By October 15 of each year, the state Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is statutorily required to compute General Equalization Aids for the current school year for each public school district in the state using the most accurate (i.e., audited) data available from each district’s prior fiscal year Annual Report, September and January Membership Reports and equalized property valuations as certified by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) for the prior calendar year. The resulting aid amounts–modified by the prior year (in this case, 2016-17) final aid eligibility adjustments–are paid to districts during the current fiscal year (2017-18).
Because October 15 falls on a Sunday this year, the DPI has released this information to school districts on the last weekday before the 15th. As a result, the October 15 General School Aid Certifications for all school districts for the 2017-18 school year are now available online at: http://dpi.wi.gov/sfs/aid/general/summary.
Overall, roughly 55 percent of the state’s public school districts (230 of 422) will receive less in general state aid this year than they did last year, while just under 45 percent (188 of 422) will receive more general aid this year, and 4 districts will see no change. These numbers reflect a simple reallocation of aid among districts under the formula as the 2017-19 state budget provided no increase in the appropriation for state general equalization aid in the 2017-18 school year. Because the same amount is being distributed this year as last year, the changes for any given district reflect the operation of different factors in the aid formula –e.g., changes in property valuation, shared cost or enrollment (membership)–relative to other districts in the state.
Fifty-five (55) districts, generally among those with the highest amounts of property wealth per pupil in the state and above average per pupil spending, now qualify for the aid formula’s hold harmless provision, which generally limits the amount by which their aid in the current school year can be reduced to a maximum of 15 percent of aid they received in the previous school year.
The information released today reflects aid deductions for districts that have resident students who have enrolled in (and remain in) private schools that participate in the statewide and Racine voucher programs since the beginning of the 2014-15 school year. In addition, the figures reflect that the aid to nearly all school districts is reduced by 1.4 percent in order to pay for the 7,850 pupils enrolled in independent charter schools. Districts can increase their property tax levy to recover the aid deducted for the independent charter school program and, where applicable, receive a revenue limit adjustment for the aid deducted for pupils in the statewide or Racine voucher program.
You can access summary information on the aid certification amounts for each school district and the change from the 2016-17 October 15 General Aid Certification on this DPI webpage. These two documents available at the top of that page contain the same information, but are sorted differently – one is sorted alphabetically by district name and the other is sorted by the percentage change in the amount of aid that will be received in 2017-18 compared to the 2016-17 amount.
You can also access detailed 2017-18 information for each school district directly at: http://dpi.wi.gov/sfs/aid/general/equalization/worksheets-general-aid