Education, Workforce and Local Government Items in Summary of Governor's Budget Initiatives

II.SUMMARY OF GOVERNOR'S BUDGET INITIATIVES

A.EDUCATION, WORKFORCE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Elementary and Secondary Education
Reduce equalization aid by $749.4 million over the biennium to help address the state budget deficit.

To protect property taxpayers, reduce school district revenue limits per pupil by 5.5 percent below the amounts authorized in fiscal year 2010-11 and maintain those same amounts over the biennium.

To also protect property taxpayers, repeal revenue limit exemptions for school nurses, pupil transportation costs, school safety equipment and security officers.

To begin to shift the state's focus from educational inputs to accountability for outcomes, create a student information system that will provide longitudinal data to state policymakers, school districts, parents and citizens on the performance of the state's public education system and its students.

Create a third grade reading initiative that will require all third graders in Wisconsin's public schools achieve basic literacy by the end of third grade.

For students who did not attend a Milwaukee choice school in 2010-11, phase out the family income requirement as a condition of eligibility for the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program.

Modify the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program by repealing the enrollment cap; allowing any school in Milwaukee County to participate; authorizing choice schools to use any nationally-normed achievement test rather than just the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination; including in statute current administrative rules related to identifying choice schools with questionable financial administration practices; and requiring the Department of Public Instruction to notify parents of choice students of changes in administrative rules and deadlines prior to the beginning of the school year.

Authorize all four-year University of Wisconsin campuses to sponsor independent charter schools and allow charter schools to be created anywhere in Wisconsin.

Replace the mandate that charter school teachers be licensed by the Department of Public Instruction with the requirement that they have at least a bachelor's degree.

To further expand enrollment options for parents, repeal the enrollment limit for the virtual charter school program.

Extend the deadline to apply under the open enrollment program period for public schools and virtual charter schools from the fourth Friday in February to the end of April.
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To help address the state's budget deficit, repeal GPR-funded categorical aid programs for advanced placement; alcohol and other drug abuse prevention and intervention; alternative education; children-at-risk; English for Southeast Asian children; improving pupil academic achievement; nursing services; preschool to grade 5 programs; science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs; and supplemental aid.

To provide greater flexibility for school districts to address educational outcomes, eliminate mandates requiring school districts to: schedule at least 180 school days annually; employ reading specialists; employ only licensed school nurses who have at least a bachelor's degree; prepare detailed indoor environmental quality plans; provide training to staff on administering prescription and nonprescription drugs only if the training is approved by the Department of Public Instruction; and not exceed 200 teaching service days for Milwaukee Public Schools.
Higher Education

Position the University of Wisconsin-Madison to improve its ability to remain a world leader in research and instruction by restructuring the campus as an independent public authority with greater flexibility to manage compensation, human resources, tuition and capital projects. Greater independence for the state's flagship campus will enhance the Madison campus' potential as a major research institution for job creation, recruitment of top faculty and students, research and patent production, and to better serve Wisconsin's businesses, parents and students.

Require system administration to allocate $250,000 over the biennium to develop a plan to convert the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to a public authority.

Reduce state aid by $250 million over the biennium to University of Wisconsin System institutions and University of Wisconsin-Madison to help address the state budget deficit. The reduction would be split equally between the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Wisconsin System.

Promote administrative efficiency by requiring the system administration central office to absorb a larger share of the $125 million reduction to system campuses. System administration will be reduced by 25 percent compared to 11 percent for the system campuses.

Provide a modest tuition increase for University of Wisconsin System institutions to keep resident undergraduate tuition affordable without sacrificing quality.

Expand the Wisconsin GI tuition and fee reimbursement to provide full remission of academic fees for 128 credits or eight semesters, whichever is longer, without regard to the number of credits the veteran student received under federal program benefits. This restores a promise to our veterans.

To ensure that student financial aid remains available for Wisconsin's working families, exempt financial aid from GPR reductions.

Prevent cuts to student financial aid and focus scarce resources on current Wisconsin higher education grant programs by limiting the Wisconsin Covenant program to students signing the pledge before September 30, 2011.
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Reduce state aid to technical college districts by $71.6 million over the biennium to help address the state budget deficit. Increases in employee contributions for pension and health insurance will generate savings in excess of this state aid reduction.

To avoid state aid reductions being offset with property tax increases, prohibit technical college districts from increasing property taxes above the amounts levied in fiscal year 2010-11, or 1.5 mills, whichever is less.

Eliminate nonresident tuition and fee exemptions for undocumented persons at University of Wisconsin System campuses, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and technical college campuses.
Property Tax Relief

Reduce calendar year 2012 county and municipal aid payments by $96 million. Align adjustments in local government aids to the ability of local governments to realize savings on employee compensation to offset any potentially negative impact on municipal and county budgets.

Cap county and municipal levy increases at the greater of 0 percent or the gain in value due to net new construction, and extend levy limits for two years.

Require municipalities and counties that have declining debt service to reduce levies to reflect this reduced cost, thereby providing additional property tax relief to the taxpayers in those municipalities.

Reduce the minimum inflation rate in the Expenditure Restraint Program from 3 percent to 0 percent to strengthen the incentive to create greater operating efficiencies for municipalities.

Provide an additional $1 million to reimburse local governments for damages and costs incurred as a result of major catastrophes if federal disaster assistance is not available.

Fund the increase in the first dollar credit ($10 million over the biennium) enacted in the 2009-11 biennium.

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