The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) recently posted state general school aids that school districts will receive during the current school year. The information published 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 School District of Lodi will receive $5,352, 827 in general aid in for the 2020-21 school year, an increase of 11.68% (or $560,019) over last year. The School District of Poynette will receive $5,405,620 in general aid this year, and increase of 3.25% (or $170,063) from 2019-20.

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.

DPI 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 (2019-20).

Independent charter and private school choice enrollment counts come from schools' reporting the number of students enrolled on the third Friday of September 2020.

The 2019-2021 state biennial budget increased funding for general school aids for the 2020-21 school year by 3.5% ($163.5 million) to a total of $4.9 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 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%), 119 will receive less (28%) and five districts had no change. Aid amounts for each school district can be found at www.dpi.wi.gov/sfs/aid/general/summary.

General school aids are paid in five installments during the school year and following summer.

DPI releases fall student count, revenue limit information

The Department of Public Instruction released its Third Friday Student Headcounts recently.

In total, public school attendance to begin the 2020-21 school year — which includes independent charter schools — fell to 828,179, a 2.9% decrease from the 2019-20 academic year (853,267). There was a decline of only 0.4% from the 2018-19 year to 2019-20.

However, independent charter schools reported a total third Friday headcount of 9,257 in September, an increase of 1.6% from 2019. The previous increase — from 2018 to 2019 — was 2.8%.

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