The Lake Mills Area School District saw a bump in general aid for the current school year the Department of Public Instruction announced Oct. 15.

Lake Mills received a 4.73% increase or $376,846 more than last year. The schools will receive $8,339,453 in general aid from the state. Last school year Lake Mills received $7,962,607.

Other area schools who received an increase in aid over last school year include: Cambridge, 3.57%; Columbus, 2.35%; Deerfield, 2.64%, Johnson Creek, 5.67% and Waterloo, 2.04%. Area schools to receive less aid than last year include: Jefferson, .75 % less; Lodi, 4.52% less and Marshall, 3.37% less.

The information released by DPI includes certified general school aid amounts for each school district, as well as 2019-20 student enrollment numbers for independent charter schools and private schools participating in state parental choice programs. These enrollments were used to determine amounts that will be deducted or withheld from school districts’ aid payments to fund these programs.

General school aids are the largest form of state support for PK-12 schools in Wisconsin. The department is required by state law to release the certified aid figures by Oct. 15 of each year.

Today’s aid amounts are calculated using student counts and year-end financial data from the previous school year (2018-19). Preliminary aid estimates were released in July using budgeted, not final, data. Independent charter and private school choice enrollment counts come from schools’ reporting the number of students enrolled on the third Friday in September.

Aid varies widely by district based on the equalization formula. Of 421 districts, 247 will receive more aid than last year (59 percent); 169 will receive less (40 percent). Aid amounts for each school district can be found on the department’s School Financial Services website, both alphabetically and by percent change. General school aids are paid in five installments during the school year and following summer.

By law, reductions are made to general school aids to support private school choice and independent charter programs. They are made in two different ways. Some must be deducted before aid amounts become certified, so amounts released do not include these subtracted amounts. However, newer charter and choice programs involve withholding aid from districts for participating resident students, resulting in a difference between aid eligibility announced today and actual aid payments to be made this year. In addition, in the Wisconsin Public School Open Enrollment program, aid is withheld from a student’s resident school district in order to be transferred to the district they attend.

Private school choice program and independent charter enrollments

Enrollment in Wisconsin’s parental school choice programs increased by 3,411 students and 33 schools over last school year. Voucher payments and independent charter payments are made to participating schools in four annual installments.

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