New Resource Shows What Cuts to Education Would Mean for Individual School Districts
A new website demonstrates the magnitude of proposed cuts to education for individual school districts, and can serve as a resource for parents and other advocates for public education who want to show how the cuts will affect schools in their communities.
The website is run by School Funding Reform for Wisconsin, a group that believes that public schools are critical to the health and vitality of Wisconsin communities. The website includes estimates of dollar amounts in per-pupil aid that would be lost to individual school districts next year if the Governor’s budget is approved without changes. The website also has pie charts, like the one below, available for individuals to download and use in their own advocacy.
School Funding Reform for Wisconsin explains how the Governor’s budget would reduce resources for schools over the next two years:
State statutes currently allow for categorical aid distributions to school districts of $150/pupil each fiscal year (July 1 –June 30). During the next two years, this aid would have totaled $300/pupil. Governor Walker’s budget proposes to eliminate this aid in year one of his budget, and offer $165/pupil in the second year. The net loss to school districts will be $135/pupil over the two years.
These pie graphs depict the loss of $150/pupil in year one – school districts have budgeted for these amounts and school boards will have to decide how to handle the unanticipated cuts to their revenue. Because this type of aid is not part of revenue limit calculations, school boards will be unable to raise their tax levies to make up the losses.
Because the net loss to school districts will be $135/pupil over the course of the two year budget cycle, these graphs (showing cuts based on $150/pupil) are also instructive as a reminder that total cuts during the two years will be significant.
Due to the complexity of the way schools are funded, it’s worth adding a few caveats to these numbers:
- In addition to cuts, the Governor’s budget also proposes some small increases for districts located in rural areas. The dollar amounts on the website do not take these increases into account.
- The cut in per-pupil aid is based on school enrollment. The actual amount of the per-pupil cut in an individual district depends on next year’s enrollment, which won’t be known until next year. These figures are the best available estimate.
- The dollar figures on the website represent the cut to one component – and only one component – of the funding stream for districts. Other components of the funding stream for an individual could increase or decrease depending on what is going on in districts across the state.