Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Assembly Passes TEACH, ESSA Bills

The State Assembly passed two bills of interest to WEMTA yesterday. They now go to the Senate for approval.

Broadband, TEACH:  The Assembly voted unanimously to pass Assembly Bill 123. Assembly Bill 123 does the following:

·         Transfers $6 million from the Universal Service Fund and $5 million from the Federal E-Rate Program to provide additional funding for the state’s Broadband Expansion Grant program. It also allows the Public Service Commission (PSC) to distribute an unlimited amount of broadband expansion grants each year—they are currently only allowed to issue $1.5 million in grants per year.

·         Transfers all unspent funds in the Universal Service Fund (which currently provides funding for Newsline for the Blind, the Digital Learning Collaboration, Public Library System Aids, TEACH grants and Library Service Contracts) to the Broadband Expansion Grant program on June 30 of each odd-numbered year.  It also allows PSC to use contributions made by telecommunications providers to the USF to fund broadband expansion grants.

·         Requires the Public Service Commission to consider a potential broadband expansion grant’s impact on the ability of students to access educational opportunities from home.

·          Extends the TEACH Information Technology Block Grant program to July 1, 2019 (it is currently set to end on July 1, 2017). The bill also allows the Department of Administration to award another round of Information Technology Block Grants to school district this year and expands eligibility for the program to school districts that have 16 students per square mile. An additional $7.5 million is transferred from the Federal E-rate Program to fund TEACH contracts.


State ESSA Plan: The Assembly voted unanimously to pass Assembly Bill 233, which prohibits DPI from submitting the state Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan without first responding to any objections by the Assembly Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education. If DPI receives objections to the proposed state plan from one of the education committees, DPI must provide a written response to each objection raised by the committee within 14 days.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Joint Finance Committee Approves Broadband Expansion, TEACH Bill

The Joint Finance Committee unanimously voted to approve Assembly Bill 123 today, which makes changes to the Broadband Expansion Grant program and the TEACH program. AB 123 can now be voted on by the full Assembly.

Assembly Bill 123 does the following:

1)      It transfers $6 million from the Universal Service Fund and $5 million from the Federal E-Rate Program to provide additional funding for the state’s Broadband Expansion Grant program. It also allows the Public Service Commission (PSC) to distribute an unlimited amount of broadband expansion grants each year—they are currently only allowed to issue $1.5 million in grants per year.

2)      Transfers all unspent funds in the Universal Service Fund (which currently provides funding for Newsline for the Blind, the Digital Learning Collaboration, Public Library System Aids, TEACH grants and Library Service Contracts) to the Broadband Expansion Grant program on June 30 of each odd-numbered year.  It also allows PSC to use contributions made by telecommunications providers to the USF to fund broadband expansion grants.

3)      Requires the Public Service Commission to consider a potential broadband expansion grant’s impact on the ability of students to access educational opportunities from home.

4)      Extends the TEACH Information Technology Block Grant program to July 1, 2019 (it is currently set to end on July 1, 2017). The bill also allows the Department of Administration to award another round of Information Technology Block Grants to school district this year and expands eligibility for the program to school districts that have 16 students per square mile. An additional $7.5 million is transferred from the Federal E-rate Program to fund TEACH contracts.


The companion bill, Senate Bill 49, was passed unanimously be the Senate on April 4. The Senate added an amendment to their version of the bill that prohibits an Internet service provider from collecting information about a customer’s use of Internet services, unless the provider of Internet access services receives express written approval from the customer.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Assembly Committee Approves Broadband, TEACH Bill

The Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities unanimously approve Assembly Bill 123 today, which makes changes to the Broadband Expansion Grant program and the TEACH program. The Joint Finance Committee will vote on Assembly Bill 123 on Monday, April 24, after which it can be voted on by the full Assembly.

Assembly Bill 123 does the following:

1)      It transfers $6 million from the Universal Service Fund and $5 million from the Federal E-Rate Program to provide additional funding for the state’s Broadband Expansion Grant program. It also allows the Public Service Commission (PSC) to distribute an unlimited amount of broadband expansion grants each year—they are currently only allowed to issue $1.5 million in grants per year.

2)      Transfers all unspent funds in the Universal Service Fund (which currently provides funding for Newsline for the Blind, the Digital Learning Collaboration, Public Library System Aids, TEACH grants and Library Service Contracts) to the Broadband Expansion Grant program on June 30 of each odd-numbered year.  It also allows PSC to use contributions made by telecommunications providers to the USF to fund broadband expansion grants.

3)      Requires the Public Service Commission to consider a potential broadband expansion grant’s impact on the ability of students to access educational opportunities from home.

4)      Extends the TEACH Information Technology Block Grant program to July 1, 2019 (it is currently set to end on July 1, 2017). The bill also allows the Department of Administration to award another round of Information Technology Block Grants to school district this year and expands eligibility for the program to school districts that have16 students per square mile and a membership of 2,500 or less. An additional $7.5 million is transferred from the Federal E-rate Program to fund TEACH contracts.


The companion bill, Senate Bill 49, was passed unanimously be the Senate on April 4. The Senate added an amendment to their version of the bill that prohibits an Internet service provider from collecting information about a customer’s use of Internet services, unless the provider receives express written approval from the customer.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Public Hearings on the State Budget Start Tomorrow!


The Joint Finance Committee public hearings on the state budget start tomorrow! This is your chance to speak about issues important to you and your school. Items included in the proposed budget include:

  • $649 million increase to K-12 education funding! 
  • An additional $7.5 million in funding for the TEACH Telecommunications Access for Educational Agencies, Infrastructure Grants, and Teacher Training Grants. TEACH grants provide IT infrastructure grants to rural school districts, which schools can use to pay for things like “hotspots”, routers, cabling and installation and activation costs. 
  • A provision that would create lifetime teacher's licenses, which would never need to be renewed
  • An additional $10,300 to fully fund Library Service Contracts for the Milwaukee Public Library, The University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Cooperative Children's Book Center and the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library. 



Monday, April 3 (10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)
University of Wisconsin-Platteville
Ullsvick Hall
30 South Hickory Street
Platteville, WI 53818

Wednesday, April 5 (10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.)
State Fair Park - Exposition Center
8200 West Greenfield Avenue West Allis, WI 53214

Friday, April 7 (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
Berlin High School (Auditorium) 222 Memorial Drive Berlin, WI 54923

Tuesday, April 18 (10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.)
Spooner High School (Auditorium)
801 County Highway A
Spooner, WI 54801

Wednesday, April 19 (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
Ellsworth High School (Gymnasium)
323 West Hillcrest Street
Ellsworth, WI 54011

Friday, April 21 (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
Marinette High School (Auditorium)
2135 Pierce Avenue

Marinette, WI 54143

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Don't Forget to Vote Tuesday, April 4!



Don’t forget to vote in the State Superintendent election on April 4! This is a very important race for the school library community.

Incumbent State Superintendent Tony Evers is being challenged by Lowell Holtz, a retired superintendent of the Whitnall School District.

According to the Milwaukee Journal, priorities for Evers include increasing state school funding, expanding mental health services, closing achievement gaps, and addressing the teacher shortage. Holtz’s first priority is school safety, and he is a strong proponent for eliminating Common Core standards.

Superintendent Tony Evers is endorsed by the Wisconsin Education Association Council, American Federation of Teachers, and the School Administrators Alliance. Evers is also supported by the Senate Education Committee Chair, Luther Olsen (R-Ripon). See a complete list of Evers’ endorsements here. Holtz is supported by a long list of state legislators as well as the Republican Parties of Adams, Dane, Dodge, Marathon, Milwaukee, Waupaca, Barron, Jackson, Sauk, and Washington Counties. See a complete list of Hotlz’s endorsements here.

Here are some quick facts on the two candidates for Tuesday’s election:

·         Tony Evers, incumbent:
·         Position on Libraries: “Under my leadership, we are launching new technology activities in libraries, like the coding project giving librarians the background and resources to nurture development of these skills with youth in their communities.”
·         School choice: opposes expansion of the voucher program, wants focus on resources for public schools.
·         Common Core: Evers has supported the adoption and implementation of Common Core
·         Running on: fixing the school funding formula; increasing graduation rates/reducing achievement gaps; and making sure students graduate ready for college and careers.
·         Website

·         Lowell Holtz, Superintendent, Whitnall School District:
·         Position on Libraries: “Libraries are a seamless extension of our K-12 school system – before pre-school is commenced, throughout the calendar year, and after diplomas are earned.”
·         School choice: supports the school choice program, saying: “I have no problems with the concept of a voucher in every backpack.”
·         Common Core: supports the immediate elimination of the Common Core curriculum
·         Other positions: promises to close the achievement gap, reduce administrative burdens on teachers, and return control of education back to local communities and parents.
·         Website

There are also school board and other local elections going on around the state, as well as the re-election vote of State Supreme Court Justice Annette Ziegler. Ziegler is running unopposed.

And don’t forget about voter ID laws!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Governor Walker Proclaims April as School Library Month in Wisconsin

Governor Walker issued a proclamation declaring April as School Library Month in Wisconsin!

You can view Governor Walker's proclamation here.

School library month is a great opportunity to reach out to your legislators!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Upcoming Listening Sessions

Many state legislators are holding town halls in their districts. Here is a list of upcoming town halls that we are aware of; attending a town hall is a great way to build a relationship with your local legislator!

March 27
State Representative John Macco (R-Ledgeview)
6:15PM- 7:15 PM Glenmore Community Center (5718 Dickinson Rd.)
State Representative Rob Summerfield (R-Bloomer)
5:30 PM-6:30 PM Lake Holcombe Town Hall, 26179 275th St., Lake Holcombe
State Representative Cody Horlacher (R-Mukwonago)
5:30pm – 6:30pm  Jefferson Public Library 321 S. Main Street  Jefferson, WI 53549
March 30
State Representative Dave Considine (D-Baraboo)
5:30 PM-7:00 PM The Ball Room, 112 E Cook St.,Portage
State Representative Cody Horlacher (R-Mukwonago)
5:30pm – 6:30pm Dwight Foster Public Library 209 Merchants Avenue Fort Atkinson, WI 53538

March 31
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-5) and State Representative Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield)
9:00 AM Newburg Village Hall, 614 Main Street, Newberg

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-5)
10:00 AM Kewaskum Village Hall, 204 First Street, Kewaskum
11:00 AM Addison Town Hall, 127 First Street, Addison
April 1

State Representative Romaine Quinn (R-Rice Lake)
4:00 PM-5:30 PM Barron City Hall, 1456 East La Salle Ave., Barron
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-5)
9:00 AM Delafield Town Hall, W302 N1254 Maple Avenue, Delafield
1:00 PM  Greenfield Public Library, 5310 W.  Layton Avenue, Greenfield
April 2
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-5)
7:00 PM Watertown Municipal Building, 106 Jones Street, Watertown
April 3
Joint Finance Committee Budget Listening Session
10:00 AM UW Platteville, Ullsvick Hall, 30 S. Hickory St.Platteville
State Representative Andre Jacque (R- De Pere)
6:00 PM- 7:00 PM Francis Creek Village Hall, 200 Norwood Drive, Francis Creek
April 5
Joint Finance Committee Budget Listening Session
10:00 AM State Fair Park, Exposition Center, 8200 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis
State Representative Shannon Zimmerman (R-River Falls)
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM at the Hudson City Hall (Council Chambers) 505 3rd Street, Hudson, WI 54016-1694
5:00 PM to 6:00 PM at the River Falls Public Library, 140 Union Street, River Falls, WI 54022
April 6
State Representative Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield)
6:00 PM-7:30 PM Wauwatosa Lions Club, 7336 St. James St., Milwaukee
April 7
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-5)
9:00 AM Rubicon Town Hall, N3864 Highway P, Rubicon
9:45 AM Neosho Village Hall, 210 S. Schuyler Street, Neosho
10:30 AM  Lebanon Town Hall, N1738 County Road R, Lebanon

Joint Finance Committee Budget Listening Session
10:00 AM Berlin High School Auditorium, 222 Memorial Drive, Berlin
State Representative Romaine Quinn (R-Rice Lake)
6:00 PM-7:30 PM Rice Lake City Hall, 30 E Eau Claire St., Rice Lake
April 8
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-5)
9:00 AM Waukesha City Hall, 201 Delafield Street, Waukesha
1:00 PM Slinger Village Hall, 300 Slinger Road, Slinger
State Representative Romaine Quinn (R-Rice Lake)
10:00 AM-11:30 AM Clear Lake Community Center, 560 5th St. NW, Clear Lake
State Representative Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum)
8:00 AM-8:45 AM Waldo Village Hall, 810 Second St., Waldo
9:03 AM-10:15 AM St. Cloud Village Hall, 1105 Main St., St. Cloud
11:00 AM-11:45 AM Campbellsport Library, 220 N. Helena St., Campbellsport
12:15 PM-1:00 PM Kewaskum Fire Dept., 1106 Fond du Lac Ave., Kewaskum
1:45 PM-2:30 PM Hartford City Hall, 109 N Main St., Hartford
April 9
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-5)
1:30 PM Sussex Civic Center, N64W23760 Main Street, Sussex
April 10
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-5)
9:00 AM Lowell Village Hall, 105 N. River Street, Lowell
9:45 AM Reeseville Village Hall, 206 S. Main Street, Reeseville
10:30 AM Clyman Village Hall, 713 Morgan Street, Clyman
11:15 AM Hustisford Village Hall, 210 S. Lake Street, Hustisford
12:45 PM Iron Ridge Community Center, 205 Park Street, Iron Ridge
7:00 PM Menomonee Falls Village Hall, W156N8480 Pilgrim Road, Menomonee Falls
State Representative Andre Jacque (R- De Pere)
5:30 PM-6:30 PM Lawrence Town Hall, 2400 Shady Court, De Pere

April 17
State Representative Andre Jacque (R- De Pere)
3:30 PM-4:30 PM Denmark Village Hall, 118 E. Main St., Denmark
April 18
Joint Finance Committee Budget Listening Session
10:00 AM Spooner High School Auditorium, 801 County Hwy A, Spooner
State Representative Andre Jacque (R- De Pere)
6:00 PM -7:00 PM Mishicot Village Hall, 511 E. Main St., Mishicot
State Representative Robert Brooks (R-Saukville)
5:30 PM-6:30 PM W.J. Niederkorn Library, 316 West Grand Avenue,Port Washington
7:00 PM-8:00 PM Cedarburg Police Department Community Room, W75N444 Wauwatosa Road, Cedarburg
April 19
Joint Finance Committee Budget Listening Session
10:00 AM Ellsworth High School Gymnasium, 323 West Hillcrest St., Ellsworth
State Representative Robert Brooks (R-Saukville)
7:00 PM-8:00 PM Jackson Village Hall, N168W20733 Main Street, Jackson
April 21
Joint Finance Committee Budget Listening Session
10:00 AM Marinette High School Auditorium, 2135 Pierce Ave., Marinette
April 25
State Representative Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield)
7:00 PM-8:00 PM Brookfield Town Hall Office, 645 N. Janacek Rd.,Brookfield

Assembly Educatication: Public Hearing on AB 71&72, Pupil Data Inventory



Assembly Education Committee met Thursday 3/23 to hold a public hearing in regards to Assembly Bills 71 and 72, relating to student data inventory. AB 71 creates an inventory of pupil data that must be published to the DPI website that explains the definition, purpose, and law for each type of data collected. AB 72 requires the State Superintendent to provide guidance and training to schools in data privacy and security plans.

Chair of the Committee, Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) gave a summary on both parts of the bills, highlighting its move to protect student data and create programs to ensure the data is well protected by those who use it, collect it, etc.

A member of the 2017 Legislative Council Study Committee on School Data, Margaret Murphy of Neenah, WI, also spoke in regards to the bill effectively addressing the concerns of mass data and ensuring privacy.  

Representatives from DPI also gave brief comments on the bills. Both, according to DPI, reflect procedures that the agency has been doing and believe this bill will help to correlate their practices with the law. When asked by a member of the committee if DPI would change anything in the bills, DPI said they were pleased with the language as is.  

Also registering in favor was the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance.