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High Cost Pupil Transportation Aid

Program Description

High Cost Pupil Transportation Aid is a categorical aid provided by state of Wisconsin. This aid program providing additional funding to school districts in Wisconsin that have higher per pupil transportation costs when compared to the statewide average per pupil transportation cost. Click the appropriate links below for more information.

NEW: 2017 Wisconsin Act 59 (signed into law on September 21, 2017)

This Act modifies the High Cost Pupil Transportation Aid in a couple of ways and will impact the aid payment dispersed starting with the 2017-2018 school year:

  1. The State of Wisconsin has increased the High Cost Pupil Transportation aid allocation by $5,200,000 resulting is a total allocation of $12,700,000/year and will be paid out in the 2017-2018 school year to cover the modifications listed.
  2. Starting in the 2017-2018 school year, $200,000 of the increase will be used to create a stop-gap measure that would provide any district that qualified for high cost transportation aid in one year but did not qualify the following year with aid equal to 50 percent of its prior year award in the year in which it became ineligible. It will be the responsibility of the School Financial Services team to prorate these payments if necessary.
  3. Modify the current law program criteria so that districts would receive aid if, on a per member basis, the district’s transportation cost are above 145 percent, rather than 150 percent, of the statewide average.

Funding

Established in 2013 Wisconsin Act 20 (Wis Stat. sec. 121.59) and modified in the 2015 Wisconsin Act 55, with an increased appropriation from $5,000,000 to $7,500,000 and the addition of a qualifier to the High Cost Pupil Transportation calculation process based on membership per square mile within the school district.

The appropriation was increased by the 2017 Wisconsin Act 59 from $7,500,000 to $12,700,000. Starting in 2017-2018 school year a "stop-gap" measure will use $200,000 of the increase. This measure will provide any district that qualified for high cost transportation aid in the immediately preceding school year but is ineligible to receive aid in the current year with an aid payment equal to 50 percent of its prior year award in the year in which it became ineligible. It will be the responsibility of the School Financial Services team to prorate these payments if necessary.

Wis. Stat. sec 121.59 (1) (a) "eligible school district" means a school district the membership of which was in the previous school year when divided by the school district’s area in square miles, is 50 or less.

Eligibility

A modification from the 2017 Wisconsin Act 59 resulted in each qualifying district with a per pupil transportation cost exceeding 145 percent of the statewide average per pupil transportation cost will receive a share of this categorical aid. The appropriation is dispersed in June of each year and the aid payment will be based on audited information from the previous fiscal year.

The Department of Public Instruction will not receive complete audited data until later in the school year and due to the range of cost data from the participating school districts and 2R Charter schools we are not able to provide any estimated payments. The High Cost Transportation Aid payment is calculated with new data each year and making budgeting difficult.

Determination of School District Payments

Two pieces of information from the prior school year will be used to determine the school district payments:

  • Audited transportation cost (Fund 10 only) that's available in early April.
  • Audited membership for the previous school year.

"Membership" is defined as the average of the resident FTE students enrolled on the third Friday of September and second Friday of January (including part-time attendance by home-based or private school students), plus summer school and foster group home FTE. (source: https://dpi.wi.gov/sfs/statistical/longitudinal-data/membership)

Aid Calculation Process

Phase I - Determine if the school district qualifies to receive an aid payment

  • P I-1 Total the previous school year’s Audited Transportation Cost (Fund 10) for each school district.
  • P I-2 Total the previous school year's audited membership for each school district.
  • P 1-3 Verify the “eligible school districts” by dividing the previous school year’s audited membership for each school district by the school district's area in square miles. To be an eligible school district, the quotient(answer) must be 50 or less members per square mile.
  • P 1-4 Determine the statewide transportation cost per member by dividing the step P I-1 total by the step P I-2 total. Then, multiply the quotient by 1.45 to determine the threshold to receive High Cost Transportation Aid.
  • P 1-5 Determine the district’s transportation cost per member by dividing the Audited Transportation Cost (Fund 10) by the Audited Membership.
  • P 1-6 Subtract the district’s transportation cost per member (step P I-5) from 145 percent of statewide transportation cost per member (step #4). If the remainder calculated is a positive value, the school district is eligible to receive a portion of the allocated funds.

Phase II - Determine the qualifying school district’s High Cost Transportation aid amount

  • P II-1 Multiply the eligible district’s previous year membership by the positive remainder calculated in step P I-6 of phase 1.
  • P II-2 Total the values produced in step P II-1 for all of the qualifying school districts.
  • P II-3 (New in FY 2018 - Stop Gap - Aid) Compare the list of qualifying school district in the current year with the school districts who qualified in the immediately preceding school year.
  • P II-3a If a school district qualified in the immediately preceding school year and not in the current school year, set them apart with the payment amount in the immediately preceding school year.
  • P II-3b Multiply that amount by 0.5.
  • P II-3c Determine the total of all school district who qualified under this provision.
  • P II-4 If that total exceeds $200,000, prorated payments will be granted to the eligible school districts.
  • P II-5 Divide the total in step P II-2 by the appropriation, minus the amount consumed in step P II-4, to determine the percentage share (product) that will be paid to each LEA.
  • P II-6 For each eligible school district, multiply the step P II-5 product times the school district's value under "FY—District’s Tran. Cost over State Avg. Cost" calculated in step P I-6 to determine the district's High Cost Transportation Aid payment.

Aid Eligibility by School Year

Please note that a district needs to use caution before assuming what the potential High Cost Transportation Aid amount will be in a future school year, due to the large amount of data that impacts the actual dispersed amounts (s. 121.59(1)).

For questions about this information, contact Bruce Anderson (608) 267-9707, dpifin@dpi.wi.gov (608) 267-9114