November 7 saw 10 school referendum questions on the ballot with 7 out of 10 being approved by voters. The passage rate of 70% was somewhat higher than April although there were far fewer questions on the ballot. April 2017 saw 40 out of 65 questions approved for an overall passage rate of 62%. November 2016 had an 82% approval rate and April 2016 saw 77% pass.
This continues a trend of historically high voter support for public school referenda. During the period from 1996-2010, for example, only 44% of referenda to exceed the revenue limits were approved by voters, according to the figures compiled by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. Continue reading Nov. 7 School Referenda Results: 70% Pass
The state’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee voted along party lines 12-4 on a GOP motion to expand the Special Needs Scholarship Program (SNSP) as part of the state budget bill. This program provides vouchers to enable students with disabilities to attend participating private schools with no income eligibility limits. Governor Walker did not propose expanding the program in his budget proposal. The following proposals adopted today (Sept. 6), and described below, are estimated to expand special needs voucher program participation by 250 pupils in 2018-19 and result in an over $3 million aid reduction to public school districts in 2018-19: Continue reading JFC Approves Special Needs Voucher Expansion
The Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC) today approved the K-12 education provisions of the 2017-19 state budget on a 12-4 party-line vote. The $639 million GOP K-12 package includes the following key provisions:
Per Pupil Categorical Aid Funding Increase—Provide all districts with an increase of $200 per pupil in 2017-18 and $204 per pupil in 2018-19. Payments would total $450 per pupil in 2017-18 and $654 per pupil in 2018-19.
Continue reading JFC-Approved K-12 Package Increases Per Pupil Aid; Boosts Low Spending Districts
With the 2017-19 state budget now more than a month and a half overdue, increasing attention is being paid to the impact the delayed passage of the budget will have on schools, as evidenced by this Wisconsin State Journal article.
In a recent memo to members of the Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC), the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has outlined the impact of the delay on various state school finance calculations for the 2017-18 school year, for public school districts, as well as private choice schools and independent charter schools.
Continue reading How Delayed State Budget May Impact School Districts
A recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article widely reported in Gannett newspapers across the state provided details on how a budget plan proposed by Senate Republicans would increase funding for the state’s three main private school voucher programs by nearly $60 million over the next two years, according to an analysis by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB).
In that article, a quote attributed to voucher advocate Jim Bender mischaracterized the fiscal impact of the statewide and Racine voucher programs on school districts that have resident pupils participating in those programs. Continue reading What is the REAL Fiscal Impact of Voucher Funding on Public School Districts?
Here we compare the Senate Republican plan released on July 12 and the Assembly Republican plan released on June 6 on some of the major K-12 provisions in the state budget bill and the WASB position on those provisions:
Per-Pupil Categorical Aid
Senate/Governor: Increase per-pupil aid $200 in 2017-18 and $204 in 2018-19.
Assembly: Increase per-pupil aid $150 in 2017-18 and $200 in 2018-19.
WASB: has supported the $200/$204 per pupil increase since it was first proposed by the Governor. Continue reading Comparing Senate, Assembly GOP K-12 Budget Plans
At a Capitol press conference, Senate Republicans today released key details behind their budget proposal and a set of memos from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau summarizing the plan.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said that the Senate GOP proposal includes all actions taken by the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) through June 15, plus what his caucus worked on as well as the agreements the Senate has reached with the Assembly on K-12 funding. Fitzgerald sent a letter to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos asking for the Assembly GOP’s response to the Senate proposal in the hope that the JFC can meet and complete all outstanding issues in one session.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Latest state budget plan increases money for schools, but local taxpayers share costs
Among the key K-12 provisions affecting public schools are the following: Continue reading State Senate Republicans Unveil Budget Plan