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School Membership Counts Set School Budgets
Today, Friday, September 18, 2015, is a major day for school
districts throughout our state. The third Friday of September is
one of two dates annually that all public school districts take
an official membership count and report it to the Wisconsin
Department of Public Instruction (DPI).
The Membership Count is the single largest variable in
determining a school district’s budget.
According to DPI, “Membership” is defined as the average of the
resident full-time equivalent (FTE) students enrolled on the
third Friday of September and 2nd Friday of January (including
part-time attendance by home-based or private school students),
plus the summer school and foster group home FTE.
The Membership Count, or the number of students in a school
district, is the key variable in a school district’s budget. The
Membership Count determines the size of our school district
budgets. The size of a local school district’s budget is
calculated by multiplying the membership count by the district’s
cost per pupil.
For example, if a district’s enrollment is 1,200 pupils and its
allowable revenue limit per pupil is $10,000 (state average),
the district’s budget is $12,000,000. Using the same allowable
revenue limit per pupil, a district of 700 pupils would have a
budget of $7,000,000.
If a student body increases, the budget increases. If a student
body decreases, the budget decreases. As a result, the total
dollars dedicated to public education in Wisconsin are less
important than the actual number of students in the classroom,
especially in rural school districts.
In the 17th Senate District, we face an uphill battle for school
finances. Rural populations are changing. We have fewer young
families in our communities sending fewer children to school. As
a result, our membership counts are declining, directly
impacting the overall budgets for rural school districts.
As a result of this reality, it is important for us to recognize
that economic development, jobs and quality of life are
important factors for funding our schools. Communities
throughout the 17th District are seeking ways to grow existing
businesses, attract new businesses, improve quality of life
opportunities and increase population. These efforts directly
impact local school finance.
Overall, school districts in the 17th Senate District face
funding challenges. However, many of our districts are using
unique, innovative ways to continue educating our youth and
developing new programs with fewer resources. As your State
Senator, I marvel at some of the partnerships and collaborative
efforts among communities, business and schools. Working
together, we will find ways to overcome the impacts of declining
membership so that our kids will receive high-quality education
and our communities will grow and prosper.
For more information and to connect with me, visit my website
http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/17/marklein and do not
hesitate to call 800-978-8008 if you have input, ideas or need
assistance with any state-related matters.
Senate Floor Session
This week, the Wisconsin State Senate was in session. I am happy
to announce that two of the bills that I am the lead sponsor on
were passed unanimously out of the Senate and now head to the
Assembly floor and then hopefully onto the Governor’s desk for
Senate Bill 252 –Utility Aid Payments
Under current law, communities such as Cassville would see a
dramatic reduction in state aid for utility aid payments due to
the closure of two power plants in 2015.
By the end of the year, two power plants located in the Village
of Cassville are scheduled to close, the Nelson-Dewey coal
burning plant and the E.J. Stoneman biomass plant. The closures
mean the loss of over 90 good-paying jobs. This is a huge blow
to the community and the families that rely on those jobs.
Communities that have a plant closure would go through the
decommissioning process, which includes a gradual step-down in
state aid payments to that particular municipality and county.
The current statutory process for plant decommissioning only
applies to nuclear and wind plants, not biomass or coal fired
plants. The bill would change the law to include biomass and
coal burning plants as part of the decommissioning process, thus
allowing the Village of Cassville and County to receive utility
payments for a period of time.
Senate Bill 236 – Wine Walks
Over the past decade, communities in Southwest and South Central
Wisconsin have promoted businesses in their area by sponsoring
events called Wine or Beer Walks. During these events
pre-registered guests are welcomed into a wide variety of
participating businesses to sample wines and beers while they
meet the business owner and “shop” their business. These events
are usually sponsored by a chamber of commerce or downtown
business association to encourage local residents to explore
businesses they wouldn’t otherwise know, create a fun community
event and fundraise for local programming year round.
While the concept of these events may seem simple and
straightforward, the Department of Revenue (DOR) recently
clarified that Wine Walks are illegal because current law does
not allow a municipality to issue licenses in number, location
and manner in which the events are currently created. In
collaboration with Representative Keith Ripp’s (R-Lodi) office,
we wrote a bill that adjusts current law to create a framework
for Wine Walks to continue throughout our state. In order to
legalize these important events, Senate Bill (SB) 236 changes
existing law to allow local Chambers and business groups to
obtain temporary licenses for a set number of locations during a
specified time to create a Wine Walk. Each location will be
required to have a licensed operator on site and comply with
other alcohol service rules and regulations.
All of the communities that have held these events have shared
the profound impact on local business exposure and fundraising
efforts that help our downtown communities thrive. I am honored
to be a part of a solution to continue these important events
and look forward to encouraging my colleagues in the Assembly to
pass this bill.
After the Senate floor session, Senate Bill 252 and Senate Bill
236 await the passage on the floor of the State Assembly and a
signature by Governor Walker.
Senator Marklein’s 2015 Fall Legislative Survey
If you haven’t already, please take my 2015 Fall Legislative
Survey. Below you will find a link to a 10 question survey
seeking your thoughts on a number of relevant legislative issues
and concepts that we will be discussing in the coming months.
This survey is available online at
http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/17/marklein or please feel
free to print out a copy from the link below and return it to me
at PO Box 7882, Madison, WI 53703 or via fax at 608-282-3557.
Please submit your survey by October 30, 2015.
For a PDF version of the survey, click
2015-16 Blue Books
The 2015-16 Blue Books have arrived at the Capitol! If you would
like one, please let me know, I would be happy to make sure you
receive a blue book.
In the District
Listening Sessions on Monday, September 21
On Monday I will be having three listening sessions in Richland
Center, Lone Rock and Boscobel. I hope that you will be able to
join me at one of these listening sessions! I look forward to
the opportunity to receive your thoughts, ideas and concerns.
Here is the schedule for Monday:
Monday, September 21, 2015
10:30-11:30 a.m. Richland Center – Brewer Library, 325 N. Central Avenue,
1:30-2:30 p.m. Lone Rock – Community Hall, 220 Pearl Street, Lone Rock
3:30-4:30 p.m. Boscobel – Boscobel Public Library, 1033 Wisconsin Ave.,
Rep. Novak will be attending the Lone Rock listening session.
addition to the listening sessions on Monday, September 21 I
will also be having three listening sessions on Monday,
September 28, in Fennimore, Lancaster and Bloomington that I
hope you can make. Here is the schedule for Monday, September
Monday, September 28, 2015
Fennimore – SWTC, 1800 Bronson Blvd, Fennimore
11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Lancaster – Schreiner Public Library, 113 West Elm Street,
Bloomington – Bloomington Town Hall, 453 Canal Street,
For a complete list of all of my upcoming listening sessions,
please visit my
Annual Farm Bureau Annual Meetings
This month there are a number of different annual Farm Bureau
meetings being held around the district. Last week, I had the
opportunity to attend the Green County and Sauk County annual
farm bureau meetings and this week I was present at the Iowa
County and Lafayette County meetings.
These farm bureau meetings are a great opportunity for me to
hear about agricultural issues and listen to the questions and
concerns of members. I look forward to the opportunity to attend
more farm bureau annual meetings around the district in the
*Senator Marklein addressing members of the Sauk
County Farm Bureau at their annual meeting on September 9, 2015
*Teyanna Loether, 68th Alice in Dairyland and
Senator Howard Marklein at the Sauk County Farm Bureau annual
meeting on September 9, 2015
Department of Health Services: Family Care/IRIS 2.0
Upcoming Public Hearings
Department of Health Services Secretary Kitty Rhoades, recently
passed on information regarding upcoming public hearings
scheduled for the months of September and October where the
Department of Health Services (DHS) would like to hear back from
Wisconsin residents as they prepare to develop the Family
Care/IRIS 2.0 Programs as passed in the recent budget.
While none of the upcoming public hearings are in the 17th
Senate District, a couple of them are just a short drive and I
wanted to make sure you were aware of them if you were
interested in attending.
September 21, 2015
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Northcentral Technical College
1000 W. Campus Drive
Wausau, WI 54401
September 21, 2015
5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Hayward High School
10320 N. Greenwood Lane
Hayward, WI 54843-7167
September 23, 2015
9:00 am - 12:00 Noon
Goodman Community Center
Evjue Community Room D
149 Waubesa Street
Madison, WI 53704
September 28, 2015
12:30 pm - 3:30 pm
LaCrosse Public Library Auditorium
800 Main Street
LaCrosse, WI 54601
October 6, 2015
9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Wilson Park Senior Center
2601 W. Howard Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53221
A full list of public hearings and more information can be found
here, and for more information, you can contact the Department
of Health Services at 608-266-1865 or send them an email
Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles
This week, we got word from Tom Rhatican, Assistant Deputy
Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Transportation, that our
Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices will begin
issuing new black and white driver licenses (DL) and
identification (ID) cards this fall. These new cards will be the
most secure in the United States and will help curb fraud and
Please see the attached FAQ and video link for a short overview:
The black and white photos are laser-engraved onto a
polycarbonate card and will be very hard to replicate without
destroying the card. Additional security features include:
raised signature, date of birth (DOB), and expiration date
that you can feel.
“U21” (under 21) prominently displayed in red ink.
ink highlighting intricate Wisconsin artwork on front.
card feels slightly stiffer and makes a unique sound when
dropped on a hard surface.
Endorsements for commercial driving, including hazmat
certification, are clearly noted.
other generations of Wisconsin driver licenses and ID cards are
currently in circulation. Some are set to expire in 2020, and
cards issued between March 2012 and October 2015 will expire in
The process for customers is the same -- no need to visit a DMV
Customer Service Center for a new card until the current card
Implementation of the new cards will be completed statewide by
November 1, 2015.
*Senator Marklein is pleased to provide this
legislative E-Update to the constituents of the 17th State
Senate District. Please feel free to share this update with
other interested citizens and taxpayers. You are receiving this
update because you have either subscribed or contacted Senator
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