As a parent of two public school kids, I care very deeply about the quality of our children's education. As ranking member of the Education and Universities and Technical Colleges Committees of the State Senate, I have the experience and knowledge to craft legislation that is supported by teachers, administrators, and parents across the state. Unfortunately, the Republican majority continues to prioritize privatization and tax cuts over our kids, and as a result districts are forced to rely on one-time federal pandemic grants and costly referendums to make ends meet. There is a better way, and these bills below are huge steps in the right direction.
Relating to: waiving the Foundations of Reading test licensure requirement during a national health emergency declared in response to COVID-19
This bill would help alleviate the shortage and diversify the teacher pool in our state by suspending the use of a culturally biased, outdated test for prospective educators, while we work to develop a more suitable teacher preparedness measure going forward.
Relating to: counting summer school enrollment for purposes of school district revenue limits
This bill helps schools that have high enrollment in summer school programs, which is often an indicator of greater educational needs among the student population, by allowing 100% of summer school enrollment to be considered when setting revenue and aid limits.
Relating to: funding for the University of Wisconsin System, special education funding, and making an appropriation
This bill would increase funding for the UW System, and increases special aid funding for K-12 school. This by itself would be reason to support the bill, but the increase in K-12 funding was designed specifically to help our state access additional federal funds jeopardized by the GOP budget.
Relating to: funding for Wisconsin grants for University of Wisconsin System students and technical college students, special education funding, and making an appropriation
This bill would increase funding for student aid grants at University of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Technical College system schools, and (like SB 632), would increase special education funding for K-12 to comply with federal funding requirements.
Relating to: funding for state aid and grants to technical colleges, special education funding, and making an appropriation
This bill would increase funding for Wisconsin technical colleges, and (like SB 632 and 633), would increase special education funding for K-12 to comply with federal funding requirements.
Relating to: University of Wisconsin System tuition grant program, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation
This bill would help low-income students afford college without going into debt by providing aid equal to the amount of the gap between other forms of aid and the actual cost of tuition at UW System schools.
Relating to: resident undergraduate tuition freezes for the University of Wisconsin System
This bill would require any tuition freeze at UW System schools to be accompanied by a corresponding increase in state support, also known as "funding the freeze." Without such protections in place, tuition freezes can have the effect of reducing quality of instruction or reducing course options, neither of which benefit students.
Relating to: University of Wisconsin System resident undergraduate tuition freeze and making an appropriation
This bill freezes tuition at UW System schools over a period of three years, but also increases state support to ensure that this freeze does not negatively impact the quality of instruction received at these institutions.
Relating to: resident undergraduate tuition remission at the University of Wisconsin System for student teachers and making an appropriation
This bill supports future educators by offering them a tuition-free semester while they are student-teaching. Student teachers generally are not paid, so allowing them a break on tuition reduces the financial hardship involved in pursuing their chosen profession.
Relating to: a school district revenue limit adjustment for the cost of employing school nurses
This bill would allow school districts to hire school nurses for every school building without the need to sacrifice classroom instruction or other priorities. If there's one thing the pandemic has taught us, it's that you can never have enough direct-care health workers, and our children and educators would benefit tremendously from this proposal.
Relating to: community school start-up grants, funding for the University of Wisconsin System, and making an appropriation
Community schools leverage existing community assets to improve educational and health outcomes for students in our most underserved communities. This bill would allow many more community schools to be implemented across our state.
Relating to: providing state aid to reimburse public and private schools that provide free meals to all pupils for the costs of those meals and making an appropriation
This bill seeks to provide all students with access to meals while they’re in school, regardless of their parents’ income. Students learn better when they’re well-fed, and making it universal takes away the stigma of “free and reduced lunch.”
Relating to: including with the property tax bill information about state aid reduction to school districts
This bill requires all municipalities to include information on residents’ property tax bills indicating the cost of the private school voucher funding as a separate line item from public school funding. Currently, most municipalities don’t do this, masking the true cost of the voucher program.
Relating to: phasing out parental choice programs and the Special Needs Scholarship Program, etc
This bill phases out wasteful and unaccountable private school vouchers and replaces them with programs designed specifically for public schools which ensure that teachers have the necessary resources to teach all children to their unique needs and abilities. These include smaller class sizes and increased special needs programming.
Relating to: prohibiting vaping on public and private school property
This bill helps create environments better suited for learning and demonstrates healthy habits by prohibiting adults and children from using vaping products on school grounds.
Relating to: paid preparation time for teachers
Too often, teachers are either denied preparation time by other assigned duties, or forced to use their own time to prepare lessons due to mandatory meetings and in-services. This bill ensures educators are given sufficient paid time for lesson planning, which means classroom time can be maximized for student learning.
Relating to: requiring school boards to compensate teachers for time spent on non-classroom services
This bill ensures that teachers who assist with lunch and recess duties, or other non-classroom tasks involving students are compensated for this work.
Relating to: adding a teacher representative to school boards
This would add a non-voting member to each local school board that is a current educator. When educators’ voices are heard by decision-makers, districts are more likely to make decisions that are effective and equitable toward our dedicated teaching professionals, and will ultimately help improve learning outcomes.
Relating to: establishing minimum salaries for public school teachers
This bill would require teachers be paid at least as much as state legislators, a minimum increase after 10 years of $15,000, and a minimum salary for 20-year veterans with Master’s degrees of $100,000, in order to bring teaching in line with other professions of equivalent education and experience.
Relating to: health insurance for school district employees
This bill requires all school district staff be offered health insurance. When staff have their health needs met, they are able to offer the maximum level of service to their students.
Relating to: longevity bonuses for teachers in school districts
This bill encourages continuity within school communities by offering educators $7,000 bonuses for continued employment within a district for a period of 5 years.
Relating to: grants to school districts to pay student teachers an hourly wage, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation
Too often student teachers are forced to work for free, creating a disincentive for many to pursue the field of teaching to begin with, and presenting financial hardship for those dedicated enough to pursue teaching despite not being paid for their efforts.
Relating to: creating a teacher pledge loan repayment program administered by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation
Student debt is one of the biggest drags on our nation’s economy, and particularly with continuing education requirements, it presents a disproportionate burden on our teachers. This bill would create a grant program to repay student loans for educators who remain in Wisconsin for at least 5 years after graduation.
Relating to: various changes to statutes related to elementary and secondary education in this state, funding for the UW System, and making an appropriation
This bill restores two-thirds state funding for our local school districts, increases special education reimbursement to 50% of the actual cost, and increases per-pupil aid, including enhanced aid for each economically disadvantaged pupil a district enrolls.