Friday, June 30, 2023
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MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction today released an estimate of the general school aids each public school district will receive for the 2023-24 school year. General school aids are the largest form of state support for Wisconsin public schools, offsetting local property taxes under state-imposed revenue limits. Wisconsin statutes require the department to publish estimated aid amounts by July 1 each year.
The current estimate is based on the biennial budget as passed by the Wisconsin State Legislature and pupil count data reported by school districts to the DPI. The state 2023-25 biennial budget is not yet final, and estimated amounts are based on budgeted data as opposed to audited data. This means the estimated amounts are subject to change by the time the DPI certifies general school aids for 2023-24 based on audited data by October 15, 2023.
Estimated general school aids for 2023-24 total $5.36 billion, representing an increase of 3 percent from last year. Payments to districts will increase an estimated $160.5 million because of two factors: 1) an increase of $154.7 million per the state budget as passed by the Wisconsin State Legislature; and 2) the decrease in the required Milwaukee Public Schools funding for the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program.
Of the state’s 421 school districts, 59.6 percent (251 districts) are estimated to receive more general aids than in 2022-23, while 39 percent of districts (164) are estimated to receive less; six districts are estimated to have no change in aid between the 2022-23 and 2023-24 fiscal years. Sixty-one districts are estimated to receive the maximum 15 percent decrease under the state’s hold harmless aid provision.
A district's general aids can increase or decrease due to changes in any of the three local factors comprising Wisconsin's general equalization aid formula — property valuation, enrollment, and shared costs — as well as a difference in funds available from the state. General school aids are distinct from the recent investment from various federal stimulus efforts intended to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic; these federal funds have a spending deadline and will not renew after 2024.
District aid estimates can be found on the department’s School Financial Services website in the general aids section. Estimates are available as “Summary by Alphabet” and “Summary by Percent.” The department’s July 1 aid estimate does not include per pupil categorical aid, which will be based on student membership from the 2023-24, 2022-23, and 2021-22 school years (third Friday in September count). Per pupil aid will be paid in March 2024; under current law, it will be paid at $742 per pupil.