Republicans in the state Assembly are moving ahead with plans to take up school accountability legislation.
The sponsor of the bill unveiled an amendment Tuesday morning, which makes numerous changes. Under the latest plan, schools would be sanctioned if they receive a “D” or “F” on their state report cards for at least three years, starting in the fall of 2016. The failing schools would have to reorganize, contract with an education management agency, or become independent charters. Private schools where 20 or more students get tax-funded vouchers would not be able to take new students if they get a “D” or “F” for three years.
State Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac), the sponsor of the bill and chair of the Assembly Education Committee, has called an executive session on Thursday to take up the amendment.
Following a hearing Tuesday on an unrelated bill, Democrats criticized the push for a quick vote. State Representative Sondy Pope (D-Madison) argued the quick introduction of the amendment left the public little time to provide feedback, or for Democrats to propose their own changes. “I don’t understand how in good conscience, you could have an executive session on a bill we have not seen,” she said.
Pope and others called on Thiesfeldt to schedule another public hearing. The legislation was already the subject of nearly 12 hours of public testimony earlier this year, which Greenville Republican David Murphy noted “went through a lot of the general information that people wanted to give us on school accountability.”
Thiesfeldt indicated he plans to move forward with the executive session as planned, setting the bill up for a possible vote in the full Assembly later this month.