Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Sen. Ringhand and Rep. Spreitzer Holding a Joint Listening Session


Senator Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville) and Representative Mark Spreitzer (D-Beloit) are holding a joint listening session on Tuesday, February 4 in Brodhead. 
This is a great opportunity for WEMTA members who live in this area to discuss school library and technology issues with their lawmakers. 
To see if you live in one of these district, use the "Who Are My Legislators?" tab on the Wisconsin State Legislature's homepage: https://legis.wisconsin.gov/ 

Brodhead Area Listening Session
When: Tuesday, February 4 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. 
Where: Brodhead Public Library, Program Room
 1207 25th St, Brodhead, WI 53520




Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Public Hearing on Dyslexia Bills Scheduled


The Senate Committee on Universities, Technical Colleges, Children and Families is holding a public hearing on two of the Dyslexia package bills on Wednesday, January 22.

SB 578 requires school boards starting in the 2020-21 school year to assess students in 4 year-old kindergarten to second grade on literary fundamentals. The assessment selected by the school district must include phonological and phonemic awareness, rapid automatized naming, letter-word reading and picture-naming vocabulary.   It also requires schools to provide a voluntary questionnaire about reading difficulties in the student’s family history.

SB 579 requires each CESA to employ a dyslexia specialist who has at least 5 years of experience in screening, identifying, and treating dyslexia and related conditions.

Senate
PUBLIC HEARING
Committee on Universities, Technical Colleges, Children and Families
The committee will hold a public hearing on the following items at the time specified below:
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
9:30 AM
412 East
Time restrictions will be imposed to allow for a high volume of testimony. The committee will adjourn no later than 5 pm to account for the State of the State Address.
Holton Sr., Douglas A.
Of Milwaukee, as a Public Member on the Wisconsin Technical College System Board, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2025.
Assembly Bill 47
Relating to: guardianships of children.
By Joint Legislative Council.
Senate Bill 609
Relating to: qualified residential treatment programs, providing an exemption from rule-making procedures, and granting rule-making authority.
By Senators Darling, Johnson, Bewley, Olsen, Wanggaard and Ringhand; cosponsored by Representatives Ballweg, Billings, Bowen, Considine, Emerson, Horlacher, Krug, Ohnstad, Ramthun, Snyder, Spreitzer, Stubbs, Tittl, Tusler and Dittrich.
Senate Bill 668
Relating to: immunity from liability resulting from good faith actions under the child abuse and neglect reporting law.
By Senators Darling and Johnson; cosponsored by Representatives Ballweg and Billings.
Senate Bill 610
Relating to: disclosure of child abuse and neglect reports and records.
By Senators Testin and Wanggaard; cosponsored by Representatives Snyder, Krug, James, Kulp, Ramthun, Tusler and Skowronski. - 2 -

Senate Bill 343
Relating to: University of Wisconsin System resident undergraduate tuition.
By Senator Jacque; cosponsored by Representatives Murphy, Pronschinske, Kerkman, Felzkowski, Ramthun and Zimmerman.
Senate Bill 578
Relating to: assessments to evaluate reading readiness.
By Senators Bernier and Carpenter; cosponsored by Representatives Kulp, Bowen, Dittrich, Kitchens, Krug, Murphy, Mursau, L. Myers, Quinn, Ramthun, Skowronski, Tusler and Wittke.
Senate Bill 579
Relating to: requiring each cooperative educational service agency to employ a dyslexia specialist.
By Senator Bernier; cosponsored by Representatives Kulp, Bowen, Kitchens, Krug, Murphy, Mursau, Ramthun, Skowronski, Tusler, Wichgers and Wittke.
Senate Bill 403
Relating to: free expression within the University of Wisconsin System, providing an exemption from rule-making procedures, and granting rule-making authority.
By Senators Kapenga, Stroebel, Bernier, Craig and Olsen; cosponsored by Representatives Horlacher, Vos, Murphy, Allen, Brandtjen, Dittrich, Duchow, Edming, Felzkowski, Gundrum, James, Katsma, Kitchens, Knodl, Krug, Kuglitsch, Kulp, Macco, Magnafici, Quinn, Ramthun, Rohrkaste, Skowronski, Sortwell, Steffen, Tauchen, Thiesfeldt and Tusler.
________________________
Senator Dale Kooyenga
Chair



Thursday, January 9, 2020

Senate Committee Holding Hearing on BCPL Bill


The Senate Committee on Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection has scheduled a public hearing on January 14 on AB 49, which is one of the Study Committee bills related to the BCPL. AB 49 would give SWIB the ability to invest Common School Fund dollars in the same manner as BCPL in the event that BCPL chooses to delegate some investment authority to SWIB.


Senate
PUBLIC HEARING
Committee on Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection
The committee will hold a public hearing on the following items at the time specified below:
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
1:01 PM
201 Southeast
Assembly Bill 49
Relating to: the authority of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands to delegate authority to invest trust fund moneys and making an appropriation.
By Joint Legislative Council.
Senate Bill 561
Relating to: distribution of the aid payment for personal property upon termination of a tax incremental district.
By Senators Bernier, Ringhand, Marklein, Stroebel, L. Taylor and Wanggaard; cosponsored by Representatives Steffen, Macco, Ohnstad, Bowen, Fields, Gundrum, Kolste, Murphy, Novak, Skowronski, Spreitzer, Subeck, Tusler, VanderMeer, Vruwink and Dittrich.
Senate Bill 614
Relating to: licensure of local organizations to conduct raffles.
By Senators Kapenga, Darling, Jacque, Kooyenga, Olsen, Stroebel and Wanggaard; cosponsored by Representatives Allen, Dittrich, Duchow, Gundrum, Horlacher, Magnafici, Mursau, Quinn and Tusler.
Senate Bill 172
Relating to: the use of billboards to recruit Department of Corrections employees.
By Senators Wanggaard, L. Taylor, Cowles, Olsen and Smith; cosponsored by Representatives Bowen, Schraa, L. Myers, Mursau, Dittrich, Haywood, Zimmerman, Crowley, Kulp, Edming, Brooks, Thiesfeldt, Rohrkaste, Snyder, Stubbs, Brandtjen, Duchow, Steffen, Knodl, Sinicki, Rodriguez, Ohnstad, Goyke, Ramthun, Pronschinske, Spreitzer and Skowronski.
Senate Bill 613
Relating to: repossession of collateral or leased goods.



Monday, December 2, 2019

Package of Dyslexia Legislation Introduced

An eight-bill package of dyslexia legislation has recently been introduced by State Representative Bob Kulp (R-Stratford) and State Senators Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) and Kathleen Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls). One of the bills would require school employees to take a continuing education course on dyslexia awareness. No action has been taken on any of these bills at this time. 

Grants for Teachers: Assembly Bill 595/Senate Bill 555 expands the Master Educator Grant program to provide grants to teachers who earn dyslexia-related certifications from the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators, or the Center for Effective Reading Instruction or Academic Language Therapy Association.
  
Teacher Preparatory Program Requirements:  Assembly Bill 594/Senate Bill 554 requires each teacher preparatory program located in Wisconsin to provide at least 6 credits of instruction in literacy theory, skills, and processes that align with the most recent Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading from the International Dyslexia Association to individuals in the program who intend to apply for a license to teach grades kindergarten to 5 or special education, a license as a reading teacher or a license as a reading specialist.

Screening Correctional Inmates for Dyslexia: Assembly Bill 602/Senate Bill 553 requires the Department of Corrections to test the reading ability of each prisoner and screen each prisoner for dyslexia within six months of confinement in prison.

Publishing Foundations of Reading Test Scores: Assembly Bill 603/Senate Bill 569 requires the Department of Public Instruction to annually publish Foundations of Reading test scores.

Programs to Identify and Address Pupils with Dyslexia in Public Schools: Assembly Bill 604/Senate Bill 571 requires Wisconsin school boards to develop or adopt programs to identify and address pupils with dyslexia.

Online Dyslexia Awareness Training for Licensed School District Employees: Assembly Bill 601/Senate Bill 552 requires all district staff to take an online dyslexia awareness training starting in the 2020-2021 school year. The training would be developed by the Department of Public Instruction and the International Dyslexia Association–Wisconsin Branch, Inc.

CESA Dyslexia Specialist: Assembly Bill 635/Senate Bill 579 requires each CESA to employ a dyslexia specialist who has at least 5 years of experience in screening, identifying, and treating dyslexia and related conditions.

Reading Readiness Assessments: Assembly Bill 632Senate Bill 578 requires school boards starting in the 2020-21 school year to assess students in 4 year-old kindergarten to second grade on literary fundaments. The assessment selected by the school district must include phonological and phonemic awareness, rapid automatized naming, letter-word reading and picture-naming vocabulary.   It also requires schools to provide a voluntary questionnaire about reading difficulties in the student’s family history.


Monday, November 25, 2019

ALA Circulating Petition Opposing Macmillan's New Embargo Policy

The American Library Association (ALA) is circulating a petition urging Macmillan to reverse their new policy that limits libraries to just one copy of each new e-book title for the first eight weeks following the book's release.

You can view the petition here: https://p2a.co/fgcQkzV


Monday, July 29, 2019

WEMTA Submits Comments to FCC about Proposed E-Rate Change

WEMTA worked with our government relations firm and ISTE to submit written comments in opposition to a proposed rule drafted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that would cap spending on the federal Universal Service Fund and combine the E-Rate and Rural Health Care programs under a single funding cap.

Both of these proposals have the potential to reduce E-Rate funding, which is used to support the high-speed broadband and telecommunications necessary for digital learning in K-12 schools and public libraries.

You can view WEMTA's full comments on this proposal here: https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/10729345305652/WEMTACommentsonERate.docx 

We will keep you updated on the status of this proposal. 



Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Governor Evers Signs Budget, Eliminates Funding for 1:1 Device Grants


Governor Evers signed the 2019-21 state budget bill into law with partial vetoes on Wednesday afternoon. 

While Evers said the budget fell short in many areas, he believed that vetoing it in its entirety would have led to more division. 

“This budget is a down payment on The People’s Budget and the priorities of the people of Wisconsin,” said Governor Evers. “Today I am signing a better version of the Legislature’s budget with the understanding that we are nowhere near where we need to be, and there is more work for us to do.” 

Evers vetoed 78 items from the bill as passed by the Legislature. Some of WEMTA’s priority items were impacted by vetoes (full details below). Specifically, Governor Evers vetoed out funding for the Personal Electronic Computing Device Grant Program. He also used his partial veto power to increase funding for per pupil aid payments (it is estimated that this change will increase per pupil payments by $87 million).

Evers has pledged to continue working to expand Medicaid, enact non-partisan redistricting reform, reform the school funding formula and provide student debt relief.

Items of Interest to WEMTA in the budget as signed into law (updated budget summary attached):

Eliminates the TEACH Educational Technology Training Grants. Eliminates the TEACH Educational Technology Training Grants. These grants provided $1.5 million in yearly funding to eligible rural school districts and libraries to provide training to teachers and librarians on the use of educational technology. 

Eliminates Funding for Personal Electronic Computing Device (1:1) Grant program.  Governor Evers used his partial veto authority to eliminate funding for the Personal Electronic Computing Device Grant Program in both years of the budget. In his veto message, Evers said: “I believe that districts may choose to invest in technology through flexibility provided by the revenue limit increase and through the existing TEACH program. Further, these funds could more effectively be spent on programs that close achievement gaps.”  This grant program provided $9.2 million in yearly funding for the purchase of student one-to-one devices (laptops, Chromebooks, tablets, etc.) and supporting software, curriculum, and training.

Transfers $44 million of e-rate funds, which are used to support telecommunications services in schools and libraries, to fund Broadband Expansion Grants. The budget transfers $44 million in e-rate funds to the Broadband Expansion Grant program.  E-rate provides discounts for telecommunications, Internet access and internal connections to schools and libraries. Currently, schools and libraries are not expressly listed as eligible applicants for the Broadband Expansion grants and state statute requires political subdivisions to partner with a telecommunications company or private organization in order to apply.

Eliminates TEACH Curriculum Grant Program. The budget eliminates the TEACH curriculum grants which support the development and implementation of technology-enhanced high school curriculum. These grants currently provide $25,000 per year to eligible consortia of school districts.

Extends the TEACH Information Technology Infrastructure Block Grant program until June 31, 2021 but reduces funding from $7.5 million per year to $3 million per year. The budget extends the TEACH infrastructure grants until June 31, 2021 but reduces funding for the program.  These grants provide technology infrastructure to improve the capacity of rural school districts to utilize technology for students. Eligible purchases include: portable devices/hotspots, routers, access points, cabling, firewall services and other items.

Does not Restore State Funding for the Media Lab run by the Educational Communications Board. The budget as signed into law does not restore state funding for the Media Lab run by the Educational Communications Board. Media Lab funds support Wisconsin-based K-12 educational media production. Governor Evers had proposed re-instating state funding for Media Lab, but the Joint Finance Committee removed that item from the budget.

Maintains Funding for Information Technology Education Grant (Microsoft IT Academy): The final budget provides $875,000 annually to a recipient (currently Microsoft IT Academy) to provide information technology education to public school and technical college students as well as public library patrons.

Fully Funds Library Service Contracts. The budget provides an additional $133,200 in the first year of the biennium and $168,100 in the second year of the biennium to fully fund the library service contracts. The contracts are currently held by:  the Milwaukee Public Library (MPL), the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison), the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL), and the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC).

Fully Funds BadgerLink and Newsline for the Blind. The budget provides an additional $345,800 to fully fund BadgerLink contracts and Newsline for the Blind.

Increases Public Library System Aid.  The budget increases public library system aid by $1 million per year.