Revised Budget Makes Major Changes to K-12 Education in Wisconsin
A new budget summary from the Wisconsin Budget Project describes how Wisconsin’s state budget makes significant changes to K-12 education. The version of the budget approved by the legislature’s budget committee expands the school voucher program statewide, introduces a generous new tax break for private school tuition, and insures that public school districts will continue to lose ground to inflation.
The budget bill increases state support for K-12 education funding by about $411 million in General Purpose Revenue (GPR) over two years — which averages less than 2% growth each year. The chart below shows how the net growth in spending is allocated among various educational purposes.
According to the new summary, the current version of the budget:
- Significantly expands the state’s school choice program, which allows students from low and moderate income families to attend private schools using publicly-funded vouchers. State spending on vouchers would increase by $77 million over two years. The budget would expand the school choice program statewide, with certain limitations. Currently, only the Milwaukee and Racine districts are included in the program
- Introduces an income tax deduction for tuition in private schools, which is expected to reduce state tax revenue by $30 million in 2015. Filers may deduct tuition expenses of up $10,000 per year. For more information on the new tax break, read our June 12 post, “Generous New Tax Break for Private School Tuition out of Line with Existing Tax Benefits.”
- Includes a modest increase in state aid to public schools, but one that would not be enough for school funding to keep pace with inflation. The increase in school aid is $289 million over two years, which amounts to a 1.5% increase in 2014 and a 2.8% increase in 2015.
Read our new summary for more on how the state budget affects K-12 education in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Budget Project has also recently released summaries describing how the state budget affects child care, programs that support low-income families, and taxes and revenue.