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?
The Assembly Republican school funding plan includes provisions we support and it is a positive sign that Assembly GOP legislators recognize the need to increase state aid for school districts. We appreciate and strongly support removing the “strings” of the healthcare cost shift mandate and how funding needs to be budgeted per school building to receive the proposed increases in per-pupil aid. The WASB also supports raising the low-revenue ceiling to help historically low-spending districts and increased funding for high cost special education aid. There are a wide range of other provisions included in the proposal that we are still reviewing.
However, we are concerned that this plan backs away from the governor’s proposed per-pupil categorical aid investments. The WASB does do not support reducing the governor’s proposed increase by $50 per pupil in 2017-18. The governor’s original proposal, for the first time in several budgets, provides nearly an inflationary increase in state aid to almost all school districts in the state.
Overall, we hope legislators will support the governor’s investments in per-pupil aid at the $200 and $204 per pupil level while also supporting local control and incorporating the positive proposals from the Assembly GOP on the low- revenue ceiling.
-John H. Ashley is Executive Director of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards
A recently introduced Assembly Bill—Assembly Bill 267—aims to call attention to the growing impact of Wisconsin voucher programs on school property taxes.
The “Wisconsin Voucher Taxpayer Transparency Bill,” authored by state Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) would require property tax bills to include information from the school district where the property is located regarding the amount of any net reduction in state aid, if any, to the district as a result of pupils enrolled in the statewide voucher program, the Racine voucher program, or the Milwaukee voucher program. (See news release.)
Continue reading Bill Seeks Transparency on Property Tax Impact of Voucher Funding
Gov. Scott Walker is urging his Republican colleagues in the state Legislature to use his funding plan for K-12 schools, and not consider a zero-increase proposal being floated by some critics.
The governor (pictured at left alongside state Rep. Scott Allen (R- Waukesha) warned that working off a base budget for schools could mean schools would see substantially less than he’s proposed. (See previous post/WASB alert.) Continue reading Gov. Walker Urges JFC Members to Build From His K-12 Education Aid Proposal
As the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC) began hearing briefings from various state agencies concerning their budget requests, Department of Administration Secretary Scott Neitzel used a portion of his testimony to highlight investments in K-12 education Gov. Walker is proposing. Here is what Sec. Neitzel told committee members earlier today:
Continue reading DOA Secretary Neitzel’s Testimony to JFC Touts Investments in K-12 Education in Gov’s Proposed Budget
Governor Scott Walker recently sat down for end of the year interviews with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin State Journal, and the Associated Press.
On the school funding issue he again pledged additional state aid to schools in his 2017-19 state budget proposal which will be released in February.
According to the State Journal’s Matt DeFour: “He ( Gov. Walker) said he will increase the state-imposed limits on school district spending and then provide enough additional state aid to cover those increases, in order to keep property taxes lower than they were in 2010. He didn’t specify how much the increase would be, but said it would be lower than the $200 per pupil requested by the Department of Public Instruction.” Continue reading Gov. Walker Talks More About School Funding Increase in Next Budget; Questions Drug Testing Students
Late last week, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) announced 2016-17 enrollment figures for the state’s various private school voucher programs. This included the first year of the Special Needs Scholarship (voucher) Program and the Wisconsin, Racine, and Milwaukee voucher programs.
Altogether, the state will spend nearly a quarter of a billion dollars ($244 million) in 2016-17 on the various voucher programs it has authorized. This post examines the scope and impact of special needs vouchers. Continue reading Fiscal Impact of Special Needs Vouchers Hits Declining Enrollment Districts Doubly Hard