More than half of Wisconsin public school districts will receive an increase in general aid in the 2016-17 school year, according to estimates released today by the Department of Public Instruction. Actual aid payments — made up of equalization aid (the school aid formula), integration aid a(Chapter 220), and special adjustment (hold harmless) aid — totals $4.584 billion for the 2016‑17 school year.
Of the state’s 424 school districts, 260 (61%) are estimated to receive more general aid in 2015-16, while 162 districts (38%) are expected to receive less aid. This is a result of a $108.1 million bump in state general aid from the 2015-17 biennial budget and other factors such as property valuation, enrollment, and shared costs in the general equalization aid formula impact whether the aid estimate for a district increases or decreases.
The amount of state aid a district receives does not affect how much the district can spend. This is controlled by the state-imposed revenue limit. At a given per pupil revenue limit, an increase in state aid means less property tax can be levied and vice versa.
The amount to be distributed to school districts is up nearly $120 million in part because of a decrease in enrollment in independent charter schools. (Per pupil payments to those schools are funded through a proportionate reduction in general aid paid to all public school districts in the state. With fewer pupils in those schools, the aid reduction is lower.)
These numbers do not reflect deductions for open enrollment or voucher students in the Racine or statewide programs because the number of students who will elect to participate is unknown. Last school year, the total voucher deduction statewide for these two programs was about $16 million.
For lists of school district aid estimates, click the July 1 Estimate of 2016-17 General Aid link.
Read More: DPI Release