Help Increase Support for Wisconsin Students of Poverty to Take AP Exams

Below you will find a forward from the Wisconsin Gifted Education listserv. A brief communication from each of us to our state legislators could release money to cover AP exam registration fees for Wisconsin students who qualify for free and reduced lunch. A small change is needed in the wording of a specific state statute in order to release federal dollars for that purpose. Thanks for your help. –LAF

As you know, students are beginning to pay registration fees for the Advanced Placement Exams they are planning to take in May.
In Chapter 120 of “School District Government,” Wisconsin statute 120.12 — “School Board Duties”, item (22) — reads as follows:
ADVANCED PLACEMENT EXAMINATIONS. Pay the costs of advanced placement examinations taken by pupils enrolled in the school district who are eligible for free or reduced – price lunches in the federal school lunch program under 42 USC 1758.
While no one objects to these students having the exam fee paid, the district common funds that are used for this purpose are constantly being reduced. As there are no state aids connected to this legislative requirement, districts are following the statute as an “unfunded mandate”.
The Department of Public Instruction has written a federal grant which would allow a variety of other funds (not just local common funds) to be used for the payment of AP exam fees. The federal grant is on hold pending some immediate action by our legislature to change the wording of the above quoted statute that would allow federal grant money to be awarded to the Department of Public Instruction for the express purpose of reimbursing districts for the AP exam fees of students qualifying for free or reduced lunches. With the current language in the statute, the federal government will not release grant funds for this purpose because thy see it as “supplanting” other resources.
Action is needed immediately since students are NOW registering for those exams and district are required to cover these fees NOW.
Let your legislators know that their immediate action to change the wording of the statute would result in the release of federal grant money to the State of Wisconsin. If no action is taken, the grant money will be lost. The decision is currently on hold, pending legislative action.
Go to “Who are my Legislators?” to find out who represents you. You will see their email and snail mail addresses. You are advised to send both and always remember to include your home street address so that the legislator realizes that you do live and vote in their district.
Ruth Robinson
Coordinator of Talented & Gifted Education & District Assessment
527 South Franklin Street
Janesville, WI 53548
608-743-5130 fax

One thought on “Help Increase Support for Wisconsin Students of Poverty to Take AP Exams”

  1. Thanks. I appreciate being able to do something concrete to help with funding for students who live in poverty. In addition to help with the fees, students could benefit from increased AP courses offered at their home school. Although we’re told that all students can take the AP exams whether or not they have taken a course, students are much more likely to take the test after having had the course. Students who live in poverty would be less able to study the content independently or be able to pay for a tutor for help in this effort. This group of students would need: help with test fees, mentoring regarding the process and access to a range of AP courses to be offered at each high school. Success on an AP exam or in an AP course could be a crucial link to post secondary education for students in poverty. Thanks.

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