2017 - 2018
Legislative Update for
Wisconsin Technical Colleges
July 3, 2019
Governor signs budget with $25 million increase for WTCS
On July 3, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers issued 78 partial vetoes and signed into law 2019 Act 9, the 2019-21 state budget. With that the budget is now final, including a $12.5 million increase in each year for general aid to Wisconsin’s technical colleges.
Throughout the budget process, policymakers in the administration and the legislature expressed support for the work of the technical colleges, respect for the colleges’ outcomes for graduates and employers, and the importance of WTCS education programs to the state’s workforce, economy, and quality of life. Each college should be proud of their work to put student success first, and the impact they have each day in their communities. The Governor, by providing an investment in the executive budget, and lawmakers, by increasing that investment, have explicitly recognized the importance and quality of technical college education in Wisconsin.
Act 9 contains the following provisions of interest to technical colleges:
- The Governor’s budget bill proposed increases of $6 million in 2019-20 and $12 million in 2020-21 for technical college general aid, and the Legislature increased these amounts to $12.5 million in each year, an increase of 14.1% over the base year.
- The Governor’s budget bill proposed increases of $1.1 million in 2019-20 and $2.4 million in 2020-21 for technical college need-based student financial aid, equal to a 5% annual increase. The bill likewise proposed 5% annual increases in need-based grants to UW students and to private college students. The Legislature deleted these increases, and base-level funding will continue for all three sectors.
- The Governor’s budget bill proposed increased flexibility under the revenue limit on WTCS property taxes. The proposed limit for technical colleges would be equal to the change in the district’s value attributable to net new construction, or 2%, whichever is greater. The Legislature removed this change for all local units of government, one of 131 budget changes approved during the first day of voting. The current law revenue limits continue to apply.
- The Governor’s bill proposed eliminating the Start College Now program (WTCS) and the Early College Credit program (UW and private colleges), replacing both with new “Dual Enrollment Programs.” The Legislature deleted these provisions, meaning that current law will continue to apply to all WTCS dual enrollment programs.
- As passed by the Legislature, the budget included a $75,000 annual set aside within the Department of Workforce Development for workforce training programs conducted in county jail facilities by Northcentral Technical College. Governor Evers partially vetoed the provision, stating that “the partial veto will give the department greater flexibility in allocating dollars for workforce training in county jail facilities across the entire state.”
The District Boards Association again thanks both Governor Evers and the Legislature for investing with confidence in Wisconsin’s technical colleges. We look forward to continuing to partner with policymakers to advance higher education and workforce training across the state.
Separate from the budget legislation, additional stand-alone bills of interest to technical colleges are pending, including:
- AB-13/SB-17 – Workforce training grants micro-credentials in high-demand fields
- AB-23/SB-16 – Career and technical education incentive grants
- AB-36/SB-44 – Tools of the Trade apprentice scholarships
- AB-57/SB-88 – Youth apprenticeship
- AB-76/SB-103 – Hours of instruction for CNAs. This bill was passed by the Assembly (66-31 vote) on May 15th, and is pending in the Senate.
- AB-189/SB-165 – Transferability of courses between WTCS, the UW System, private and tribally controlled colleges
The DBA continues to work actively on behalf of improving credit transfer, with the overall goal of reducing credit loss and providing increased flexibility for students. For more information on these efforts, please contact Layla Merrifield.