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May 2, 2011

Wisconsin Public Hearing on Special Needs Scholarship

Brian Pleva Government Affairs Associate: American Federation for Children-Wisconsin, via a kind reader's email:

Does contain the info you need?Good afternoon!

I am writing to you because you recently expressed an interest in the bipartisan Wisconsin Special Needs Scholarship Act (Assembly Bill 110).

As you may know, the bill would allow parents to enroll their special needs children in the public or private school of their choice with the education dollars following the child to the new school. The bill, introduced by Representatives Michelle Litjens, Jason Fields & Evan Wynn, and Senators Leah Vukmir & Terry Moulton, has impressive momentum:

-AB 110 has attracted Republican, Democrat, and Independent cosponsors
-32 members of the Assembly have signed on to AB 110, which is over one-third of that house's current membership
-5 members of the Assembly Committee on Education have signed-on to AB 110, which is almost half of the 11-member committee

Fortunately, Assembly Education Committee Chair Rep. Steve Kestell decided today to schedule a Public Hearing on the Special Needs Scholarship Act for 10:00 am, next Tuesday, May 3rd.

This opportunity can pave the way toward making Special Needs Scholarships in Wisconsin a reality. It is crucial that as many affected families and school leaders as possible attend this public hearing and tell committee members, in their own words, what these scholarships would mean to them.

Please respond to this email and confirm whether you would be able to advocate for this legislation at the public hearing.

One parent wrote on our Facebook page, "It's so important! Why doesn't EVERYBODY get that???!!" It may be difficult to comprehend, but there are powerful, special interest groups that don't get it and will be working to defeat this bipartisan legislation.

While an impressive list of parents who wish to testify is growing, we know that opponents of education reform are always represented at these hearings. Therefore, please forward this email to friends, family, and colleagues who you think will be supportive. The momentum is encouraging, but we must keep it up!

If you have any questions about the bill or public hearing, please feel free to contact me, and check out our website:

Thank you!

Brian Pleva
Government Affairs Associate
American Federation for Children-Wisconsin
(608) 279-9484



Committee on Education

The committee will hold a public hearing on the following items at the time specified below:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011
10:00 AM
417 North (GAR Hall)
State Capitol

Assembly Bill 110
Relating to: creating the Special Needs Scholarship Program for disabled pupils, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation.
By Representatives Litjens, Fields, Wynn, Knudson, Nass, Pridemore, Thiesfeldt, Vos, Kleefisch, LeMahieu, Nygren, Strachota, Bernier, Bies, Brooks, Endsley, Farrow, Honadel, Jacque, Knilans, Kooyenga, Kramer, Krug, Kuglitsch, T. Larson, Mursau, Petryk, Rivard, Severson, Spanbauer, Tiffany and Ziegelbauer; cosponsored by Senators Vukmir, Moulton, Galloway and Darling.

An Executive Session may be held on AB 71 at the conclusion of the public hearing.

Representative Steve Kestell

Wisconsin Special Needs Scholarship Assembly Bill 110 Summary (PDF).

Posted by Jim Zellmer at May 2, 2011 7:30 PM
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