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More School Choices 

As a strong supporter of school choice, I'm happy to tell you that the state Legislature recently made a significant change to give parents more freedom to choose where their children attend school.  The Legislation (Act 114) that extends the open enrollment application period was recently signed into law.  Open enrollment allows parents to seek to matriculate their children in a different school district other than their home district.  Before this law, parents only had three weeks to decide and file an application for open enrollment.   Now, the open enrollment filing period is from February 6th to April 30th.  Parents will be notified by June 8th whether the application was approved or denied.  This is great news for families who are seeking a quality education for their children.  Time is now on their side.
 
open.enrollment.jpgWhat we're seeing across the state is that parents want more educational choices for their children.  The chart* to the right clearly shows an increase in demand of open enrollment applications and transfers.  The extension of the application period, I believe, will result in more families taking the time to consider the options for their children.
 
This new law also allows parents to seek to move their students to a different school any time during the year.  Certain qualifications still must be met.  Also, the resident school board and the Department of Public Instruction officials have the power to reject that transfer.
 
Some have called this the largest expansion of public school choice in Wisconsin history.  I call this a common sense approach for parents who want the best education for their kids.
 
Here's a link to more information regarding the new open enrollment application process.
 
 
*Chart pictured is courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
   
Recall the Recalls 
 
Today, my amendment to recall the recalls had a public hearing in the Assembly Election and Campaign Reform Committee.  This is the first of several steps that will need to be taken to reform our ridiculous system which allows state officials to be recalled for taking a courageous vote.  Assembly Joint Resolution 63 provides for a real reason to recall an elected official.  Under this amendment, an elected official may only be recalled if he or she has been charged with a serious crime or if finding of probable cause has been made that he or she violated the state code of ethics.
 
This amendment would prevent our state from being in a constant cycle of recall elections.  It's an emotional drain on our electorate and a financial drain on taxpayer dollars.  This past summer's recall elections for the state senate races topped $2.1 million.  One statewide recall election is expected to cost $9 million.  If there is a primary, that number will double. 
 
The proposed amendment requires adoption by two successive legislatures and ratification by the people before becoming part of our state constitution.  I look forward to it coming to a vote in the committee and on the floor.