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Longitudinal Data - Revenue Limit

Multi-Year Revenue Limit Data

Want to understand how the Revenue Limit has affected your district over time? Ever have the need to explain it to someone new to Wisconsin public school finance?

These Excel spreadsheets display individual lines and values from the Revenue Limit computation for each public school district for the past several years. Changes in the three-year averages, per-pupil increases, exemptions and other factors can explain shifts in district Revenue Limit resources from year to year.

Use these spreadsheets to review key factors in your district's Revenue Limit computation. Also provided are Excel graphs of select data elements.

History of Revenue Limit Per-Pupil Adjustment Amounts

Longitudinal Revenue Limit Per Member

Districts may find it informative to analyze their Maximum Revenue Limit Per Member across time. The Revenue Limit Per Member is computed by dividing a district's Maximum Revenue Limit (Line 11 of the computation) by its Current Three-Year Membership FTE average (line 6 of the computation) for the year of interest.

Maximum Revenue Limit

In any given year, the Maximum Revenue Limit for a district indicates the maximum amount a district can receive through the combination of general state aid (Equalization, Special Adjustment and Integration Aids), the levies for Funds 10 (Operating), 38 (Non-Referendum Debt) and 41 (Capital Projects) and Computer Aid. Changes in Line 11 across time can indicate changes in the level of district resources available for educational programs. Users of this data are encouraged to investigate the reasons behind changes in this statistic.

Different Types of Authority

The Maximum Revenue Limit amount is comprised of different types of authority. First, a district receives levying authority from its pupil membership and a yearly inflationary increase. Further, depending on what is happening in the district, additional authority can come from (among others) recurring referenda, transfer of service, non-recurring referenda and declining enrollment. All of the levying authority entitled to the district is summed and displayed on Line 11 of a district’s revenue limit worksheet in any given year. District BOEs use their discretion in setting their levies and how much of line 11 will be utilized.

Revenue Limit Per Member Longitudinal Survey

The Revenue Limit Per Member Longitudinal Survey file contains a district by district display of the Current Three-Year Average Membership (Line 6), Maximum Revenue Limit (Line 11) and the Revenue Limit Per Member for each year since the inception of Revenue Limits in 1993-94. Data was taken from Revenue Limit files at DPI.

Historical Sources of New-Year Revenue Limit Authority

The Revenue Limit computation includes a mechanism to provide a per-member increase, which is adopted by the Legislature and Governor as part of the biennial budget. The Revenue Limit computation includes a mechanism to provide a per-member increase, which is adopted by the Legislature and Governor as part of the biennial budget. For the period of 2015-16 to 2022-23, however, six of eight years have a $0 per-member increase. The comparison illustrated in this worksheet has been rendered largely immaterial because non-exemption changes in the Revenue Limit now arise almost exclusively from changes in membership. Therefore, this worksheet contains historical data for 2007-08 to 2016-17 and will only be updated when the biennial budget again includes a per-member increase.

For most districts, an increase means additional resources (Line 7) under the Limit. However, if a district is experiencing declining enrollment, gains from an inflationary increase can be offset by losses due to a membership decline. Prior to 07-08, if the membership decline is severe enough a district could end up with less on Line 7 than where it started on Line 1. A new hold-harmless provision effective with the 07-09 State Biennial Budget now provides a parachute to severely declining-enrollment districts by limiting the loss from a severe membership decline.

Unique Mix of Benefits and Losses

Each district's revenue change from year to year is uniquely comprised of a mix of benefit/loss from:

  • the allowed per-member increase;
  • membership changes;
  • low revenue increases; and
  • the hold harmless exemption.

This spreadsheet displays the sources of your district's revenue limit change from Line 1 to Line 7 within a specific year. This explanation does NOT incorporate increases due to recurring/non-recurring exemptions (Lines 8 and 10) as those exemptions are discrete dollar amounts which are easy to identify in the revenue limit worksheet and easy to understand.

For questions about this information, contact (608) 267-9114