Friday, October 13, 2023
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MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction today posted state general school aids that school districts will receive during the current school year. The information published includes certified general school aid amounts for each school district, as well as 2023-24 student enrollment numbers for independent charter schools and private schools participating in state parental choice programs. The enrollment numbers are used to determine the dollar amounts to be deducted or withheld from school districts' aid payments to fund state parental choice programs.
General school aids are the largest form of state support for PK-12 schools in Wisconsin and are based on prior year data. Private school choice and independent charter school programs are funded based on current year data. The DPI is required by state law to release the certified aid figures by Oct. 15 of each year. The general school aid amounts for school districts are calculated using student counts and year-end financial data from the previous school year (2022-23). This data replaces preliminary aid estimates released in July.
Independent charter and private school choice enrollment counts come from schools' reporting the number of students enrolled on the third Friday of September 2023. Unaudited third Friday of September student counts for public schools are available in this Excel file. Unaudited third Friday of September student counts for schools participating in a Private School Choice Program are available on the program webpage, for schools participating in the Special Needs Scholarship Program are available on the program webpage, and for independent charter schools are available on the ICS webpage.
General school aids
The 2023-2025 state biennial budget increased funding for general school aids for the 2023-24 school year by 3 percent ($154.7 million) to a total of $5.36 billion. Statewide, the majority of general school aids is equalization aid. Equalization aid is distributed according to a formula designed to help Wisconsin communities provide public education despite local differences in property wealth. The formula considers school district expenditures, property values, and resident student counts (called “membership”). The other, smaller elements of general school aids are integration aid (or “Chapter 220" aid) and special adjustment aid. The latter, also known as “hold harmless” aid, generally prevents districts from seeing more than a 15 percent reduction in aid from one year to the next and will go to 52 districts this year.
Aid varies widely by district based on the equalization formula. Of 421 districts, 247 (59 percent) will receive more aid than last year; 168 (40 percent) will receive less. Aid amounts for each school district can be found on the department's School Financial Services webpage, both alphabetically and by percent change. General school aids are paid in four installments during the school year.
By law, two kinds of reductions are made to general school aids to support private school choice programs and new independent charter schools.* Funding for the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program is deducted before school district aid eligibilities are certified. New independent charter schools and the expanded private school choice programs involve withholding aid from districts for participating resident students, resulting in a difference between aid eligibility announced today and actual aid payments to be made this year. Shown in the table below are the 2023-24 reductions to state general school aids:
2023-24 Reductions to State General School Aids
|New Independent Charter Schools||92 districts||Withheld||$28.1 million|
|Wisconsin Parental Choice Program||350 districts||Withheld||$193.2 million|
|Milwaukee Parental Choice Program||Milwaukee||Deducted||$9.4 million|
|Racine Parental Choice Program||Racine||Withheld||$37.1 million|
|Special Needs Scholarship Program||193 districts||Withheld||$38.7 million|
* New independent charter schools are those chartered by an authorizer who received authority to authorize in or after 2015 Act 55 (Waukesha County Executive, College of Menominee Nation, Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe University, Office of Educational Opportunity, any UW Chancellor (other than UW-Milwaukee and UW-Parkside), and any technical college district board (except MATC)).
NOTES: Aid amounts for each school district can be found on the department's School Financial Services website, both alphabetically and by percent change. Data on the Wisconsin, Racine, and Milwaukee Parental Choice Programs can be found on the DPI’s Choice Program webpage. Data on the Special Needs Scholarship Program can be found on the DPI’s SNSP webpage. Data on the Independent Charter Programs can be found on the DPI’s ICS Programs webpage. This news release is available electronically on the Wisconsin DPI’s website.