Governor Evers signs state budget; provides roughly $85 million boost in per pupil aid

Concluding a state budget process that began in late February with Gov. Evers’ first budget address and the release of his proposal, the governor today signed the state budget into law with several partial vetoes.

For K-12 education, the biggest news is that, through the veto process, the budget now invests about $85 million more in per pupil aid to school districts compared to the version passed by the legislature.  The governor’s veto increases per pupil aid payments to a total of $742 per pupil in 2019-20 and 2020-21.  (Districts received a total of $654 per pupil  in 2018-19.)  Compared to the $25 per pupil increases in this aid in each year that were approved by the Legislature, the increase under the governor’s veto is $63 per pupil higher in 2019-20 and $38 per pupil higher in 2020-21.  As a result, districts will be able to increase their spendable revenues by $263 per pupil in 2019-20 and by $242 per pupil in 2020-21.

Through a separate partial veto the governor also expands eligibility for supplemental per pupil aid to all school districts.  Because funding for this aid remains at the same level  passed by the Legislature and because the governor’s veto message requests the DPI to distribute this funding to all school districts, we believe this will result in supplemental per pupil aid payments of somewhere between $2 to $3 per pupil.

Also included in the final package were the following increased investments as approved by the Legislature:

  • Increasing special education categorical aid funding by almost $100 million over the biennium. It is the largest ever increase in special education funding and the first since 2008;
  • Investing $329.9 million in general aid to Wisconsin schools, the largest increase in over a decade (since 2005-7);
  • Providing $175 per pupil in FY20 and $179 per pupil in FY21 in additional revenue limit authority, the first adjustments in 5 years;
  • Increasing the low-revenue ceiling to $9700 per pupil in 2020 and $10,000 in FY21; and
  • Increasing funding for school mental health by $12.5 million.

We will continue to analyze the final budget bill and post more information as warranted.