Schimel Wants Every School That Applies to Receive School Safety Grant

By John Forester | April 26, 2018

From …

Attorney General Brad Schimel yesterday said he would like to see every school that applies for a grant under a new $100 million program receive some state assistance to improve safety measures.

Still, he acknowledged with some 3,100 public and private schools in Wisconsin, there will be limited resources. He noted if every school received an equal grant, it would work out to an average of $31,000.

“We know that we’re going to come short of money,” Schimel said at a news conference at St. Dennis Catholic School on Madison’s east side.

The awards will be split into two categories: primary grants for baseline improvements to schools such as door locks; and advanced grants for schools that have already met minimum security thresholds.

Schimel said the goal is for every Wisconsin school building to have a single, locked entry point that includes shatterproof glass. He expects about a third of the money to go toward those costs.

The advanced grants could be used for improvements such as video intercoms and exit door alarms. The money can’t be used to hire new staff or cover weapons, vehicles or body armor.

The applications are due June 8, and Schimel said the Department of Justice received one last night just hours after the agency began accepting them. He hoped to have the awards finalized by mid-June, expecting few schools would wait until the deadline to submit their applications.

To qualify for the money, all full-time teachers, aides, counselors and administrators will have to have at least three hours training in Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma Informed Care/Trauma Sensitive Schools before the end of the 2018-19 school year or show staff have already received such training.

While DOJ will notify schools of the awards this summer, schools will not see the payment until after the projects are completed. Schimel said those who fail to meet the training requirement will not be reimbursed for the safety measures.

Schools also will have to partner with law enforcement agencies to ensure their plans will be effective.

“We owe our children and communities the promise of safe school environments.

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Schimel to Announce More Details on School Safety Initiative

By John Forester | April 25, 2018

From …

AG Brad Schimel today will announce more details on the state’s $100 million school safety initiative during a news conference at a Catholic school on Madison’s east side.

The grants will start going out in June, and public and private schools are eligible for the awards.

Schimel yesterday announced the parameters of the $100 million grant system. That includes two different categories: Primary School Safety Grants, for baseline improvements to schools such as door locks; and Advanced School Safety Grants, for schools that have already met minimum security thresholds.

Of the $100 million available, around $35 million will be allocated for the primary category and the remaining $65 million would be for the advanced one.

See the news release here.

See news story from Wisconsin Public Radio here.

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Concurrent Enrollment Fix Signed by Governor

By John Forester | April 17, 2018

Assembly Bill 805, the so-called “Concurrent Enrollment Fix”, was signed into law yesterday by Governor Scott Walker as Act 307.  The SAA strongly supported this bill.

You might recall that the Early College Credit Program (ECCP) adopted in the 2017-19 State Budget increased school district fiscal exposure for participation in concurrent enrollment programs.  Act 307 simply exempts concurrent enrollment programs from the new ECCP requirements. See this Legislative Council Amendment Memo for a good summary of the bill’s provisions.

Special thanks to Rep. Dale Kooyenga for authoring this legislation.  Hats off as well to Elmbrook Superintendent Mark Hansen for his leadership in advocating for this important law change.

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Blue Ribbon Commission To Meet April 23rd

By John Forester | April 17, 2018

The Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding will hold a public hearing at 2:00pm on Monday, April 23rd at CESA 6, 2300 WI-44, Oshkosh, WI 54904.

Invited speakers include representatives from the following areas:  Appleton School District, Neenah School District, Lomira School District, and CESA 6.  Following the invited speakers, members of the public will be able to share their thoughts with the Commission.  This public testimony will be limited to 5 minutes for each speaker.  The hearing will conclude at 6:00pm.

As a reminder, here are the SAA’s discussion points for the Blue Ribbon Commission.  The SAA encourages members to use this information as well as examples from your district and your own expertise, in developing your communications to the Commission.  Stay tuned.  The SAA will keep members informed of Commission developments.

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Rep. Kleefisch Won’t Seek Re-Election

By John Forester | April 16, 2018

From …

Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, announced he won’t seek re-election this fall.

In his announcement posted on Facebook, the lawmaker from the 38th AD said he looks forward to his children knowing him outside of a public role.

Kleefisch, a former television news reporter, has served in the Legislature since 2004.

“From then until now, I have never stopped believing that hard work and heartfelt convictions can make this state a better place for the people who live here. I am blessed to have had such victories in fighting human trafficking, combating the opioid crisis, cracking down on sex offenders and making it easier for more hunters and anglers to get into Wisconsin’s great outdoors,” he wrote on Facebook.

Kleefisch is the 13th member of the chamber to decide against seeking re-election this fall. Six members have announced plans to retire without seeking another office; five are running for another office; one has already won a local office and resigned; and one joined the Walker administration.

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Supreme Court to Take Up DPI Case Again

By John Forester | April 16, 2018

The state Supreme Court agreed Friday to revisit one of its decisions from just two years ago to determine how much power Wisconsin’s schools superintendent has.

The case is packed with political implications because it pits Republican Gov. Scott Walker against one of his Democratic challengers, Superintendent Tony Evers.

Check out the rest of the news story by Patrick Marley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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School-Based Mental Health Grants Now Available

By John Forester | April 13, 2018

The most recent governor’s budget provides funding, beginning in fiscal year 2019, to create a new mental health grant program (Wis. Stat. sec. 115.367). The Department of Public Instruction will award grants to school districts, and operators of independent charter schools, to be used for the purpose of providing mental health services to pupils, in collaboration with community health agencies. Strategies may include co-locating community mental health clinics in schools and providing screening and intervention services. School boards and independent charter schools may apply for a grant individually or as a consortium of school boards, charter schools, or both; also, Cooperative Educational Service Agencies (CESAs) can be considered a consortium of school boards.

Grant application
Grant application guidance

Grant Writing Workshops

Grant writing workshops are optional. If you choose to participate, register for one session only.
April 18, 1:00-2:00 p.m.
April 25 2:00-3:00 p.m.
April 30 9:00-10:00 p.m.

For questions about this information, contact Beth Herman (608) 267-9242

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Vos Will Not Run for Congress

By John Forester | April 13, 2018

From … 

— Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he’s passing on a bid for the 1st CD following House Speaker Paul Ryan’s retirement announcement earlier this week. 

Vos, R-Rochester, said in a statement this morning he’ll instead seek re-election to the Assembly and “continue to focus on maintaining the strong, historic majority” in that chamber.

“While I know that our nation’s capital desperately needs more conservative reformers from Wisconsin, Michelle and I have decided that we can do more good continuing to push state-based conservative reforms,” he said.

Other possible GOP candidates include: state Sen. Dave Craig, a former aide to Ryan; UW Regent Bryan Steil, the general counsel at a plastic film manufacturing firm; state Rep. Samantha Kerkman, of Salem; and former Racine County Exec. Jim Ladwig, who now works at SC Johnson as the director of Global Community Affairs.

Declared Dems are ironworker Randy Bryce and long-time school teacher Cathy Myers.

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Schimel: Two-Thirds of Districts Have Expressed Interest in Safety Grants

By John Forester | April 13, 2018

From …

AG Brad Schimel says some two-thirds of school districts across the state have already expressed interest in applying for grant funding under the newly created Office of School Safety. 

While the office isn’t yet formally accepting applications, school districts since the end of March have been able to pen letters of interest to the Department of Justice about the projects they’re looking to implement and the estimated cost.

The office was created under a school safety bill Gov. Scott Walker signed into law last month. It’s in charge of administering a $100 million grant program that schools can apply for to make their buildings more secure.

Schimel said the DOJ is planning to announce the parameters of the grant next week, adding he expects every district in the state to apply.

“We’re envisioning a two-tier system that will start by making sure every school in the state is up to some basic minimal safety standards and then beyond that we’re encouraging some innovation,” he said.

He also noted he’s planning to hire a permanent director for the office in the next couple of weeks. Applications for the position were due April 8. It’s currently being filled by Interim Director Glenn Rehberg, a senior training officer and chair of the Tactical Skills, Scenario, and Tactical Emergency Casualty Care advisory committees in the DOJ’s Training and Standards Bureau.

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Source: Ryan Won’t Seek Re-Election

By John Forester | April 11, 2018

From …

House Speaker Paul Ryan will not seek re-election this fall, according to a source with knowledge of his decision.

A campaign spokesman did not immediately return a call from

Axios, which was first broke the news, reported Ryan friends said he was ready to step away from the job after passing an overhaul of the tax code. Also, friends said the Janesville Republican was contemplating losing the majority or holding just a slim majority after the November elections and decided there was no good time to leave.

Similar reports from other news organizations followed.

As rumors have floated that Ryan would not seek re-election, Wisconsin insiders have said the prospect of him stepping away from a re-election run would be a blow to the GOP caucus.

One, it would send a message about Republican chances at the polls in November. Two, it would put the party in a financial hole to hold onto his House seat. Ryan’s political operation reported on Monday he finished March with more than $10.5 million in the bank for his own re-election bid.

Dem challenger Randy Bryce, meanwhile, reported raising $2.1 million during the first quarter and finished the period with nearly $2.3 million cash on hand. Bryce, who faces Cathy Myers for the Dem nomination, has already raised $4.75 million, a big number for a first-time House candidate from Wisconsin.

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