The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) has released its annual memorandum providing information on the estimated percentage level of state support for K-12 education statewide and for individual school districts in the 2015-16 school year.
The memo estimates the state share of K-12 education in 2017-18 was 64.90 percent of partial school revenues, the same method used to calculate state support when the statutes mandated that state provide two-thirds of school costs. That two-thirds funding mandate was in effect from 1996-97 school year through the 2002-03 school year.
Continue reading Fiscal memos on state support for school districts, school levy tax credit released
Overall enrollment in Wisconsin’s three main private school voucher programs (Milwaukee, Racine and statewide) increased by about 8.7 percent over last year’s voucher enrollment. Taxpayers will spend $302 million this year on vouchers to send students to private schools, an increase of about $33 million (12.3 percent) over last year. Continue reading Voucher expansion continues to drain state aid from public schools and boost property taxes
This is the first of a series of blog posts that takes a look at special education requirements and funding, including both state and federal funding.
Both state and federal law require school districts to provide special education services to pupils with disabilities.
Wisconsin state law has mandated special education services for pupils with disabilities since the 1973-74 school year. This predates the federal mandate for special education services, which began in 1975 with the enactment of the federal Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHCA), the precursor to the current federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (or IDEA). Continue reading A closer look at Special Education funding in Wisconsin—Part one of a series
Lost, perhaps, amidst all the focus on candidates in statewide races in the latest Marquette University Law School Poll released last week were results that suggest voters are more open to investing more for schools than they are for roads. Taxes and spending for schools and roads have been key issues in the race for governor.
On the broad question of state taxes and state services, 51 percent of registered voters surveyed said they would rather pay higher taxes and have state government provide more services, while 42 percent said they prefer lower taxes and fewer services from the state.
Continue reading Are schools and roads on a collision course when it comes to funding?
As required by state statute, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has certified the general state aid amount each public school district will receive for the 2018-19 school year. These amounts are funded from the state’s $4.656 billion general state aid appropriation, which is $72.75 million (1.6 percent) larger than last year’s allocation.
Because of the overall increase in the general aid distribution this year, roughly 55 percent of the state’s public school districts (230 of 422) will receive more general state aid this school year than they did in 2017‑18. Continue reading DPI: Over half of districts to receive more general aid than last year
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Gov. Scott Walker has pledged to restore the state’s commitment to cover two-thirds of school costs without raising property taxes. State Supt. Tony Evers, the Democratic challenger, promised the same when he released his education plan.
Two-thirds funding was a commitment established in state law in 1993 to reduce the burden on property taxes. This commitment was repealed in the 2003-05 state budget. In December 2017, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) estimated that state support in the 2017-18 school year would be 64.8%. With no per pupil adjustment to revenue limits and an infusion of per pupil categorical aid ($190 million) from the state and a modest increase in state general aid ($73 million), the percentage was projected by the LFB to increase to 65.8% in 2018-19.
It should be noted that returning to the state providing two-thirds funding alone does not necessarily mean additional resources for school districts. The way two-thirds funding is calculated, all of the increase from the state could go into levy credits, which would reduce property tax bills but would not increase school budgets one dime. Or if general aids are increased but revenue limits are not adjusted, it could simply mean a higher percentage of that capped amount would come from the state and the percentage from property taxes would decrease correspondingly.
State Superintendent Tony Evers announced that the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) 2019-21 state budget request will incorporate elements from the “Fair Funding for our Future” plan which he has proposed in previous budgets. According to the DPI website this includes “guaranteeing state funding for every student” and “accounting for family income and poverty as a factor in educating students”.
He also called for returning the state’s share of education costs to two-thirds, indexing revenue limits to inflation and increasing funding for 4 year old kindergarten programs. Continue reading DPI budget request includes indexing revenue limits to inflation; returning to state covering 2/3 of costs; “Fair Funding” elements