From:                              Sen. Howard Marklein <> on behalf of Sen.Marklein

Sent:                               Friday, September 23, 2016 11:25 AM

To:                                   Marquardt, Michael

Subject:                          Kids In the Classroom Means Dollars In the Budget


Categories:                     WEB: POST


Senator Howard Marklein's Weekly E-Update

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Kids In the Classroom
Means Dollars In the Budget

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Last week Friday, September 16, 2016, was the third Friday in September.  This was an important day for school district budgets throughout the state.  It was the day that all public schools in Wisconsin conducted their pupil enrollment count for submission to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI).  The Membership Count is the most important variable in determining a school district’s budget. 
Do not be alarmed!  You may be experiencing a little déjà vu.  I wrote a similar column about this topic last year. It is THAT important. 
As your State Senator, I often hear that we should be spending generously on education.  I agree – and we have. (Please read my column about K-12 Funding here).  But I also know that with our current school funding formula, more spending on education does not necessarily translate to more money for every school district budget.
School district budgets are determined by the Membership Count (the number of kids) multiplied by the districts’ per pupil revenue limit (the amount of taxes and state aid a district has per student). The per pupil revenue limit is a state-imposed limit based on historic data and spending. Each district is evaluated individually, which is why there is a range in per pupil revenue limits throughout the state.  This formula has been used in Wisconsin for about 20 years.
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 second Friday of January (including part-time attendance by home-based or private school students), plus the summer school and foster group home FTE.
For example, if a district’s enrollment is 1,200 pupils and its allowable revenue limit per pupil is $10,000 (approximate state average for 2015-2016), 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.
I often ask school leaders to consider whether they would prefer 10 more students or $100,000 more in state aids.  The answer is always (or at least it should be) 10 more students.  More state aid does not increase the budget.  More students in the classroom does increase the budget.
This is why you will see some school districts assertively marketing open enrollment to students in neighboring districts. More kids in the classroom ultimately translates to more dollars in the budget. It is one variable that a school district can most directly influence.
You also see our communities working hard to grow existing businesses, entice new employers and improve infrastructure to keep families in rural Wisconsin. Economic development, jobs and quality of life have a major impact on K-12 education. Economic development efforts directly impact local school finance.
The Southwest Partners group in Richland County is a great example of a grassroots, community effort to address these issues.  The group works hard to partner students with local businesses for work experience and education. Many students have recognized that there are great jobs rights in Richland County and with education, ambition and connections, they have a future in our rural communities. Not only does this benefit the individual student (and future worker), it is good for the business, the school districts, the communities, the churches and small businesses throughout the county. Community innovation!
At this time, the full reporting for enrollment counts is not yet available from the DPI. But as we begin budget deliberations in 2017, I will be analyzing this data further and ask that you keep the math in mind: kids in the classroom mean dollars in the budget.


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PSA - Headlights During Limited Visibility

Public Service Announcement:
Headlights During Limited Visibility Enforced October 1, 2016

Click on the image above to listen to the public service announcement

MADISON, WI — State Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) issued an alert and reminder that a new state law requiring headlights during times of limited visibility will soon be enforced on Wisconsin’s roads. 

“As I drove to the State Capitol today, our landscape was blanketed in fog.  I was alarmed to see the number of other drivers who did not turn on their headlights,” Marklein said. “Operating without headlights on days like today is very dangerous. Oncoming traffic and approaching drivers cannot see you when your headlights and taillights are not on.”

Marklein authored Act 165 (Senate Bill 249 and Assembly Bill 337) with Rep. Travel Tranel (R-Cuba City) to require drivers to turn on their headlights during times of limited visibility.  Limited visibility means you can't see something 500-ft away, which is a little less than two high school football fields.

Statewide law enforcement is currently issuing warnings for failure to turn-on headlights during inclement weather situations. Beginning October 1, 2016, they will be able to ticket motorists up to $160 for failure to comply with the law.

“For some of us, turning on headlights in the fog or during a snowstorm is common sense. But for other people, this action isn’t automatic and can cause accidents and frustration for other drivers,” Marklein said. “This law will allow law enforcement to issue tickets for driving without headlights during inclement weather the same way that they do when an individual drives without headlights and taillights in the dark.”




Representative Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City) and Sen. Marklein were honored to help open the David Canny Rountree Trail in Platteville last week. This community project was a collaborative effort for wellness! Photo courtesy of Andrew Nussbaum, WI Department of Tourism.



Representative Ed Brooks (R-Reedsburg) and Sen. Marklein presented a legislative citation to Sarah Breckley at the Reedsburg School Board meeting on Monday, September 19, 2016.

Sarah is the Wisconsin High School Teacher of the Year! She said that the school and district leadership helps her to be a great teacher by letting her do "crazy" things with her students! Crazy or not - Sarah inspires her students and the families she teaches in the Reedsburg Schools. Congrats Sarah!


Sen. Marklein attended the Juneau County Farm Bureau's Annual Meeting on September 22, 2016. 



Senator Marklein was recently recognized by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) for his service on behalf of businesses in Wisconsin.  Click Here to view the MMAC Legislator Scorecard.



Wisconsin Monthly Housing Statistics

The Wisconsin Realtors Association (WRA) recently released the following data related to housing in Wisconsin. To view data related to these statistics, please visit the WRA website.

Wisconsin Regional Report
Reflecting residential data through August 2016


Median Price



YTD 2016

YTD 2015

% Change

YTD 2016

YTD 2015

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