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School districts won't be penalized for failing to comply with "spirit" of Act 10

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Wisconsin school districts that don't follow the "spirit" of Act 10 will not be financially penalized in the 2017-19 state budget, as Gov. Scott Walker had proposed.
    
Republican members of the legislature's Joint Finance Committee (JFC) decided to go against that recommendation, saying they lack the data to even to identify which districts aren't in compliance with the law.

Governor Walker's original budget proposal would have prevented any part of the $639 million in new funding for K-12 education from going to districts that don't require their employees to pay a 12 percent share of their health insurance costs.

Local school districts that don't require the 12 percent payment include Madison, Monona Grove and Beloit.

Officials with some of those districts said they had been charging their employees 12 percent of their insurance costs, but then bought cheaper policies and passed the savings onto faculty and staff.
    
The co-chairs of the budget committee expressed uncertainty about the Governor's proposal from day one, as Act 10 only requires districts that purchase employee health insurance plans through the Wisconsin Group Insurance Board to make employees pay twelve percent of the cost.

"The (Wisconsin) School Board's Association collected the data. And then, after Act 10, we stopped collecting the data. So we don't even know who complies and who doesn't," said Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette), one of the JFC co-chairs.

The budget will require districts to submit compliance data to the Department of Administration going forward.

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