With 87 trustees and 12 of 16 College Presidents attending, Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes welcomed us, noting his mother was a teacher in Milwaukee and his dad worked at Delphi –an automotive parts supplier of catalytic converters. Previous to his being elected, he was a policy advisor to state legislators. The focus of this administration will be on equity – educational and economical sustainability for the next 25-100 years with a 16% increase in wind and 25% increase in solar energy across the country.
Monique Currie, policy advisor for our WTCS, gave us ice-breaking tips on advocating to the legislators including name, affiliation with the College, occupational background, and why Technical Colleges are important. Mike Staral of Moriane Park did excellent job running with the challenge and giving a demo!
Layla led a non-partisan Capitol Dynamics Panel Discussion with Gwyn Guenther / Wheeler report - originated in 1972 to track all bills in Madison and report the votes backing them; JR Ross / Wispolitics.com who reports on Capitol activity, elections, and sits in on all the Budget meetings; and Patrick Marley / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel state Capitol reporter and co-author (with former Journal Sentinel reporter Jason Stein) of "More Than They Bargained For: Scott Walker, Unions and the Fight for Wisconsin.” Their take is that Education, Child and Health Care, and transportation will have priority – roads may be split out and voted on separately. Incarceration and recidivism are in the spotlight of both sides and technical colleges have an advantage.
Dr Morna Foy talked about her membership on the new administration’s Next Generation Workforce Advisory Council. The issues they addressed were how to improve worker training, support entrepreneurship, and increasing women’s involvement. Technical Colleges were the constant solution / common denominator in all discussions.
Senator Jerry Petrowski representing the 29th district [ Marathon county / Wausau & Northcentral Technical College area] emphasized cultivating strong relationships with legislators and advocates more collaboration between UW and Technical Colleges. He also looks for more dual enrollment and credit transfers. Sen. Petrowski spent 12 years in the Assembly before becoming a Senator in 2012, and is a past recipient of our Legislator of the Year Award.
Representative Joan Ballweg is a member of the Committee on Colleges and Universities and participated on the children’s caucus (legis.wisconsin.gov/topics/children caucus). She is a strong supporter of technical colleges and advocates for open education resources to lower costs – referring to completecollege.org.
In the afternoon, my BTC colleagues and I made Legislative visits with Representatives Mark Spreitzer, Todd Novak, Amy Loudenbeck, and Deb Kolste, and Senators Janis Ringhand and Howard Marklein – all representing parts of the Blackhawk Technical College district. We discussed with each our requests for a $46 million investment in students, and a $36 million direct investment to colleges spread over the two-year state budget.
After the Capitol visits, the Insurance Trust committee met with Ron Bertieri [WCTC] being re-elected as Chairman. He distributed updated information on the Wisconsin Technical College Employee Benefit Consortium, and a vote was taken to hire an Executive Director for the WTCEBC. A one-time subsidy for the first-year cost of that Executive Director will be paid from unused balances held by the Insurance Trust. There are now eight member colleges for health insurance benefits, however all 16 take advantage of the Life Insurance benefit offered by the WTCEBC. In addition, the Executive Director will assist in the analysis work each year for the eight colleges not yet participating in the health insurance pool, to help them determine when it makes financial sense to join the consortium.
At the evening banquet, the Board Member of the Year recipient was Betty Bruski-Mallek from Mid-State Technical College. Betty has been on the district board since 1990 and has served as Secretary, Treasurer, and Chairperson, and has 100% attendance at all quarterly district boards meetings. Betty also currently serves as Secretary-Treasurer of the District Boards Association, and is active with the national Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT). She and her husband, Peter, farm in Wood County and are active in the Wisconsin Towns Association.
We also enjoyed a talk from Andrea Long, this year’s Student Ambassador for Madison College.
Friday morning Layla spoke – reminding us of the upcoming February 19th Student Showcase in the Capitol Rotunda and the April 25th Student Ambassador banquet at the Wisconsin Dells. She also reported on planned events for the Wisconsin delegation to the ACCT National Legislative Summit, including events with Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin. (Updated figures: Nearly 60 attendees from 12 colleges plan to attend, February 10-13th in Washington DC.)
Trustee Lois Vasquez has submitted her name for nomination to the ACCT National Diversity committee. She has the support of her Lakeshore Technical College board and will ask for our vote at the 2019 ACCT Leadership Congress, October 16th-19th in San Francisco.
J. Noah Brown, President/CEO of ACCT has been invited to attend our Legal Issues seminar next October at Waukesha County Technical College.
Layla updated us on Statewide Marketing Consortium director Katy Pettersen’s focus on digital marketing and our relationship with high school counselors. Katy is tentatively scheduled to present a detailed update to the District Boards Association at the Spring 2019 Quarterly meeting. Jim Beistle (WITC) noted teacher qualifications and shortages is more of a K-12 issue that will be addressed at the upcoming Wisconsin Association of School Boards conference.
Moraine Park College President Bonnie Baerwald gave a really informative report on the activities of the Presidents Association. This included results of their Technical College advocacy letters to Legislators, an update on their Special Populations Taskforce and a statewide report on recruitment and retention of administrators and instructors from diverse backgrounds, the goal of establishing benchmarks for best practices statewide, and the incarcerated individuals taskforce working with the Department of Corrections to study recidivism results. She noted there are 10,000 qualified inmates on a wait list to participate in education and training. She also touched on the need for tuition incentives for high school teachers to earn graduate credentials qualifying them to teach dual credit courses. The NEW North consortium has developed a legislative proposal, and is seeking K-12 advocacy on its behalf.