This is the third of a series of blog posts that takes a look at special education requirements and funding, including both state and federal funding. This post focuses on state funding.
At one time, Wisconsin statutes directed that special education categorical aid reimburse 70 percent of a school district’s eligible aidable costs. Today, special education categorical aid reimburses scarcely more than 25 percent of eligible aidable prior year costs. This blog post traces this decline.
Continue reading A closer look at Special Education funding in Wisconsin—Part three of a series
The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) will release its annual July 1 general aid estimates a bit early this year–on Friday, June 29–because July 1 falls on a Sunday.
This is the first estimate of general aid for the 2018-19 school year. It is based on unaudited figures from districts and, therefore, is subject to change. Nevertheless, school boards and administrators may find the estimate useful as they work on their annual budgets and attempt to project changes in their property tax levies.
The DPI will certify the actual state general aid amount for each district on Oct. 15. Continue reading July 1 General Aid estimates to be released
The Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding has released the details of its public hearing set for Monday, May 21 in Turtle Lake.
The hearing will begin at 1:00 PM and conclude by 5:00 PM.
The hearing will take place at:
Turtle Lake School District Auditorium
205 North Oak Street
Turtle Lake, WI 54889
According to the hearing notice:
Continue reading School funding commission to hold May 21 hearing in Turtle Lake
The Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding held its seventh public hearing yesterday in Tomahawk and a number of themes emerged.
One common theme is that many northern Wisconsin school districts are challenged by declining enrollment. This has two main effects: first, it reduces districts’ revenue limit authority because revenue limits are tied to enrollment; and second, as the number of pupils decreases, at any given level of property values, a district will appear more property wealthy on a per pupil basis, which results in that district losing state aid under the general aid formula. Continue reading Several themes heard at Blue Ribbon Commission hearing in Tomahawk
Gov. Scott Walker will highlight K-12 investments in his State of the State speech this afternoon (Jan. 24 at 3pm) to a joint session of the state legislature. These themes will likely be similar to what he shared with state education convention attendees last Friday. You can watch the speech live on Wisconsin Eye.
The governor previewed excerpts from his speech on Twitter including the following related to K-12 public schools:
Continue reading Gov. Walker will highlight K-12 investments in State of the State address
Fears that the state might not be able to comfortably afford the sizable increase in state school aids approved in the 2017-19 state budget may be eased by news that Wisconsin closed its fiscal year on June 30 with a larger than expected ending balance.
The state ended Fiscal Year 2017 with a $579 million surplus in its main account, the second largest closing balance since 2000. That figure was up $112 million from the previous projection of $467 million as revenues were up and spending was down from earlier forecasts.
Continue reading State Finishes Fiscal Year With Better Than Expected Ending Balance
The state budget signed into law today (Sept. 21) significantly invests in our public school students and districts, one of the best investments we can make as a state. The substantial increases in per-pupil aid and other categorical aids are welcome and vitally important to our public school districts that serve the vast majority of students in Wisconsin and are tasked with preparing all of them for college and/or careers.
I also applaud the mental health-related supports for students and school districts included in the state budget. These needs have been overlooked for too long.
I am disappointed that neither revenue limit relief for low-spending districts nor an increase/expansion of sparsity aid were included in the final budget. Both are targeted to school districts that have special challenges and this was a lost opportunity. I am also disappointed with the further expansions of private school vouchers and special needs vouchers which continue to take us down the path of funding dual education systems when we have not been able to maintain even inflationary increases for our constitutionally mandated public school system. In addition, several policy items were included in the budget (e.g. teacher and administrator licensure changes, scheduling of referendum restrictions and restrictions for energy savings projects) that will impact the efficient operations of school districts.
Ultimately, I understand that a budget comes down to making hard choices with available resources and there will be provisions that school board members statewide both support and oppose. On behalf of all 422 locally elected school boards in Wisconsin, I want to thank the governor and members of the Legislature for their public service and for the positive items included for public schools. I also look forward to continuing to work with both the governor and lawmakers for the remainder of this legislative session.
Read: WASB Summary of Key 2017-19 State Budget Provisions for Public Schools