August 4, 2015

UW Colleges consolidate administration

UW_system_board_of_regentsState budget cuts have led the UW System’s two-year colleges to cut 83 full-time administrative positions. UW Extension and Colleges Chancellor Cathy Sandeen said they’re consolidating into four regions, with one administrative team overseeing each.

“Instead of having full administrative staff on each of our 13 campuses, we’re going to cluster the campuses together in regions under one leadership team,” Sandeen said. “We’re doing that because we’re forced to, and we believe that it also will allow us to provide the services that we need to provide to our students.”

The Colleges are not eliminating any faculty positions, but will cut the instructional budget by $100,000. The 13 campuses lost $5 million in the budget.

“We’re not cutting the academic programs at all. So we’re not cutting any faculty positions and we’re not cutting any classes. What’s being regionalized is administration only,” Sandeen said. “We started this whole process with the assumption that we would not be closing any campuses. They’re too important to the communities they serve.”


University of Wisconsin Colleges to cut 83 positions

State budget cuts will result in a number of changes for the University of Wisconsin System’s 13 two-year college campuses. The budget signed by the governor earlier this month cut about $5 million from the colleges, which was part of the overall $250 million in cuts made to the UW System.

UW Colleges and UW-Extension Chancellor Cathy Sandeen said Tuesday that they will deal with the reduced funding by eliminating the equivalent of 83 full-time positions and consolidating leadership of the colleges into four geographic regions.
Most of the job reductions will come in campus administration and no faculty positions are being targeted. Only $100,000 will be cut from instructional budgets.

Sandeen said the cuts were extremely difficult, but will help UW Colleges position itself for the future. “We are consolidating and regionalizing our administrative functions so that we can keep our promise to Wisconsin students, families and communities to provide access to a high quality University of Wisconsin education,” she said.

WIAA pleased with budget veto on athletic eligibility

Artwork on WIAA headquarters (Photo: Larry Lee)

Artwork on WIAA headquarters (Photo: Larry Lee)

One of Governor Scott Walker’s vetoes of the state budget bill was well received by school districts and the private association that handles athletics eligibility, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association.

The budget originally submitted to the Governor from the Joint Finance Committee included language requiring school boards to allow home-based private students to participate in athletics and extracurricular activities offered in the public school district they live in, but don’t attend. Wade Labecki, Deputy Director of the WIAA, says that could have caused problems from many districts and their ability to belong to the organization. “It said that home school students will be eligible based on their local board of education eligibility standards. Well, the key is, the local board of education chooses to belong to the WIAA, therefore when they choose to belong to the WIAA, they adopt those rules.”

Labecki says their Board of Control established long ago that to be eligible, the student must be a full-time student. Home schooled students don’t meet that standard. “Our rules don’t prohibit a home schooler, per say, from participating. What they do is require you to be a full-time student, and full-time student status can be arranged in multiple ways, but essentially, you’re going to get a diploma from that school in order to be eligible.”

Labecki says many people mistakenly believe many students are home schooled, when in fact they are virtual school students. He says not every student studying at home on a computer is truly home schooled. “Most of the time, you’re not. You’re actually either an open enrollment student taking courses at that school, and getting credits or getting a diploma from that school, or if you want to be eligible at a school, you go to your superintendent and you ask that all of your program be provided via virtual schooling. Then, the school signs you up, pays the bill, gets reimbursed for you, and then you’re actually eligible.”

Governor Walker in his veto message said, “I am partially vetoing this section as it relates to the prohibition of school district membership in an athletic association unless the association requires member school districts to permit home-based private educational program pupils residing in the district to participate in interscholastic athletics in the district. I object to this provision because I do not believe state statutes should stipulate the participation and membership requirements of a private athletic association.”

With the Governor’s veto, the participation policies of the WIAA remain as they were before the budget was passed.

Contributed by Larry Lee, WSAU

Republicans dropping changes to Wisconsin teaching licenses

File photo

File photo

Republican lawmakers on the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee on Thursday backed away from controversial changes to Wisconsin teacher certification rules.

The measure, added to the budget in May, would have allowed anyone with a bachelor’s degree to be licensed to teach math, social studies, science, or English in Wisconsin schools. Anyone with relevant experience, but not necessarily a degree, could teach other subjects.

A provision included in the final motion before the JFC, set to be considered Thursday evening, would remove the language from the budget.

Backers of the proposal claimed it was intended to make it easier for rural school districts to fill vacant positions, although education officials argued it would give Wisconsin the most relaxed licensing standards for teachers in the nation. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers called it “breathtaking in its stupidity” and urged lawmakers to remove it from the budget.

DPI estimates half of school districts to get less aid next year

dpilogoEstimates from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction indicate more than half of Wisconsin school districts will get less general state aid in the coming school year, but Republican legislative leaders called those numbers into question. DPI released projections on Tuesday, showing that 234 of the state’s 424 public school districts are projected to receive less aid in the 2015-16 school year. The DPI numbers also show 188 districts are expected to receive more.

State Representative Sondy Pope (D-Cross Plains), the ranking Democrat on the Assembly Education Committee, said parents won’t be happy. “Now that they’ve realized that these Republican legislators are putting the governor’s presidential ambitions ahead of their children, they are mad, and there’s going to be a price to pay down the road for this,” Pope said. “I know we have said this before, but we’re at the point where we just can’t cut any more.”

Joint Finance Committee co-chairs, Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette), said the numbers released by DPI are “misleading,” and the state budget plan “contains a significant increase” in school funding.