K-12 State Budget Update

Jason Stein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the Legislature will miss the budget deadline of June 30. The state’s new fiscal year begins July 1, but in Wisconsin, unlike at the federal level, if the budget is not signed before that date, expenditures continue at current levels.

Stein also reported: “Senate and Assembly leaders have reached a general agreement on increasing funding for rural school districts with small budgets. But there’s still no deal yet on other key disagreements such as transportation and taxes.”

Wisconsin State Journal reporter Molly Beck writes that lawmakers have reached a tentative deal that includes the per pupil aid funding proposed by the governor.  That would mean an increase of $200 per pupil in the first year and an additional $204 per pupil in 2018-19.  GOP leaders from the two houses are also negotiating an increase in the low revenue ceiling that allows districts with the lowest per pupil revenues under revenue limits to raise property taxes modestly without having to obtain referendum approval.

According to Beck, “Under the plan being discussed, school districts that are currently allowed to raise revenue up to $9,100 per student–more than a thousand dollars less than the state average–may increase that amount in the upcoming school year to $9,300 per student and to $9,400 in the 2018-19 school year, according to sources with knowledge of the plan but not authorized to speak publicly.

“The districts’ limits increase by $100 each school year after that. The new revenue and spending authority for districts with low limits because of revenue caps the state imposed more than two decades ago would be paid through property tax increases in those districts, but lawmakers also would put more money in the budget aimed at reducing the tax impact on district residents.”

WASB is anticipating a deal on K-12 could be announced soon but it is uncertain when a Joint Finance Committee vote on the agreement might come.  The two houses remain far apart on transportation funding and Capitol sources suggest they may decide not to vote on the education package until a deal is reached on transportation.  Stay tuned here for further updates.

Milwaukee Journal SentinelWisconsin lawmakers will miss budget deadline as talks slow
Wisconsin State JournalLawmakers considering budget plan to increase funding for schools, low-spending districts