Capitol Update

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Sparsity Aid for Rural Schools
Rural communities have a different set of challenges than other communities. As one of the largest senate districts in the State of Wisconsin, the 17th Senate District is almost entirely rural and has its own unique challenges. Representing a rural district means that I often have different priorities than those of my colleagues. However, the one priority that my colleagues and I share is a strong public school system. The public schools in these rural communities have an especially difficult challenge to provide a quality education and services to a small number of students spread over a large geographic area. I continually work to try to find ways to improve our rural educational system.

The 2015-17 state budget has been signed into law. There were a lot of important items in the budget that increased funding for public schools. The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) added $300 million to K-12 education funding, restored the $150 per pupil aid that was originally slated to be cut, and added an additional $100 per pupil in categorical aid for the second year of the biennium.

For rural schools, we provided an additional $2.5 million per year in high cost transportation aids and increased sparsity aid to our local school districts.

Sparsity aid is additional state funding that is distributed to schools with enrollment of 725 pupils or less and a density of less than 10 pupils per square mile. Sparsity aid adds $300 in additional categorical aid per student. Student enrollment in schools that qualify for sparsity aid represents around 6.8% of total public school enrollment.

For this upcoming school year, 137 school districts across the state of Wisconsin will see an increase in sparsity aid of $4.2 million per year to local schools, totaling $17.674 million statewide for the 2015-17 school year. Of the $4.2 million annual increase, over $750,000 will go to schools in the 17th Senate District. The program will be fully funded for the next two years.

The Department of Public Instruction recently released its distribution of sparsity aid payments for the 2015-16 school year. I have provided a table below that shows the school districts in the 17th Senate District that will receive sparsity aid for the 2015-16 school year. I am proud of our commitment to provide additional funding to rural schools, especially those in our community.

School District Enrollment 2015-16 Aid 2014-15 Aid Difference
Argyle 347 $104,100 $79,582 $24,518
Belmont 358 $107,400 $85,958 $21,442
Benton 245 $73,500 $57,148 $16,352
Black Hawk 389 $116,700 $92,806 $23,894
Cassville 217 $65,100 $50,772 $14,328
Cuba City 664 $199,200 $149,245 $49,955
Highland 284 $85,200 $71,080 $14,120
Hillsboro 503 $150,900 $118,546 $32,354
Ithaca 318 $95,400 $79,582 $15,818
Mineral Point 721 $216,300 $0 $216,300
Necedah 709 $212,700 $166,484 $46,216
New Lisbon 618 $185,400 $150,898 $34,502
Pecatonica 452 $135,600 $102,252 $33,348
Potosi 338 $101,400 $78,165 $23,235
River Ridge 530 $159,000 $118,546 $40,454
Riverdale 725 $217,500 $169,317 $48,183
Royall 622 $186,600 $156,566 $30,034
Shullsburg 392 $117,600 $90,444 $27,156
Weston 312 $93,600 $73,914 $19,686
Wonewoc-Union Center 373 $111,900 $87,374 $24,526


  $2,735,100 $1,978,679 $756,421

*Source: Department of Public Instruction, August 2015

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.


In the District


Marklein Family Camping Trip
I was very fortunate to be able to spend a week at Peninsula State Park in Door County for our annual Marklein Family Camping Trip. We were blessed with great weather, great sights and activities, and even better food. Peninsula State Park is one of our many beautiful state parks, and the campground was full.

*Marklein Family


Wisconsin State Fair!
This week at the Wisconsin State Fair, a number of livestock and cheese makers from the district were honored. I want to send out my sincere congratulations to the following people and business owners in the district for their accomplishments and being honored at the Wisconsin State Fair!

In the Meat Publicity category, congratulations to the following:

Specialty Game Meats
2nd place John D. Hamm, Wisconsin River Meats, Mauston

Specialty Cooked Bratwurst
4th place John D. Hamm, Wisconsin River Meats, Mauston

Out of the 146 fine Wisconsin cheesemakers that were exhibited, congratulations to the following:


1st place Silvan Blum, Chalet Cheese Co-op, Monroe
2nd place Neal Schwartz, Chalet Cheese Co-op, Monroe
3rd place Team Chalet, Chalet Cheese Co-op, Monroe

Brick, Muenster
2nd place Dave Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Company, Monroe

1st place Jim Demeter, Klondike Cheese Company, Monroe
2nd place Lenny Bass, Lactalis USA, Inc., Belmont

Flavored Pepper Cheese
1st place Heriberto Nickolas, Maple Leaf Coop, Monroe

Smoked Cheese
2nd place Tom Jenny, Car Valley Cheese Co., Inc., Mauston

Smear Ripened Cheese
1st place Andy Hatch, Upland’s Cheese, Dodgeville

Reduced Fat or Lite Cheese
1st place Jim Demeter, Klondike Cheese Company, Monroe
2nd place William Knox, Maple Leaf Coop, Monroe

Open Class for Soft and Spreadable Cheese
3rd place Lenny Bass, Lactalis USA, Inc., Belmont

1st place Bruce Workman, Edelweiss Creamery, Monticello

Flavored Havarti
1st place Ben Workman, Edelweiss Creamery, Monticello

Open Class for Semi-Soft Cheese
1st place Brett Krattiger, Maple Leaf Coop, Monroe
3rd place Brett Krattiger, Maple Leaf Coop, Monroe

Flavored Goat Milk Cheese
1st place Jean Rossard, Montchevre-Betin, Inc., Belmont
2nd place Adam Knapp, Woolwich Dairy, Lancaster
3rd place Adam Knapp, Woolwich Dairy, Lancaster

Natural Goat Milk Cheese
2nd place Martin Chavez, Montchevre-Betin, Inc., Belmont
3rd place Doug Waechter, Montchevre-Betin, Inc., Belmont

Latin American Cheese
2nd place Nick Siedschlag, Chula Vista Cheese Co., Browntown
3rd place Chad Duhai, Zimmerman Cheese, South Wayne

Sheep and Mixed Milk Cheese
3rd place Bob Koenig, Carr Valley Cheese Co. Inc., Mauston

2nd place Reedsburg First Shi, Foremost Farms, Reedsburg


47th Annual Governor’s Blue Ribbon Livestock Auction
This year at the 47th Annual Governor’s Blue Ribbon Livestock Auction at the Wisconsin State Fair, 25 animals were sold for a total of $419,750, which is a new all-time record for the fair. Each exhibitor receives 80% of the winning bid, and the remaining 20% is applied to youth scholarships, grants, and auction expenses.

The 2015 grand champion steer was sold Wednesday night for a record of $65,000. Lauren May’s 1,300-pound Crossbred steer was purchased by Roundy’s. The 15-year-old Iowa County exhibitor who is from Mineral Point was also last year’s top seller after earning grand champion honors in 2014. Lauren is the sister of Brock May, who had either sold the champion or the reserve champion steer at the state fair for 6 consecutive years between 2007-2012.

Olivia Leahy, of Lafayette County, whose animal was named reserve grand champion steer at this year’s fair, sold for $32,000 to Kenosha Beef International/Birchwood Foods.

Myles Leahy, from Lafayette County, for the second year in a row had the top hog sale for a record of $35,000 to Potawatomi Hotel and Casino.

Calvin Reilly, from Lafayette County, for the third straight year, exhibited the Grand Champion Lamb. His Hampshire went for a record of $21,000 on the auction block and was purchased by Meijer.

Congratulations, to all of you!

Helpful Information


Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) released the following statement on emerald ash borer (EAB) confirmed in Marquette and Richland Counties for the first time. See the full release below.

EAB Confirmed in Marquette, Richland Counties for First Time

Contact: Donna Gilson, 608-224-5130, donna.gilson@wi.gov
Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020, william2.cosh@wiscosnin.gov

MADISON – Marquette County will become the 38th Wisconsin county to be quarantined for emerald ash borer, following discovery of the tree-killing beetle in the Town of Montello there. In addition, EAB has been confirmed for the first time in Richland County in the town of Dayton.

Marquette County will now be placed under quarantine.

Richland County has been under quarantine for EAB since July 2014, so this new find does not change anything from a regulatory standpoint there. Four counties – Lafayette, Iowa, Green and Richland -- were quarantined in 2014 because they were surrounded by counties where EAB had been found, and it was likely EAB was present there in low numbers that are difficult to detect. EAB has now been confirmed in all of those counties except Iowa. Actually confirming the presence of EAB should alert residents that it is more important than ever not to move firewood from the county to non-quarantine areas, officials say.

Both new EAB detections resulted from routine trap monitoring. In Richland County, staff from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection found two adult beetles July 28 in a trap along Highway 14 in the Town of Dayton, about five miles west of Richland Center. There are a few ash trees in the immediate area, and they show symptoms of EAB infestation.

U.S. Department of Agriculture staff found one adult beetle July 29 in a Marquette County trap along Cotters Bay Road in the Town of Montello, about a mile west of the city of Montello. The level of EAB activity there has not been determined yet.

Quarantines prohibit ash wood products and hardwood firewood from being moved to areas that are not quarantined. For businesses handling wood products that could carry EAB, this means that they must work with DATCP to assure that they are not transporting the pest to non-quarantine counties. For private citizens, a quarantine means that residents may not take firewood from these counties to non-quarantine counties.

“We strongly discourage moving firewood even within quarantine areas,” said Brian Kuhn, Plant Industry Bureau Director in the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. “The vast majority of EAB infestations have resulted from the movement of firewood, as evidenced by the number of times our first find in a given county has been in campgrounds. Most of the quarantined counties are not generally infested, so moving firewood within them could bring the pest to new areas in the county that would otherwise remain uninfested for several years."

Kuhn notes that other forest pests and diseases also move easily and invisibly from one location to another under the bark of firewood.

DATCP recommends that property owners who have ash trees in quarantine counties:

  • Keep a close watch for possible signs of EAB infestation: Thinning canopy, D-shaped holes in the bark, cracked bark, branches sprouting low on the trunk, and woodpeckers pulling at bark.

  • Consider preventive treatments if your property is within 15 miles of a known infestation.

  • Consider planting different species of trees that are not susceptible to EAB.

  • Call a professional arborist, and visit emeraldashborer.wi.gov for detailed information.

Emerald ash borer is native to China and probably entered the United States on packing material, showing up first in Michigan in 2002. It was first found in Wisconsin in 2008 in Ozaukee County.

Other quarantined Wisconsin counties are Adams, Brown, Buffalo, Calumet, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Door, Douglas, Fond du Lac, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Lafayette, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Monroe, Oneida, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Racine, Rock, Sauk, Sheboygan, Trempealeau, Vernon, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha and Winnebago.

EAB adults lay eggs on the bark of ash trees in mid- to late summer. When the eggs hatch a week or two later, the larvae burrow under the bark for the winter and feed, forming the characteristic S-shaped tunnels and destroying the tree's ability to take up nutrients and water. The following summer, the adults emerge through D-shaped holes in the bark.

The Wisconsin Emerald Ash Borer Program includes DATCP; DNR; UW-Madison; UW-Extension; USDA Forest Service and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.


*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 Marklein directly.

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State Capitol - Room 8 South - Post Office Box 7882 - Madison, Wisconsin 53707 - Phone: (608) 266-0703