The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has announced the 145 school districts that will be receiving state sparsity aid payments of $400 per member (student) in the 2018-19 school year. Sparsity aid payments are made on the third Monday in September to small, sparsely populated school districts that have fewer than 10 members (students) per square mile and fewer than 745 total members (students).
This year, two school districts—Chequamegon and Crivitz–will receive new “stopgap” payments equal to 50 percent of their prior year sparsity aid. Stopgap payments were created as part of the 2017-19 state budget act and provide assistance to help cushion the financial loss to districts that formerly received full sparsity aid payments but no longer meet both of the eligibility criteria. These two districts lost eligibility for regular sparsity aid payments because while they continue to have less than 10 members per square mile of district property, their total student membership exceeded 745.
The DPI news release also indicates that its 2019-21 budget request will include a proposal to provide what the release calls “second tier” sparsity aid payments to sparsely populated school districts that have fewer than 10 members per square mile of district property but have enrollments (membership) large than 745 students and hence do not qualify for the existing sparsity aid program.
According to the DPI news release:
“The Department of Public Instruction’s 2019-21 budget request seeks to revise the sparsity aid program to include any school district that has less than 10 members per square mile even if district membership is more than 745. Based on membership projections, approximately 85 school districts would be eligible for the second tier sparsity payment of $100 per member. The budget request would require an additional $9.79 million in each year of the biennium for a total allocation of $70 million for sparsity aid.”
View DPI news release (including the list of districts qualifying for sparsity aid).