GO PUBLIC! 2019-2021 Budget HQ

The 2019-2021 state budget has a direct impact on our children, schools, and communities. Join us in making an impact to stand up for a Wisconsin where everyone thrives!

Tentative dates for agency briefings and public hearings of the Joint Committee on Finance have been announced! Please note that these are not officially on the legislative calendar, but have been reported on the Wheeler Report. SAVE THE DATE and stay tuned for confirmation and venues!

​From our friends at the Wisconsin Association of School Boards:

  • Wednesday, April 3 – Agency briefings
  • Thursday, April 4 – Agency briefings

Agency briefings are hearings at which representatives of state agencies, typically the head of the agency, present testimony to the JFC on the Governor’s budget bill and the effect that the proposed budget would have on the agency and its programs. Typically, agency briefings take place at the Capitol.

In addition, the letter to agencies put forward a tentative schedule of JFC public hearings on the state budget at the following four locations around the state:

  • Friday, April 5 – Public Hearing – Janesville Area
  • Thursday, April 11 – Public Hearing – Milwaukee Area
  • Monday, April 15 – Public Hearing – River Falls/Hudson Area
  • Wednesday, April 24 – Public Hearing – Green Bay Area

Wisconsin Public Education Network is once again organizing to hold regional workshops  to prepare our people to take an active role in making sure the budget that is passed in 2019 will be one that transforms the reality of our schools and ensures the success of our children.


Here are the 3 top ways to get involved:

  1. Attend one of our four regional workshops. These aren’t just for “newbies” – they’re a way to take time to connect and create local budget action plans that meet the needs of our actual communities. Whether you’re a veteran organizer, and educator, a parent, a board member, an administrator, a student, or someone totally new to and outside of the education world who just cares about kids and schools….we need YOUR VOICE to be heard to be successful!
  2. Stay Updated on the weekly Budget Action Calls! We are trying to not only create a budget that does what’s best for kids but also trying to build momentum for our coalition in the future. Stay connected with us during this important time. Register to receive the call-in information. These calls are OPEN TO ALL.
  3. Spread the word. Please help us make sure Wisconsin takes advantage of this opportunity to come together to speak in one voice for our kids and schools! Please share these opportunities and graphics widely with your own district, groups, lists, and on social media. http://bit.ly/WiBudget

The four workshops will be held in

Public education advocates will be joined at these trainings by our organizing partners from the ACLU of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Voices (a collective of non-profit organizations), and Wisconsin Leadership Development (WiLD) project. Click here to register, and please share this link widely: http://bit.ly/WiBudget (shareable facebook post here; printable flier with QR code to registration in color or black & white). The training is just $5 includes lunch a a full day of proven-successful, action-focused training with experienced local and professional organizers.

Click here to register for a Budget Action Workshop near you: http://bit.ly/WiBudget

2019-2021 Budget Resources:

Gov. Evers is scheduled to deliver the official budget request on Feb. 28. After the budget is unveiled, the Joint Finance Committee will hold public hearings on the budget around the state. Lawmakers will then debate and amend the budget and submit their version to the Governor to be signed into law. The Governor has line-item veto authority but cannot add additional items to the budget when signing the document.

Budget News of Note

Budget Information and Legislative Contacts

      WI budget process

        Members of the Joint Finance Committee:

        • Co-Chair Sen. Alberta Darling (R) (SD 8) River Hill
        • Co-Chair Rep. John Nygren (R) (AD 89) Marinette
        • Vice Chair Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R) (AD 31) Clinton
        • Vice Chair Sen. Luther Olsen (R) (SD 14) Ripon
        • Sen. Howard Marklein (R) (SD 17) Spring Green
        • Sen. Duey Stroebel (R) (SD 20) Saukville
        • Sen. Thomas Tiffany (R) (SD 12) Hazelhurst
        • Sen. Devin LeMahieu (R) (SD 9) Oostburg
        • Ranking Dem Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D) (SD 27) Middleton
        • Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D) (SD 6) Milwaukee
        • Rep. Shannon Zimmerman (R) (AD 30) River Falls
        • Rep. Terry Katsma (R) (AD 26) Oostburg
        • Rep. Mark Born (R) (AD 39) Beaver Dam
        • Rep. Mike Rohrkaste (R) (AD 55) Neenah
        • Rep. Chris Taylor (D) (AD 76) Madison
        • Rep. Evan Goyke (D) (AD 18) Milwaukee
        • Committee Clerk: Joe Malkasian: (608) 264-8314 – joe.malkasian@legis.wisconsin.gov

        Individual email addresses for Joint Finance Committee members:

        You can email the entire Joint Finance committee by sending written testimony to:BudgetComments@legis.wisconsin.gov.
        Use subject line: Testimony on 2019-2021 Budget for Public Record and cc your own legislators.

        Follow the Joint Finance Committee calendar and updates here.

        Testimony Tips, Tools & Resources

        How to prepare effective testimony :
        • Start with a clear ask: make explicit exactly what change you want to see. BE SPECIFIC
        • Tell your story. Why do you care so much about this issue? Why does it matter to you? Share specific moments that demonstrate the impacts of this issue in your life and your community or school.
        • Connect it to others. Why should others care? How does the issue that matters to you matter to all of us?  SHOW this through specific examples of how we are connected.
        • Demonstrate the urgency. What change do you want to see and why does this change need to happen now?
        • Be positive and aspirational. Focus on what you are FOR, not what you are against. Remember: legislators could go back to a “base budget.” They need to know what your local schools need to meet the needs of all students.
        • Get the facts and MAKE IT LOCAL.  Avoid making blanket statements and focus on the local impacts of the state budget. Talk to your superintendent or business manager and understand what your district needs. Is $200/pupil enough? How much spendable aid per pupil does your district need? What would it look like if your district saw an increase in special education funding? And take advantage of our team of experts ready to vet your testimony for accuracy.
        • Be prepared to use your time wisely. Individuals will be allowed two minutes each at the microphone. Always start by stating your full name and city/district.  Groups of 3 or more will be allowed 5 minutes total.
        • Practice! 2 minutes of testimony is about 250 words. Make sure your story is clear, vivid and paints a local picture of why you care — and that you include your budget request. Be prepared to deliver your testimony in 2 minutes, as public testimony is usually strictly timed.
        • Be memorable. Consider purchasing one of our Go Public t-shirts (available at our table at the hearings, or in advance through your regional coordinators). Or bring school spirit by wearing your local district’s colors & gear. Having us spread out in the audience with matching shirts is a very strong visual statement of support for students and public schools.
        • Stand united. Group testimony gets the attention of listeners and can send a message of unity. Consider bringing a group of parents, educators, administrators, board members, and community leaders with you. Be sure all of your names are included on the written testimony you submit to the clerk.
        • Show solidarity respectfully. Clapping, cheering and signage is very strictly NOT ALLOWED at JFC hearings, and those in violation of this rule may be removed. One effective way to show appreciation or support for the testimony of others is to silently stand in support while they are speaking.
        • Visual aids—photos of people you are talking about, or your school, or a chart or graph can be effective for visual learners, and can help personalize your story.
        • Amplify your message!  Once your testimony is ready to go, share it widely! It’s not enough that legislators hear what you have to say. Make sure your friends and neighbors know why you are standing up and speaking out, and what concerns are most pressing for your schools. Consider submitting your testimony as a letter to the editor of your local paper, share it online on your team’s website, post it on social media, and make a video sharing your concerns! Use #GoPublic and #WIBudget2017  and send your stories to hdb@WisconsinNetwork.org to help us track the show of support for our public schools.
        • Make it official!  When submitting written testimony (by email or snail mail), be sure to ask that your budget testimony be entered into the public record. Bring 3 hard copies of your testimony to the JFC hearing with you to present for the same purpose (one copy for the clerk, one for our team when you check in, and one to read). Use subject line: BUDGET TESTIMONY FOR PUBLIC RECORD. Make sure your message includes your full name and address, and include the testimony in the body of the email (not as an attachment).
        • Let YOUR elected officials know you testified! Even if your elected officials aren’t members of the Joint Finance Committee, they will vote on the budget and need to know your concerns. CC your own legislators on all email correspondence to the JFC, and send them written copies of your oral testimony if you present it at the hearing.  Find your legislators here.
        JFC testimony pro tips-page-001

        Go Public


        2017-2019 Budget Archive

        This page is updated regularly as new budget information emerges. Please check back often to stay informed and up-to-date on budget news and actions!

        About the author: Wisconsin Public Education Network

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        1. Sheila Plotkin - March 19, 2017 at 3:32 am Reply

          Here’s the link to the video of my 2:00, 227 word testimony. I plan to testify at the JFC hearing in Platteville on April 3. Once I decided on my story, I “told” it to myself, out loud, several times. When I liked what I was hearing, I typed it out. Little by little, I pared it down to essentials and to the 2:00 limit that I’m told the JFC imposes. Then, I rehearsed it until I could recite it pretty much from memory without needing to refer to the printed version. Freed from that connection, I worked on the timing of individual phrases for emphasis and on vocal expression. It took time, but all things worth doing take time. I think this is worth doing. Our public school teachers and staff, parents, and 800,000 kids are counting on us. I hope this will inspire you to create your own testimony.


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