Equalization Aid Membership
The Wisconsin Equalization Aid formula uses a full-time equivalency (FTE) count of district resident students. FTE is the result of a computation that divides the amount of time for a less-than-full-time program by the amount of time normally required in a corresponding full-time program. For instance, one half-time kindergarten student would be counted as .5 and it would take two half-time kindergarten students to equal one full-time (FTE) student.
Districts report to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) their resident student counts and corresponding programs. The information is then converted to FTE "membership" for use in the Equalization Aid computation.
Over time, the definition of "membership" has shifted. Originally defined very narrowly, state law has broadened the definition to include the average of the full-time equivalency (FTE) of resident pupils on the third Friday in September and the second Friday in January, plus the FTE for summer school, group/foster home, part-time resident and non-resident attendance pupils, Racine and Wisconsin Parental Choice Programs, statewide special needs scholarship program pupils, and new independent charter schools.
The Multi-Year Survey of Equalization Aid Membership Note that the Equalization Aid formula uses prior-year data; that is, 2019-20 FTE membership data is used to calculate Equalization Aid paid to school districts during the 2020-21 school year.