State's 424 public school districts will receive $85.5 million more in state aid vs. last year

MADISON (WITI) — As required by state statute, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is providing the
October 15th certified amount each school district will receive from the $4.476 billion available under current law for general state aid.

General state aid for school districts increased by $94.4 million from last year (2.1 percent).

However, the actual amount of aid that the state’s 424 public school districts will receive is $85.5 million more than last school year. This is due to statutory reductions to general state aid for private voucher schools in Milwaukee and independent charter schools supported by state tax dollars. Specifically, Milwaukee Public Schools will have its aid reduced by $61.1 million for the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program.

Nearly all districts share an aid reduction of $68.6 million for the 22 independent charter schools in Milwaukee and one independent charter school in Racine.

The October 15th certified aid shows that 52 percent of the state’s public school districts (220 of 424) will receive more general state aid this school year than they did in 2013-14.

Nineteen districts receive no state equalization aid.

Certified general aid amounts may differ from July 1 aid estimates because they are based on audited school district data from the previous school year; the audited numbers include membership, property value, and eligible expenditures.

School membership, which is not the same as enrollment, increased by more than 700 full-time equivalent (FTE) students and totaled 856,955 FTE.

Property valuations range from $8.2 million per pupil to $163,200 per pupil, a ratio of 50:1 between the most and least property wealthy districts in the state.

The $4.476 billion in certified general state aid does not include funding allocated to school districts for categorical aid for various programs or per pupil categorical aid.

Categorical aid for programs such as special education, Student Achievement Guarantee in Education (SAGE), transportation, and bilingual-bicultural programs will total $748.9 million for 2014-15 and is paid on different schedules than general state aid.

The appropriation for per pupil categorical aid is $127 million. School districts will receive $150 per FTE pupil, a $75 per pupil increase over the 2013-14 amount. That categorical aid will be paid in March 2015.

CLICK HERE for more, via the Department of Public Instruction's website.