Voters approved all five local school referendums on the Feb. 20 ballot by comfortably large margins.
The largest request was in the Hamilton School District, in suburban Waukesha County, where voters approved the issuance of $57.4 million in bonding to construct and equip both a new intermediate school and an addition to the High School as well as related remodeling and renovations. In addition, Hamilton district voters concurrently authorized the school board to exceed the district’s revenue limit by $1.5 million on a recurring basis to cover the costs of operating the new intermediate school. Continue reading School district referendum questions uniformly approved
During last week’s State Education Convention, state Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay), who co-chairs the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding, shared information about the Commission’s mission and schedule, including a memo outlining the scope of the Commission’s directive.
According to the Blue Ribbon Commission’s Scope Statement, the Commission is tasked with evaluating the following items:
Continue reading Focus of Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding Clarified
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
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