You are here

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.

Statute Reference:  (Wis Stat. §. 121.59)

Funding

NEW: 2019 Wisconsin Act 9. The State of Wisconsin has increased the High Cost Pupil Transportation aid allocation by $800,000 resulting is a total allocation of $13,500,000/year to be paid out in the 2019-2020 school year and again this year $200,000 of the allocation will be used for the stop-gap measure.

Eligibility

Wis. Stat. § 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. The number of square miles per school district used in this calculation is the same as used to calculate Sparsity Aid. 

Each eligible school 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 "stop-gap" 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.  

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 Independent 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 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.The number of square miles per school district used in this calculation is the same as used to calculate Sparsity Aid.
  • 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 (Wis. Stat. §. 121.59(1)).

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