2019 - 2020 LEGISLATURE
January 8, 2020 - Introduced by Senators Bewley,
Erpenbach, Larson, Wirch,
Smith, Risser, Ringhand and Miller, cosponsored by Representatives Pope,
Considine, Emerson, Kolste, Sargent, Spreitzer, Billings, Milroy, Stubbs,
Subeck, Neubauer, Gruszynski, Vruwink, Ohnstad, Sinicki, L. Myers and
Brostoff. Referred to Committee on Education.
1An Act to amend
118.60 (4d) (b) 1. (intro.) and 121.91 (4) (n) 1.; and to create
118.60 (4e) of the statutes; relating to: state aid to the resident school district
3of a pupil attending a private school under the Racine or statewide parental
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill prohibits the Department of Public Instruction from making certain
reductions in state aid paid to a school district until the electors of the school district
have approved the reduction in state aid by a referendum vote. Current law requires
DPI to reduce the state aid paid to a school district in a school year by the amount
paid in that school year to a private school participating in the Racine or statewide
parental choice program for each pupil who resides in that school district but who
attends a private school under the Racine or statewide parental choice program.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
118.60 (4d) (b) 1. (intro.) of the statutes is amended to read:
(b) 1. (intro.) Beginning in the 2015-16 school year, subject to sub.
s. 121.085 (1), the department shall decrease a school district's state aid 3
payment under s. 121.08 by an amount calculated as follows:
118.60 (4e) of the statutes is created to read:
(a) In this subsection:
1. “Circulator" has the meaning given for “qualified circulator" under s. 5.02 7
2. “Commission” means the elections commission.
(b) Beginning with state aid paid in the 2021-22 school year, the department 10
may not decrease a school district's state aid payment as provided under sub. (4d) (b) 11
until the school district qualifies as provided under this subsection. A school district 12
qualifies under this subsection when a petition to have the school district's state aid 13
reduced is certified as provided under par. (c) and approved at a referendum as 14
provided under par. (e).
(c) A petition to have a school district's state aid reduced as provided under sub. 16
(4d) (b) is certified when all of the following occur:
1. An individual, committee, or group files a registration statement with the 18
commission to initiate the petition. The registration statement shall include the 19
name and mailing address of the individual, committee, or group initiating the 20
2. The individual, committee, or group under subd. 1. circulates the petition 22
and files the petition with the commission no later than 60 days after the date on 23
which the registration statement is filed under subd. 1. The certification of a 24
circulator shall appear at the bottom of each petition sheet filed with the commission 25
and shall indicate the date that the circulator makes the certification next to the
circulator's signature. The certification of the circulator shall include all of the 2
a. The name and mailing address of the individual, committee, or group 4
initiating the petition.
b. A statement that the circulator personally circulated the petition and 6
personally obtained each of the signatures.
c. A statement that the circulator knows the signatures are of qualified 8
electors, as described under s. 6.02, of the school district that is the subject of the 9
d. A statement that the circulator knows the signers signed the petition with 11
full knowledge of its content.
e. A statement that the circulator knows the respective residences given for 13
f. A statement that the circulator knows each signer signed on the date stated 15
opposite the signer's signature.
g. A statement that the circulator is a qualified elector of this state or, if not a 17
qualified elector of this state, is a U.S. citizen age 18 or older who, if the circulator 18
were a resident of this state, would not be disqualified from voting under s. 6.03.
h. A statement that the circulator intends to support the implementation of the 20
program under this section in the school district that is the subject of the petition.
i. A statement that the circulator is aware that falsifying the certification is 22
punishable under s. 12.13 (3) (a).
3. The commission certifies the results as provided in this subdivision. The 24
commission shall, within 31 days after a petition is filed under subd. 2., review the 25
signatures to determine whether the commission may not count any signatures or
petition sheets under par. (d). If, after review, the commission determines that the 2
petition contains a number of signatures of qualified electors in the school district 3
that is the subject of the petition that is not less than 20 percent of the number of 4
electors voting in the last election of school board members in the school district, the 5
commission shall certify that result to the school district clerk.
(d) 1. The commission may not count an individual signature on a petition sheet 7
if any of the following applies:
a. The signature is not dated.
b. The signature is dated outside the circulation period.
c. The signature is dated after the date of the certification contained on the 11
d. The residency of the signer of the petition sheet cannot be determined by the 13
e. The signature is that of an individual who is not a resident of the school 15
district that is the subject of the petition.
f. The signer has been adjudicated not to be a qualified elector on grounds of 17
incompetency or limited incompetency as provided in s. 6.03 (3).
g. The signer is not a qualified elector by reason of age.
h. The circulator knew or should have known that the signer, for any other 20
reason, was not a qualified elector.
2. The commission may not count any signatures on a petition sheet filed under 22
par. (c) 2. if the circulator fails to sign the circulator's certification.
3. The commission shall confirm that each individual who made a certification 24
under par. (c) 2. meets the definition of “circulator" under this subsection. The
commission may not count any signatures on a petition sheet circulated by an 2
individual who does not meet the definition.
(e) Within 10 days after the commission certifies a petition under par. (c) 3., the 4
school board of the school district that is the subject of the petition shall notify the 5
department of the scheduled date of the referendum required under this paragraph 6
and submit a copy of the petition and certification to the department. The school 7
board shall call a special referendum for the purpose of submitting the petition to the 8
electors of the school district for approval or rejection. In lieu of a special referendum, 9
the school board may specify that the referendum be held at the next regularly 10
scheduled spring primary or election or partisan primary or general election, if such 11
election is to be held not sooner than 42 days after the petition is certified by the 12
commission. The referendum shall be held in accordance with chs. 5 to 12. The form 13
of the ballot shall correspond substantially with the standard form for referendum 14
ballots prescribed by the commission under ss. 5.64 (2) and 7.08 (1) (a). The question 15
submitted shall be whether the reduction in state aid to the school district under s. 16
121.08, as provided for under sub. (4d) (b), shall be made. The school district clerk 17
shall do all of the following:
1. Publish type A, B, C, D, and E notices of the referendum under s. 10.01 (2). 19
Notwithstanding s. 10.01 (2) (a), the type A notice shall include a copy of any 20
certificate the commission submitted to the school district clerk under par. (c) 3. and 21
the question to be submitted to the voters as provided in this paragraph. Section 5.01 22
(1) applies in the event of failure to comply with the notice requirements of this 23
2. Provide election officials with all necessary election supplies.
(f) If a majority of those voting on the question submitted under par. (e) 2
approves, the department shall make the reduction in state aid under s. 121.08 as 3
provided under sub. (4d) (b) in the school district that qualifies under this subsection 4
in the first school year that begins after the date on which the question is approved.
(g) A school district that qualifies under this subsection remains qualified 6
under this subsection.
121.91 (4) (n) 1. of the statutes is amended to read:
(n) 1. The limit otherwise applicable to a school district under sub. 9
(2m) in any school year is increased by an amount equal to the amount
10for that school district the school district's state aid payment is decreased
under ss. 11
115.7915 (4m) (f) and 118.60 (4d) (b) 1