144 Wisconsin School Districts Share In Sparsity Aid

A record 144 small, rural Wisconsin school districts have received a total of $18.5 million in sparsity aid payments for the 2017-18 school year.  These 144 school districts (comprising  roughly 34 percent of Wisconsin’s 422 school districts) qualified for sparsity aid based on having a membership of 745 or fewer students and a density of less than 10 pupils per square mile of the district’s geographic area.

Sparsity aid is computed on prior-year audited membership.  A district’s “membership”  includes all students receiving services from a public school district and, thus, is slightly different from its “enrollment.”

While state statutes provide for sparsity aid payments of $300 per member to eligible districts, this year’s payments were prorated at to provide an actual payment of $296.52 per member due to eligibility exceeding the amount appropriated for sparsity aid payments.  Five school districts received aid this year that didn’t qualify last school year: Dover #1, Erin, Glenwood City, Iowa Grant, and North Cape.

Combined, school districts eligible for sparsity aid payments this year had a combined pupil membership of 62,377, roughly 7 percent of Wisconsin’s total public school membership for the 2016‑17 school year.

Unlike most categorical aids, which are targeted to reimburse a specific program or service, sparsity aid may be used for general school operations.

As we have reported, Gov. Scott Walker included a proposal to increase sparsity aid funding in his 2017-19 state budget bill.  That plan would have increased payments  to those districts currently eligible under the existing program by $100 per pupil and would have created a new $100 per pupil payment to districts with enrollment (membership) between 746 and 1,000 pupils.  The Legislature did not approve that plan, although a similar proposal has recently been put forward. (See previous post.)  The future of that proposal is, at best, uncertain at this point.  (See prior post.)

Districts Receiving Sparsity Aid Payments in 2017-18 with Amounts:

District Membership

Aid Payment

District Membership

Aid Payment

Albany 424 $125,726 Lena 420 $124,540
Alma 220 $65,235 Linn J4 107 $31,728
Alma Center 569 $168,721 Linn J6 84 $24,908
Almond-Bancroft 462 $136,993 Loyal 527 $156,267
Argyle 311 $92,219 Luck 514 $152,413
Athens 440 $130,470 Marathon City 664 $196,891
Augusta 618 $183,251 Marion 507 $150,337
Bangor 608 $180,286 Mellen 295 $87,474
Barneveld 442 $131,063 Mercer 147 $43,589
Bayfield 403 $119,499 Mineral Point 686 $203,415
Beecher-Dunbar-Pembine 265 $78,579 Minocqua J1 545 $161,605
Belmont Community 365 $108,231 Montello 722 $214,089
Benton 241 $71,462 Monticello 391 $115,940
Big Foot UHS 495 $146,779 Necedah Area 712 $211,124
Birchwood 227 $67,311 New Auburn 298 $88,364
Black Hawk 390 $115,644 New Lisbon 595 $176,431
Blair-Taylor 618 $183,251 Niagara 368 $109,120
Bowler 418 $123,946 North Cape * 184 $54,560
Boyceville Community 742 $220,020 North Crawford 466 $138,180
Brighton #1 96 $28,466 North Lakeland 148 $43,885
Bruce 500 $148,261 Northwood 368 $109,120
Butternut 196 $58,118 Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton 680 $201,635
Cambria-Friesland 386 $114,458 Norway J7 94 $27,873
Cashton 602 $178,507 Oakfield 506 $150,040
Cassville 213 $63,159 Owen-Withee 495 $146,779
Chequamegon 702 $208,159 Paris J1 154 $45,664
Clayton 338 $100,225 Pecatonica Area 468 $138,773
Clear Lake 650 $192,740 Pepin Area 251 $74,427
Cochrane-Fountain City 664 $196,891 Phelps 153 $45,368
Coleman 693 $205,490 Pittsville 586 $173,762
Cornell 432 $128,098 Plum City 279 $82,730
Crivitz 738 $218,834 Port Edwards 401 $118,906
Cuba City 657 $194,815 Potosi 330 $97,852
De Soto Area 560 $166,053 Prairie Farm 332 $98,446
Dover #1 * 110 $32,617 Prentice 423 $125,429
Drummond 417 $123,650 Princeton 399 $118,313
Edgar 621 $184,141 Randolph 512 $151,820
Elcho 343 $101,707 Reedsville 628 $186,216
Eleva-Strum 638 $189,181 Rib Lake 493 $146,186
Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah 467 $138,476 Rio Community 455 $134,918
Elmwood 332 $98,446 River Ridge 525 $155,674
Erin * 221 $65,532 Riverdale 697 $206,676
Flambeau 619 $183,548 Rosholt 568 $168,425
Florence 447 $132,546 Royall 610 $180,879
Frederic 548 $162,494 Seneca 298 $88,364
Gibraltar Area 549 $162,791 Sevastopol 566 $167,832
Gillett 591 $175,245 Shell Lake 610 $180,879
Gilman 405 $120,092 Shiocton 730 $216,462
Gilmanton 164 $48,630 Shullsburg 385 $114,161
Glenwood City * 743 $220,315 Siren 482 $142,924
Goodman-Armstrong 109 $32,321 Solon Springs 294 $87,178
Granton Area 244 $72,352 South Shore 193 $57,229
Green Lake 253 $75,020 Southwestern Wisconsin 550 $163,087
Greenwood 443 $131,360 Stockbridge 239 $70,869
Gresham 312 $92,515 Suring 409 $121,278
Herman-Neosho-Rubicon 355 $105,266 Thorp 588 $174,355
Highland 300 $88,957 Three Lakes 490 $145,296
Hilbert 441 $130,767 Tigerton 237 $70,276
Hillsboro 535 $158,640 Tri-County Area 637 $188,885
Hurley 570 $169,018 Turtle Lake 480 $142,331
Hustisford 444 $131,656 Wabeno Area 403 $119,499
Independence 401 $118,906 Washburn 524 $155,378
Iola-Scandinavia 702 $208,159 Washington 77 $22,832
Iowa-Grant * 743 $220,315 Wausaukee 469 $139,069
Ithaca 321 $95,184 Wauzeka-Steuben 304 $90,143
Juda 250 $74,131 Webster 680 $201,635
Kickapoo Area 467 $138,476 Weston 316 $93,701
La Farge 246 $72,945 White Lake 168 $49,816
Lac du Flambeau #1 539 $159,826 Wild Rose 551 $163,384
Lake Holcombe 310 $91,922 Winter 298 $88,364
Lakeland UHS 695 $206,083 Wonewoc-Union Center 361 $107,045
Laona 221 $65,532 Woodruff J1 450 $133,435

* Districts with an asterisk did not receive sparsity aid in the 2016-17 school year