Are schools and roads on a collision course when it comes to funding?

Lost, perhaps, amidst all the focus on candidates in statewide races in the latest Marquette University Law School Poll released last week were results that suggest voters are more open to investing more for schools than they are for roads.  Taxes and spending for schools and roads have been key issues in the race for governor.

On the broad question of state taxes and state services, 51 percent of registered voters surveyed said they would rather pay higher taxes and have state government provide more services, while 42 percent said they prefer lower taxes and fewer services from the state.
Continue reading Are schools and roads on a collision course when it comes to funding?

Dyslexia study committee set to make recommendations on Oct. 23

The Legislative Council Study Committee on the Identification and Management of Dyslexia is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, October 23 to consider making several recommendations, including proposed legislation.  The meeting will be held at 10:00 a.m., in Room 411 South, State Capitol, Madison.

One proposed bill would require the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), in consultation with an advisory committee created under the bill, to develop a guidebook related to reading difficulties and dyslexia for pupils, parents, teachers, and administrators.

Continue reading Dyslexia study committee set to make recommendations on Oct. 23

DPI: Over half of districts to receive more general aid than last year

As required by state statute, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has certified the general state aid amount each public school district will receive for the 2018-19 school year.  These amounts are funded from the state’s $4.656 billion general state aid appropriation, which is $72.75 million (1.6 percent) larger than last year’s allocation.

Because of the overall increase in the general aid distribution this year, roughly 55 percent of the state’s public school districts (230 of 422) will receive more general state aid this school year than they did in 2017‑18. Continue reading DPI: Over half of districts to receive more general aid than last year

Both candidates for Governor pledge to return to state funding 2/3 of K-12 costs

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,  Gov. Scott Walker has pledged to restore the state’s commitment to cover two-thirds of school costs  without raising property taxes. State Supt. Tony Evers, the Democratic challenger, promised the same when he released his education plan.

Two-thirds funding was a commitment established in state law in 1993 to reduce the burden on property taxes.  This commitment was repealed in the 2003-05 state budget.  In December 2017, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) estimated that state support in the 2017-18 school year would be 64.8%.  With no per pupil adjustment to revenue limits and an infusion of per pupil categorical aid ($190 million) from the state and a modest increase in state general aid ($73 million), the percentage was projected by the LFB to increase to 65.8% in 2018-19.

It should be noted that returning to the state providing two-thirds funding alone does not necessarily mean additional resources for school districts.  The way two-thirds funding is calculated, all of the increase from the state could go into levy credits, which would reduce property tax bills but would not increase school budgets one dime.  Or if general aids are increased but revenue limits are not adjusted, it could simply mean a higher percentage of that capped amount would come from the state and the percentage from property taxes would decrease correspondingly.

New LFB memo finds last year’s property tax bill on median-valued state home $27 higher than originally estimated

A new memorandum prepared by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) at the request of state Senator Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) finds that the property tax bill estimate for taxes levied in 2017 and payable in 2018 for the statewide median-valued home is $27 higher than earlier estimated.

The new LFB memo updates an estimate of the property tax bill on the statewide median-valued home for the same tax year that was prepared when the state budget (2017 Wisconsin Act 59) was signed into law in September 2017.  The new memo is based on final property tax levies and property tax credit distributions. Both memos used actual equalized property valuations.

The new memo shows the net tax bill on the median-valued home rose from $2,852 in 2016 to $2,876 in 2017, an increase of $24. The earlier memo had estimated a decrease of $3.

Continue reading New LFB memo finds last year’s property tax bill on median-valued state home $27 higher than originally estimated

Board member recognition award winners’ photos available

School board members who received board member recognition awards at recent WASB Fall Regional meetings will be able to find their photographs posted on the WASB’s Facebook page.

Photos from this week’s meetings in WASB Regions 1 (Trego) & 2 (Minocqua) are currently posted.

Photos taken at last week’s meetings in WASB Regions 4 (Eau Claire), 5 (Rothschild)  & 6 (Whitehall) will be posted soon.

Continue reading Board member recognition award winners’ photos available

2018 could be record year for school referenda

The Nov. 6 ballot will include 82 referenda questions in 61 school districts.

Over half (44) of these ballot requests will ask voters to approve the issuance of debt.  If all are approved, those requests would provide $1.25 billion for improvements to school facilities. The requests come on top of the $515.8 million in debt issuance approved by voters via local school district referenda earlier this year.

The remaining 38 referenda on the November ballot are for operating purposes.  Of these, 24 seek approval of non-recurring revenue limit exemptions adding up to $157 million; while 14 ask for recurring exemptions to the revenue limit totaling $26.1 million.

Continue reading 2018 could be record year for school referenda