K-12 School Mandate Relief Bill Fails in Committee, Preserves Common School Fund Purpose

Posted by Lisa Strand on Thursday, June 09, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
On Thursday, June 9, Assembly Bill 130, failed to pass committee by a vote of 5-6. Referred to by its supporters as a K-12 "mandate relief" bill, it would have, among other changes, removed the 25 percent limit on computer purchases with Common School Fund (CSF) proceeds. Current law requires schools districts to spend the CSF proceeds on materials and instructional resources for the library, except that up to 25% can be spent on school library computers and related software. One concern expressed by school librarians and others was that some districts would appropriate too much for computers and other hardware at the expense of educational content for those devices.

Voting against the bill: Representatives Steve Nass (R-Whitewater), Evan Wynn (R-Whitewater), Sondy Pope-Roberts (D-Middleton), Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee), Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh), and Fred Clark (D-Baraboo).

Reports are that there was significant discussion about the Common School Fund provision, with Representative Dean Knudson (R-Hudson) suggesting he might draft an amendment to the bill to move the cap from 25% to 50%. Wynn stated that he would not vote for the bill on the floor unless an amendment was added to protect the Common School Fund.
 
The Senate version, SB 95, was voted out of committee by a vote of 4-3 earlier this week.  
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