Category Archives: State Budget

Commission Begins Tackling Wisconsin School Funding

The Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding met for the first time yesterday (Dec. 14), holding an informational public hearing that featured presentations from the staff of the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) as well as the Department of Public Instruction (DPI).  Those presentations led to a lively question and answer session between presenters and Commission members.  

The entire hearing was broadcast live on Wisconsin Eye, our state’s version of C-SPAN.  A video recording of the entire hearing should be uploaded to the Wisconsin Eye website and available for viewing on Monday.

Continue reading Commission Begins Tackling Wisconsin School Funding

Statewide School Tax Levies Up Less Than Inflation

With property tax bills set to be mailed this week, school property taxes are likely to come under scrutiny once again.

Although per pupil revenue limits on school districts meant to hold down property taxes were unchanged by the Legislature, 2017-18 school levies totaled $4.945 billion, a slight  increase of $87.1 million (1.8%) over the previous year, according to Dept. of Public Instruction (DPI) figures, and below the rate of inflation.

That increase in gross school levies will be more or less offset by an $87 million increase in the school levy credit, through which the state directly reduces the net tax due on taxpayers’ bills. Continue reading Statewide School Tax Levies Up Less Than Inflation

Legislature Recesses Until January; Hopes Dim for Action on Sparsity Aid, Relief for Low-Revenue Districts

The Wisconsin Legislature wrapped up its fall floor period last week.  Lawmakers won’t return to the floor again until January.  The fate of any number of bills may depend on how many proposals the houses want to tackle.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) told WisPolitics.com late last week that he expects the Assembly to meet for two weeks in January and two weeks in February as well.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said he expects the Senate to be in one day each in January, February and March. Continue reading Legislature Recesses Until January; Hopes Dim for Action on Sparsity Aid, Relief for Low-Revenue Districts

Figures on State Support for K-12 Education, Public School Districts Released

The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) recently released its annual memo estimating state support for K-12 education in the previous school year. The memo provides information on the estimated level of state support provided for K-12 education statewide and to individual school districts in the 2016-17 school year.

Continue reading Figures on State Support for K-12 Education, Public School Districts Released

Voters to Decide Ten School Referenda on Tuesday

Ten school referenda will be on the ballot Tuesday in various school districts across the state.  It will mark the last time school boards will be able to place ballot questions before voters on a date that doesn’t coincide with a regularly scheduled election under new restrictions enacted as part of the 2017-19 state budget.

Effective January 1, 2018, school district referenda to exceed revenue limits and to issue bonds will be limited to being held only on regularly-scheduled election days (i.e., the February spring primary or April spring general election, or the August (fall) partisan primary or November general election). Districts will be further restricted to calling referenda on just two dates per calendar year.

Continue reading Voters to Decide Ten School Referenda on Tuesday

DPI: Hold Off on Requiring Students to Retake Civics Test Due to Passing Score Change

From the Department of Public Instruction (DPI):

As part of 2017 Wisconsin Act 59, the minimum passing score on the civics test for high school graduation set forth by Wis. Stat. s. 118.33(1m)(a)1. was increased from 60 to 65 out of 100. The way the law currently reads, current students who have not obtained a score of at least 65 are ineligible to receive a high school diploma. This means that students who previously scored between 60 and 64 but have not yet received a diploma will be required to retake the civics test to obtain this new statutory minimum. The DPI does not believe the legislature intended to nullify scores previously considered passing prior to Act 59. Therefore, the DPI will work with the legislature to amend the current language under Wis. Stat. s. 118.33(1m)(a)1. to apply the higher-score requirement under Act 59 to only those students who had not already obtained a passing score prior to September 23, 2017, the effective date of Act 59.

Please consider waiting for further details on this potential legislative amendment before requiring students to retake the Civics Graduation Requirement exam.

Statewide Tab for Private School Vouchers Reaches $270 Million

The costs of Wisconsin’s three voucher programs (Milwaukee, Racine and Statewide) will reach just under $270 million in the current 2017-18 school year, according to figures released today by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), which oversee the state’s voucher programs.

The costs of voucher programs will jump by $25 million this year over the previous (2016-17) school year.

In addition, public school districts across the state will have their state aid reduced by nearly $43 million to pay the costs of voucher students who reside in their districts and who first enrolled in and participated in the Statewide or Racine voucher programs in 2015-16 or later. These students are referred to in state law as “incoming” voucher pupils. Continue reading Statewide Tab for Private School Vouchers Reaches $270 Million