Wisconsin Receives Federal School-Based Mental Health Grant

By John Forester | October 20, 2020

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction received a federal grant award to aid Wisconsin schools in expanding priority areas in student mental health. Through a competitive grant process, Wisconsin was one of six states selected to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education earlier this month. The federal grant totals $10 million over five years and will fund the DPI’s School-based Mental Health Professionals Federal Grant Program.

For more information and for a full news release, visit here.

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Legal Update: The First Amendment for Schools in 2020

By John Forester | October 19, 2020

From the Legal Side…

In its most recent Legal Update, the von Briesen & Roper Law Firm  focuses on First Amendment legal and practical considerations for schools in 2020.

The SAA regularly receives these legal updates and we believe this is valuable information for SAA members.  We are distributing this update to SAA members with the permission of the von Briesen & Roper Law Firm.  The information in this update is no substitute for consulting with your district legal counsel, and we encourage you to do so.

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Evers’ Administration Final Accounting for 2019-20

By John Forester | October 16, 2020

From WisPolitics.com . . .

The Evers administration’s final accounting of 2019-20 shows the general fund finished the fiscal year with $89.2 million less than originally expected when the two-year budget was signed last summer.

That figure accounts for all of the spending in legislation that was signed during the fiscal year, the revised revenue estimates due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the savings measures Gov. Tony Evers ordered as the virus spread.

But the annual fiscal report shows the general fund with a balance of just under $1.2 billion as of June 30. It is the largest ending balance for a fiscal year in at least two decades, according to today’s report.

The report is also the latest sign the state’s general fund was largely able to weather a turbulent fourth quarter in the fiscal year following the guv’s stay-at-home orders and a drop in some economic activity due to COVID-19.

The next piece of the state’s fiscal picture will be released in a month as the Department of Administration provides new revenue estimates for 2020-21. That report also will pair up agency requests with tax collection projections for the 2021-23 budget. WisPolitics.com reported last month agencies had already requested a net increase of $755 million in general purpose revenue. That figure didn’t include the Department of Public Instruction’s request for K-12 aids, which the agency plans to submit early next month.

The guv’s office and the Joint Finance co-chairs didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on today’s report.

Read the report here.

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DPI Releases 2020-21 General School Aids, Fall Student Count & Revenue Limit Information

By John Forester | October 15, 2020

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction today posted state general school aids school districts will receive during the current school year. The information published includes certified general school aid amounts for each school district, as well as 2020-21 student enrollment numbers for independent charter schools and private schools participating in state parental choice programs. For more information, and for a full news release on the certified general aid amounts, visit https://dpi.wi.gov/news/releases/2020/dpi-releases-numbers-2020-21-general-school-aids.

The DPI today also published information on fall student counts and school district revenue limits for the 2020-2021 school year. For more information on fall student counts and revenue limits, and for a full news release, visit https://dpi.wi.gov/news/releases/2020/dpi-releases-fall-student-count-and-revenue-limit-information.

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47 School Referenda On November 3 Ballot

By John Forester | October 8, 2020

From the Wheeler Report…

There are 47 school referendum in 37 different school districts on the November 3 ballot. That includes:

District

District Name

Total Amount

Type

Brief Description

0084

Alma

$335,000.00

RR – 2021

A recurring referendum to exceed the revenue cap by $335,000 beginning with the 2021-22 school year.

2450

Arrowhead UHS

$8,500,000.00

NR – 2020

To exceed the revenue limit by $1,700,000 per year, for five years, for non-recurring purposes of funding technology, facility and site infrastructure improvements.

0203

Auburndale

$6,900,000.00

Issue Debt

Issue debt not to exceed $6,900,000 for paying the cost of a district-wide school facility improvement project consisting of:  capital maintenance, building infrastructure, and site improvements at all district facilities; construction of additions and renovations at Auburndale Middle/High School, including for technical education, agriculture, and family and consumer education space and greenhouse replacement; renovations at Auburndale Elementary School, including conversion of the little theater into multipurpose space and upgrades to the playground; and acquisition of furnishings, fixtures and equipment.

0203

Auburndale

$200,000.00

RR – 2021

A recurring referendum to exceed the revenue cap by $200,000 beginning with the 2021-22 school year.

0476

Black River Falls

$23,000,000.00

Issue Debt

Updates to major building systems at Forrest Street Early Learning Center, Black River Falls Middle School and Black River Falls High School; construction of an addition to and renovations at both Forrest Street Early Learning Center and Black River Falls High School.

0485

Blair-Taylor

$4,145,000.00

Issue Debt

Addition of a daycare, addition and renovations to classrooms and adding a baseball field.

1134

Clinton Community

$32,000,000.00

Issue Debt

For the construction of additions and renovations to the middle school and the high
school; acquisition of furnishings, fixtures and equipment; and capital maintenance, building
infrastructure and site improvements

1134

Clinton Community

$2,000,000.00

RR – 2021

For recurring purposes consisting of maintaining reasonable
class sizes, sustaining and enhancing educational programming and maintenance expenses.

1141

Clintonville

$37,000,000.00

Issue Debt

For the purposes of district-wide improvements to all school buildings and grounds including renovations and additions along with safety and traffic flow improvements, upgrades to building systems and acquisition of related furnishings, fixtures, and equipment.

1309

Deerfield Community

$2,500,000.00

NR – 2020

Operational referendum beginning in 2020-21, $500,000 per year for 5 years

1380

Delavan-Darien

$6,500,000.00

Issue Debt

Issue debt not to exceed $6,500,000 for athletic facility upgrades and related site improvements.

1582

Elcho

$4,000,000.00

NR – 2021

Non-recurring purposes consisting of operational and maintenance expenses.

1855

Florence

$5,450,000.00

NR – 2021

Referendum to exceed revenue cap for four years beginning FY2021-2022

2142

Gilmanton

$300,000.00

RR – 2020

Amount not to exceed $300,000 per year in excess of the revenue limits.  For operational purposes.

2639

Iola-Scandinavia

$6,800,000.00

NR – 2021

Non-recurring referendum to exceed revenue limits for educational programming, student opportunities and operations.

2695

Janesville

$22,500,000.00

Issue Debt

$22,500,000 for the purpose of paying the costs of school building improvements including additional security measures, improving life-safety systems and replacing boiler systems and associated components.

2695

Janesville

$37,000,000.00

NR – 2021

A non-recurring referendum to exceed the revenue cap for the purpose of paying costs of maintaining District class size, student program options and services as follow: $3,500,000 for the 2021-2022 school year, $7,500,000 for the 2022-23 school year, $11,500,000 for the 2023-24 school year and $14,500,000 for the 2024-25 school year.

2863

Lafarge

$5,500,000.00

Issue Debt

Facility Improvement Project

3094

Linn J6

$200,000.00

RR – 2020

Recurring referendum to exceed revenue caps by $200,000

3269

Madison Metropolitan

$33,000,000.00

RR – 2020

Referendum to exceed the revenue limit on a recurring basis for operation and maintenance expenditures.

3269

Madison Metropolitan

$317,000,000.00

Issue Debt

General Obligation Bonds not to exceed $317,000,000 for a school building and facility improvement projects

3311

Marinette

$30,920,000.00

Issue Debt

Construction of additions and improvements at Merryman Elementary School and Park Elementary School; remodeling and improvements at Middle School and High School; and acquisition of furnishings, fixtures, and equipment.

3339

Marshfield

$3,500,000.00

RR – 2021

RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGET TO EXCEED REVENUE LIMIT BY $3,500,000 FOR RECURRING PURPOSES

3360

Mauston

$54,800,000.00

Issue Debt

To replace West Side Elementary with a new Elementary School; Safety & Site Improvements, updates to all buildings.

3409

Medford Area

$39,900,000.00

Issue Debt

Resolution Providing for a Referendum Election of the approval of an Initial resolution authorizing the issuance of general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $39,900,000

3612

Milton

$12,500,000.00

NR – 2021

Exceed the revenue cap for general operational needs.

3969

Niagara

$1,750,000.00

NR – 2020

Non-recurring to exceed the revenue limit by $250,000 for the 2020-2021 school year, and by $500,000 per year for the 2021-2022 school year through the 2023-2024 school year, for non-recurring purposes consisting of expenses for educational programming, student opportunities and operations.

3969

Niagara

$3,995,000.00

Issue Debt

Issue general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $3,995,000 for capital maintenance, safety and security upgrades, building systems and site improvements; renovations to district facilities; and acquisition of furnishings, fixtures and equipment.

4088

Omro

$3,400,000.00

NR – 2020

The School District of Omro will exceed the revenue limit by $850,000 per year for the 2020-2021 school year through the 2023-2024 school year for technology infrastructure, learning and academic expenses, safety and security costs and operational expenses.

4088

Omro

$9,400,000.00

Issue Debt

The School District of Omro shall be issued $9,400,000 in general obligation bonds for purpose of district-wide school improvement projects.

4179

Oshkosh Area

$63,550,000.00

NR – 2021

To exceed revenue caps by 3,950,000 for 2021-22 and 2022-23 and then by 7,950,000 until 2029-2030.

4179

Oshkosh Area

$107,000,000.00

Issue Debt

Issue Debt for 107,000,000.00 to construct two new schools and complete safety and infrastructure updates to many buildings.

4207

Owen-Withee

$3,150,000.00

Issue Debt

$3,150,000 referendum to build a kitchen/cafeteria/community multipurpose room and add on to ag/tech area.

0490

Pecatonica Area

$490,000.00

RR – 2021

Operational recurring referendum, $490,000 for maintenance and operations.

4459

Plum City

$2,500,000.00

NR – 2021

RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGET TO EXCEED REVENUE LIMIT BY $500,000 PER YEAR FOR FIVE YEARS FOR NON-RECURRING PURPOSES

4851

Richland

$1,250,000.00

RR – 2021

Resolution Authorizing the School District Budget To Exceed Revenue Limit By $1,250,000 for Recurring Purposes

4851

Richland

$27,000,000.00

Issue Debt

INITIAL RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $27,000,000

5130

Sevastopol

$8,000,000.00

NR – 2021

Exceed revenue limit by $2,000,000 per year for four years.

5457

Southern Door County

$2,925,000.00

NR – 2020

AUTHORIZING THE SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGET TO EXCEED REVENUE LIMIT BY $975,000 PER YEAR FOR THREE YEARS FOR NON-RECURRING PURPOSES

5754

Tomahawk

$14,000,000.00

NR – 2021

Beginning 2021-22 school year 3.5M per year non-recurring referendum ending 2024-2025.

0126

Tomorrow River

$1,200,000.00

NR – 2021

Exceed Revenue Limit by $400,000 for each of Three Years for Non-Recurring Purposes

6181

Waunakee Community

$10,637,510.00

NR – 2020

RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGET TO EXCEED REVENUE LIMIT BY $2,127,502 PER YEAR FOR FIVE YEARS FOR NON-RECURRING PURPOSES

6223

Wausau

$155,000,000.00

Issue Debt

Borrow $155,000,000 for building a new elementary school on the current Grant Elem site, building an Environmental Learning Center at the school forest and for modernization, improvements, and upgrades to buildings district wide.

6223

Wausau

$3,000,000.00

RR – 2021

To exceed the revenue limit by $3,000,000 beginning in 2021-2022 school year on a recurring basis to fund full pupil services teams at each elementary school and to fund other operational and maintenance expenses.

6321

Westby Area

$4,500,000.00

NR – 2021

Exceed Revenue Limit to sustain educational programs and to operate the District.

6321

Westby Area

$11,950,000.00

Issue Debt

Issue debt for paying the cost of a District-wide school facility improvement project.

0469

Wisconsin Heights

$27,000,000.00

Issue Debt

Add ES to MS/HS & Update MS/HS

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Pandemic School Stability Package Circulated for Co-Sponsorship

By John Forester | October 6, 2020

Today, Democrat Senators Larson and Smith and Democrat Representatives Pope and Considine circulated for co-sponsorship the Pandemic School Stability Package (see links below).  The Package consists of two bills that address five of the agenda items from the SAA Statutory Flexibility Agenda – Pupil Counts, Transportation Aid, Fund 46 Flexibility, and Suspension of Student Assessments and School Report Cards for 2020-21.  The SAA worked with the authors on the drafting of the legislation and greatly appreciates the authors’ efforts to bring attention to these important issues.  Circulating the bills for co-sponsorship is an important first step in the policy development process and we welcome the continuing discussion on these proposals.

The portions of these bills addressing student assessments, school report cards, Fund 46 and transportation aid track very closely to the intent of the corresponding items in the SAA Statutory Flexibility Agenda.  The proposal on student counts was the most challenging issue addressed in the legislation.

As you know, for 2020-21, the SAA recommended allowing school districts to use their 2019-20 pupil counts or their actual 2020-21 counts (whichever is larger) in determining revenue limits and aid.  Making this proposal a true “hold harmless” is multi-faceted (revenue limit, general aid and per pupil aid) and very complex.  The general aid portion is the most complicated because of the variables involved (property values, student counts, shared costs, etc.) in the distribution formula.  It is further complicated by the appropriation being sum certain, and not sum sufficient.  In order to make the general aid portion a true hold harmless, additional aid would have to be added to the appropriation.  Given the need for additional aid and the uncertainty of how the proposal would impact every school district, the authors chose not to address the general aid piece in the proposal.  Although the legislation is not perfect, the attention and opportunity for continued discussion it brings to this issue is critically important.

The SAA will continue to work with legislators, the Governor’s office and the DPI to push forward on the SAA Agenda through legislation, administrative rules and the state biennial budget process.

Thanks for all your efforts on behalf of the children you serve.  Stay tuned and hang in there, friends!

LRB 6474/1

LRB 6473/1

Co-Sponsorship Memo

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2019-20 Estimated School Districts State Support

By John Forester | October 6, 2020

From The Wheeler Report . . .

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau released the 2019-20 Estimated State Support for School Districts. According to the memo, state funding was at 64.9% for 2017-18, 65.35% for 2018-19, and 65.36% for the 2019-20 school year.

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Evers Administration Places New Restrictions on Indoor Public Gatherings

By John Forester | October 6, 2020

From WisPolitics.com …

Gov. Tony Evers’ administration issued a new order today limiting indoor public gatherings to 25 percent of a room’s capacity, placing new restrictions on bars, restaurants and other private businesses as the state has become one of the nation’s hotspots for COVID-19 cases.

The order, issued by DHS Secretary Andrea Palm, takes effect at 8 a.m. Thursday and will remain effect through Nov. 6.

It applies to any gathering at locations open to the public, including ticketed events. But that doesn’t impact schools, office spaces, factories and other workplaces that are only accessible by employees or authorized personnel.

Evers said the order was part of an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 and help hospitals that are now overwhelmed with cases.

“We’re in a crisis right now and need to immediately change our behavior to save lives,” he said.

The order relies on occupancy limits established by local governments. For those spaces that haven’t been rated by local governments, the order places a cap of 10 people on gatherings. Enforcement will also be left to local officials, though many have refused to enforce the mask mandate Evers first issued this summer. Penalties for violations include a civil forfeiture.

The exempt list also includes: local governments, religious services, political events, or invitation-only events. It also will not impact polling sites Nov. 3.

Private residences are exempt unless they host an event open to anyone.

See more here.

Read the order here.

See the release here.

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DPI Updates COVID-19 Special Education Guidance

By John Forester | October 5, 2020

From the Legal Side…

In its most recent School Law FYI, the BoardmanClark Law Firm focuses on DPI’s recent updates to its COVID-19 Special Education Guidance.

The SAA regularly receives these legal updates and we believe this is valuable information for SAA members.  We are distributing this update to SAA members with the permission of the BoardmanClark Law Firm.  The information in this update is no substitute for consulting with your district legal counsel, and we encourage you to do so.

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Legal Updates from Buelow Vetter

By John Forester | October 5, 2020

From the Legal Side…

In the past couple weeks, the Buelow Vetter Law Firm has released several important legal updates including:

The SAA regularly receives these legal updates and we believe this is valuable information for SAA members.  We are distributing this update to SAA members with the permission of the Buelow Vetter Law Firm.  The information in these updates is no substitute for consulting with your district legal counsel, and we encourage you to do so.

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update, SAA Legal Side | No Comments »

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