See all monthly Wisconsin Public Education Network Action Newsletters on our website at WisconsinNetwork.org/Action-News. If you have news, actions, achievements, or updates you’d like us to include in our next newsletter, submit them at this form!
Read on for news that matters to Wisconsin kids and their public schools, action opportunities you can take right now, and local action spotlights.
NEWS THAT MATTERS TO KIDS & PUBLIC SCHOOLS
- ESSER III FUNDS DISTRIBUTED
With just four months left in the school year, Wisconsin schools finally start seeing the federal ESSER III funds that had been delayed since last spring when the Joint Finance Committee did not approve the Department of Public Instructions’ plan for the distribution of the funds. Read more here.
- SLATE OF BILLS FAST-TRACKED THROUGH CAPITOL
A series of distracting education bills bills has been fast-tracked through the Assembly–where they passed in near-party-line votes—and are set for votes in the Senate soon. (Rep. Joel Kitchens, a Republican, was the only member of his party to vote against a voucher free-for-all bill.) Among them are bills that would remove income caps on school voucher eligibility (a proposal that could cost taxpayers over half a billion dollars) and break up Milwaukee Public Schools. These bills emerged quickly, days after Governor Evers called for an investment of the state surplus in public schools, and appear to be headed for vetoes. See our statement here, where dozens of parents and advocates call for the focus to remain on students.
- SPRING PRIMARY ELECTION
The spring primaries took place on February 15, and many communities saw school board races narrowed down. Congratulations to all the public education champions statewide who made it through the primaries, and we invite everyone to be a public schools voter in the April 5 general election!
- PUBLIC SCHOOLS WEEK
Public school advocates across Wisconsin and the U.S. put their #AppreciationInAction Feb. 21-25 for Public Schools Week! See a video from Gov. Tony Evers, a video from Sen. Tammy Baldwin, posts from State Supt. Jill Underly and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, Gov. Evers’s proclamation, and more on our Facebook page! Relive the week and join us in thanking all those who celebrated this year.
- NEW BIPARTISAN ‘401KIDS’ BILL
A new bill introduced by Reps. John Macco (R-Ledgeview) and Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee), and Sen. Janis Ringhand (D-Bayfield), with State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, proposes opening special savings accounts with $25 for each child born or adopted in Wisconsin.
- LAST CALL TO SIGN OUR PETITION: USE THE STATE SURPLUS TO PROVIDE OUR KIDS WITH FULLY-FUNDED PUBLIC SCHOOLS
As the Assembly session closes, the Senate gets set for an imminent vote and a slate of bills appears headed for Gov. Evers’s desk (and likely vetoes), this is the last call for signatures on our petition. Show lawmakers and leaders where Wisconsin really stands on public schools and the solutions available: ADD YOUR NAME and call on Wisconsin leaders to meet the needs of Wisconsin students now!
- SUMMER SUMMIT TICKETS AVAILABLE NOW!
TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE NOW! Register by March 15 to be entered in a drawing to win a Public Schools Unite Us prize package, which includes a welcome basket and one night hotel stay (your choice of July 20 or 21) in beautiful downtown Eau Claire! Thank you to the Eau Claire Area School District for hosting this year’s Summit! WisconsinNetwork.org/Summit
- NATIONAL RURAL SCHOOLS CONFERENCE IN GREEN BAY
The 2022 National Forum to Advance Rural Education will be in GREEN BAY on October 20 and 21! Presentation proposals are due March 25. Learn more, make plans and/or submit a proposal here.
- VOTE PUBLIC DIRECTORY + HQ
Stay up-to-date with nonpartisan #VotePublic efforts this spring, locally and statewide, at our Election HQ. If you’re working on efforts to get out the vote in your community, please reach out to Christian@WisconsinNetwork.org so you can be placed on a directory of local leaders. That way, we can help put new organizers in touch with you so you can bring them into your efforts—and continue doing what you do best.
- SPRING WORKSHOPS FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION CHAMPIONS
We have a number of spring workshops on the horizon. Visit WisconsinNetwork.org/Calendar for the full slate. Next up: MAKE YOURSELF HEARD (Social Media 101 for Public Education Champions) on March 9 and GET THE FACTS: School Funding Basics for School Board Candidates & Public Education Advocates on March 16.
LOCAL ACTION SPOTLIGHT: UPDATES FROM AROUND THE STATE
From Chris, our NW Regional Organizer:
The Northwest Region has expanded its Public Schools Week footprint thanks to the Chippewa Valley Association of Educators-Retired (CVAE-R). The following public school champions placed WI Public Education Network signs at all Eau Claire Area School District buildings during the week of February 21-25: Lisa Ausman, Patti Iverson and Kim Wilson. One of the newest members of CVAE-R, Holly Sweeney, helped in Eau Claire and then expanded to nearby Elk Mound and Boyceville. Also helping to plan the week were CVAE-R members Ken Sullivan and Lori Koepke.
As elections and referenda approach, Northwest Wisconsin public school champions are encouraged to leave Network signs up in snowbanks and yards: Public School Proud, I Love My Public Schools & I Vote, Public Schools Unite Us.
Sandy Whisler, a Lake Mills substitute teacher, Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools board member and organizer with Citizen Advocates for Public Education, was published in the Wisconsin State Journal with her excellent Public Schools Week letter to the editor: “Public schools unite community.”
– Fox Cities Advocates for Public Education celebrated Public Schools Week with a statement and a call to action, and sent positive, pro-public buttons to over 40 area PTO partners!
– The League of Women Voters of Greater Green Bay are hosting three area school board forums:
Green Bay Area School District School Board Candidate Forum March 10: 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Five of the six candidates are participating.
West DePere School District School Board Candidate Forum March 15: invitations are pending.
Howard Suamico School District School Board Candidate Forum March 16: invitations are pending. The Howard Suamico Forum is the second forum for this election as there was a forum prior to the primary.
Countless parents, educators and advocates from the Milwaukee area have spoken up about the legislature’s proposal to break up Milwaukee Public Schools in February!
– Jenni Hofschulte testified before the Assembly Education Committee and is quoted in this article.
– MPS parent and board member Megan O’Halloran submitted a quote about the proposal.
– MPS Board President Bob Peterson and Superintendent Keith Posley also testified before the Assembly Education Committee and celebrated their pride for the successes of their district.
PARTNER & ACTION RESOURCES