budget summary is now available. … The Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council has finalized the Agreed-Upon Bill for the 2017-18 Legislative Session. … A bill prescribing the way school districts conduct competitive bidding is moving ahead in the Senate.

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Governor signs state budget, vetoes provision designed to help low-spending districts

The governor Thursday signed the state budget into law, after using his veto power on several provisions. The budget is a mixed bag for public schools. It represents a 6 percent increase in state funding for K-12 schools – the first public school increase in six years. But it continues the state’s practice of siphoning funds from public schools to subsidize private school tuition and upends teacher licensure rules. Also, the governor vetoed a provision designed to help low-spending districts.

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Legislative Update – September 20 – Committee backs bill to repeal gun-free school zones

The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety has approved SB 169, a bill to repeal Wisconsin’s “gun-free school zones” statute. The bill was met with heated debate at a public hearing in May and many news outlets have editorialized against it. The bill would allow people to carry concealed guns without getting training or state permits and in some cases bring them onto school grounds.

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State budget sent to governor is a mixed bag; WEAC advocates for several vetoes

With the governor likely to act soon on a state budget that includes a funding increase at long last for public schools, WEAC members are pleased elected officials have responded to the public’s call to increase funding for public schools. And while educators are welcoming the positive aspects of the budget document, they are also advocating for several vetoes on provisions that do not serve students well.

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