The Lake Mills Area School District will receive $8,879,279 in general aid from the state, according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction — an increase of $539,826 or 6.47% from last year’s $8,339,453 amount.
Other area school districts receiving a bump in aid this year include Cambridge with a 7.53% increase, Deerfield with a 0.12% increase and Johnson Creek with an 5.27% increase.
Area districts receiving less aid include Jefferson with a reduction of $47,86, Marshall with a decrease of $164,542 and Waterloo with a decrease of $85,551.
The information published, by DPI, includes certified general school aid amounts for each school district, as well as 2020-21 student enrollment numbers for independent charter schools and private schools participating in state parental choice programs. The enrollment numbers are used to determine the dollar amounts to be deducted or withheld from school districts’ aid payments to fund state parental choice programs.
General school aids are the largest form of state support for PK-12 schools in Wisconsin and are based on prior year data. The private school choice and independent charter school programs are funded based on current year data.
The department is required by state law to release the certified aid figures by Oct. 15 of each year. The general school aid amounts for school districts are calculated using student counts and year-end financial data from the previous school year.
The 2019-2021 state biennial budget increased funding for general school aids for the 2020-21 school year by 3.5 percent ($163.5 million) to a total of $4.90 billion. Statewide, the majority of general school aids is equalization aid. Equalization aid is distributed according to a formula designed to help Wisconsin communities provide public education despite local differences in property wealth. The formula considers school district expenditures, property values, and resident student counts (called “membership”).
The other, smaller elements of general school aids are integration aid (or “Chapter 220” aid) and special adjustment aid. The latter, also known as “hold harmless” aid, generally prevents districts from seeing more than a 15 percent reduction in aid from one year to the next and will go to 49 districts this year.
Aid varies widely by district based on the equalization formula. Of 421 districts, 297 will receive more aid than last year (71 percent); 119 will receive less (28 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.
Enrollment in Wisconsin’s private school choice programs increased by 2,577 students and 26 schools over last school year. Voucher payments and independent charter payments are made to participating schools in four annual installments.