What is the School-Based Mental Health Services State Funding Program?
From 2019-2023, the School-Based Mental Health Services (SBMHS) Grant Program was a competitive mental health grant program funded by the State of Wisconsin and authorized under Wis. Stat. §115.367, with funds awarded to school districts and independent charter schools (ICS) to be used for the purpose of providing mental health services to pupils in collaboration with community mental health providers.
In the 2023-2025 State Budget, Act 19 changed how funds are distributed under the SBMHS Grant program, from a competition to a per pupil allocation to all school districts and ICSs. Grant amounts are calculated using current year revenue limit membership for school districts and current year enrollment for ICSs. Under Act 19, funding for SBMHS allocations is $25,000,000 in Fiscal Year 2024 and in Fiscal Year 2025, a $15,000,000 increase from Fiscal Year 2023 base funding. This is a one-time increase, meaning the base funding for the 2025-27 biennium will revert to $10,000,000.
The Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimated that the funding under Act 19 will provide about $31 per pupil, based on 2022-23 revenue limit membership and ICSs enrollments. Given that funds will be distributed on a per pupil basis to all school districts and ICS based on current year revenue limit membership for school districts and current year enrollment for ICS, the aid payments in fiscal year 2024 and fiscal year 2025 will depend on actual enrollments.
DPI will provide school districts and ICS with estimated allocations for the current school year by December 1 and finalized allocations by the fourth Monday in March, when Per Pupil Aid is paid to school districts; final aid payments will be distributed by June 30.
Use of Funds
Funds must be used for allowable activities aimed at building, improving, and sustaining Comprehensive School Mental Health Systems in partnership with community mental health providers. The grant program is designed to address systemic challenges that schools encounter in supporting student and staff well-being by providing funds to build a proactive system that serves all students. These funds include many allowable mental health related activities, outlined in the School Based Mental Health State Funding Spending Guidelines.
All school districts and ICS are required to complete an annual report by June 30th via an online survey. The survey will open May 1st and close June 30th.