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2015-17 State Budget

Opportunity Schools Partnership Program (Turnaround School District)

Creates an Opportunity Schools Partnership Program (OSPP) with a Commissioner appointed by the Milwaukee County Executive.   The OSPP Commissioner is granted authority autonomous of the MPS Board to intervene and implement turnaround strategies in persistently failing MPS Schools.


Educational Licensure Reciprocity

Requires the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to issue a Wisconsin teacher or administrator license to any individual holding a similar license in good standing from any other state and having at least one year’s job experience in that state.


Vacant and Underutilized MPS Facilities

Requires that MPS annually publish an inventory of all school buildings that are vacant or “underutilized” under specific definitions placed in the state statutes.  Further requires that the city make schools on this inventory available for purchase to education operators, including private schools and independent charter schools, and prohibits the city from demanding a payment in lieu of property taxes as a condition of sale of an eligible building.


Charter School Replication

Provides that the governing board of an independent charter school is authorized to open additional schools if all of the schools operated by the board have scored in one of the top two performance categories on the most recent state accountability report.


Teach For America (TFA) Funding

Provides $1 million over the biennium in state funding for expansion of Teach for America.


MPS Per Pupil Funding

Eliminates the Governor’s proposed $150 per pupil cut in aid in the 2015-16 school year and increases aid to $250 per pupil for the 2016-17 school year.


Choice School Per Pupil Funding

Increases per pupil funding for Milwaukee choice students from the current level of $7,210 for a K-8 pupil and $7,856 for a 9-12 pupil to $7,222 for a K-8 pupil and $7,868 for a 9-12 pupil in 2015-16 and $7,330 for a K-8 pupil and $7,976 for a 9-12 pupil in 2016-17.


Independent Charter School Per Pupil Funding

Increases per pupil funding for independent charter schools from the current level of $8,075 to $8,087 in 2015-16 and $8,195 in 2016-17


Additional Charter Authorizers

Empowers the following entities to be independent charter school authorizers:  (a) The Office of Educational Opportunity in the UW System is empowered to authorize charters in school districts statewide with more than 25,000 pupils (currently Madison and Milwaukee); (b) Gateway Technical College is empowered to authorize charters in its technical college district for high schools providing a STEM curriculum; (c) the College of the Menomonee Nation and the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College are empowered to authorize 6 charters between them anywhere in the state; and (d) the Waukesha County Executive is empowered to authorize charters located in Waukesha County.


Bussing Funding for Independent Charters

Requires that the state to provide pupil transportation aid to independent charter schools.


School Accountability Reports

Creates a 5 star academic performance scale for schools using a weighted system of pupil achievement and growth tied to a school district’s percentage of economically disadvantaged pupils.


UW System Funding

Reduces the proposed state funding cut to the UW system by $50 million.


Charter School Administrative Reforms

Makes a series of reforms impacting independent charter schools including: (a) eliminates the requirement that the UW board of Regents approve schools authorized by UW-Milwaukee and UW-Parkside; (b) deletes restrictions on the size and number of charter schools the UW-Parkside may authorize; (c) eliminates district residency requirements for pupils attending independent charter schools; and (d) specifies that independent charter schools are LEAs for the purpose of federal law.


Delete Educational Costs Limit on Choice Payments

Eliminates the requirement that Choice schools receive the lower of their actual educational costs as calculated by DPI or the statutorily set per pupil amount.   Choice schools will now receive the statutory per pupil regardless of their actual cost of education.


MATC Board “Employer” Definition

Modifies the definition of “employer representative” on the MATC Board to require that the person serving as an employer representative must have at least 2 years of experience managing a business with at least 15 employees or managing the finances or hiring of personnel in a business with more than 100 employees.


Enterprise Zones

Increases the number of Enterprise Zones available to the state from 20 to 30.

Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)

Federalizes treatment of the AMT starting in 2017, resulting in a tax cut of $6 million in 2016-17; $25.4 million in 2017-18; and $29.9 million in 2018-19.


Zoo Interchange

Ensures on-time completion of the core Zoo Interchange project despite delaying the funding for Highway 45 North and ancillary street reconstruction.


Mass Transit Funding

Provides a 4% increase in state Mass Transit Aids ($1.85 million annually for Milwaukee)


Milwaukee Intermodal Station

Provides $1.3 million over the biennium for renovation of the Milwaukee Intermodal Station concourse.


Harbor Assistance Grants

Provides $13,584,000 in state bonding for the Harbor Assistance Grant program.


Transitional Jobs

Provides an additional $3 million for expansion of the state transitional jobs program.


Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit

Eliminates reductions in the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit proposed by the Governor, resulting in an additional tax credit of $7.8 million in 2016-17; $15.6 million in 2017-18; $28.2 million in 2018-19 and $31 million in 2019-20 and thereafter.


Prevailing Wage

Eliminates the state Prevailing Wage law for local public works projects and federalize the prevailing wage rate applied to state public works projects.