DPI Releases General Aid Estimates
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has released its estimates for general aid to school districts for the upcoming school year. Total general aid for the 2010-11 school year will be $4.5 billion, an increase of 1/100th of one percent of the aid received in the 2009-10 school year. General aid is the largest source of funding for public schools in Wisconsin.
There are always winners and losers with the school aid formula, but flat funding doesn’t make for many winners. Sixty-one percent of school districts are estimated to receive general aid in the 2010-11 school year that is the same or less than in the 2009-10 school year. Some of the biggest losers include Wisconsin Dells (-17%), Hayward Community (-16%) and Spooner (-15%). The school district with the largest estimated decrease in dollars is Madison Metropolitan, which is slated to receive $6.2 million less in general aid in 2010-11 than in the previous year.
Districts with big estimated increases in general aid are Chetek (+29%), Saint Croix Central (+10%), and Delavan-Darien (+10%). The school district with the largest estimated increase in dollar amount of aid received is Sun Prairie, which is slated to receive $3.5 million more in the coming school year than in the previous one. Sun Prairie’s increase stems in part from adding 4-K preschool.
State Public Superintendent Tony Evers has proposed revamping the school funding system. The proposed system calls for a minimum level of state aid for every student regardless of where they live, using student poverty as a factor in calculating aid, and allocating the School Levy Tax Credit to general school aids.
Information about the 2010-11 school aid estimate as well as past years can be found on the DPI website, but be warned that the complex spreadsheets showing the aid calculations are not for the faint of heart.