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State Budget Alert: Joint Finance Committee

By John Forester | March 28, 2019

With the Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s (LFB) summary of the governor’s budget recommendations having been released, the 2019-21 State Budget process has begun to pick up speed.  The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) will conduct state agency briefings April 3rd and 4th (DPI is scheduled for April 3rd) and hold a total of four public hearings on the budget bill beginning on April 5th and concluding on April 24th (see previous post).  We will follow up with a separate post on coordinating SAA member testimony at the JFC budget hearings.

I would like to thank all those SAA members that have already begun conversations with their legislators regarding the governor’s budget recommendations.  For those that have yet to communicate with their legislators, it’s time to do so.  To be successful on this state budget, all SAA members must contact their legislators repeatedly throughout the long budget process.

I call on each district administrator to assemble your leadership team, collaborate on your district message and craft your plan for influencing your parents, your staff, your community, your media and your lawmakers — and then coordinate the delivery of that message.  This budget is vitally important for your school district and the children you serve.   It is critically important for you to reach out to your legislators and your community.

In your communications, please cover the following:

  1. Invite your legislators to your school(s).  Use the opportunity to show them some of the great educational opportunities afforded to the children in your district.  Show them what learning looks like today in your district.
  2. Express your strong support for at least a $200/pupil general revenue increase in each year of the biennium.  Explain the importance of these increases in per pupil revenues in both fiscal and human terms.  In particular, emphasize the impact on educational opportunities for the kids you serve.
  3. Express your strong support for the governor’s proposed increase in funding for special education. Explain your district’s fund 10 to fund 27 transfer, as well as the internal friction that transfer can generate inside your district.
  4. Express your strong support for the governor’s proposed increase in funding for school-age mental health.
  5. Express your strong support for the governor’s proposed increase in funding for English Learners.
  6. Express your strong support for eliminating current restrictions on hiring retired educators to fill key positions.
  7. Tell your district’s story.  They need to hear it.
  8. Encourage your legislators to stand up for the children you serve.
  9. Thank them for listening and for serving the citizens of Wisconsin.

Please send a letter (phone calls work too) using the information discussed above to the members of the Joint Finance Committee and your legislators as soon as possible.  I know many of you have already discussed these issues with your legislators, and I thank you.  I also ask that you contact them again.  For your convenience, I have provided links to the Senate Directory, the Assembly Directory and Who Are My Legislators.  Please copy your letter to the SAA.

Make no mistake about it.  We have to fight hard for funding increases for public school children.  Many legislators are pushing back against the governor’s proposed increases to K-12 education.  In particular, some legislators are loudly balking at increasing funding for special education.  Several are even spreading misinformation about how special education services are funded.  It is important that our legislators understand the following:

So, let’s stand up and fight for the needs of Wisconsin school children.

Thanks for listening, and for all your efforts on behalf of the children you serve.

Topics: Legislative Action, SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

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