Gov. Scott Walker today announced he’s reached a compromise with key lawmakers to provide additional financial relief to both low-revenue districts and small, rural districts next year. Attempts to reach such a compromise during the 2017-19 state budget debate did not bear fruit, but today’s announcement signals new life for this effort.
The legislation is authored by Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette, pictured at right) and would increase the low-revenue ceiling from $9,100 to $9,400 per pupil beginning in the next (2018-19) school year. The low-revenue ceiling would then increase by $100 per pupil each year until it reaches $9,800 per pupil in 2022-23.
The low-revenue ceiling is a feature in state law that helps the lowest-spending school districts by allowing them to collect more in property taxes without having to go to referendum. Assembly Republicans successfully pushed to add provisions to increase the low-revenue ceiling to the state budget bill. However, Gov. Walker vetoed the measure due to concerns over the impact it could have on property tax bills. Continue reading Governor Walker Announces Support For Increasing Low Revenue Ceiling and Sparsity Aid
A record 144 small, rural Wisconsin school districts have received a total of $18.5 million in sparsity aid payments for the 2017-18 school year. These 144 school districts (comprising roughly 34 percent of Wisconsin’s 422 school districts) qualified for sparsity aid based on having a membership of 745 or fewer students and a density of less than 10 pupils per square mile of the district’s geographic area. Continue reading 144 Wisconsin School Districts Share In Sparsity Aid
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
Governor Scott Walker is visiting schools in Wausaukee, Cadott, and Belmont today to announce his support for new legislation to increase Sparsity Aid for rural schools, an idea he championed earlier this year.
Currently, the Sparsity Aid Program aims to offset the challenges faced by the smallest, most rural school districts in the state through providing $300 in per-pupil funding for districts with enrollments of 745 or less and a density of less than 10 pupils per square mile.
Continue reading New Plan to Boost Sparsity Aid Gets Gov. Walker’s Backing
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
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