The Milton School District will receive about $22.1 million in state general school aid for the current school year, representing a 3.47 percent increase from the prior year. The Department of Public Instruction today released the certified general school aids, the largest form of state support for 4K-12 schools in Wisconsin.
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”).
Aid varies widely by district based on the equalization formula. Of Wisconsin’s 421 school 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 DPI’s School Financial Services website. General school aids are paid in five installments during the school year and following summer.
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.
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). This finalized data replaces preliminary aid estimates released in July.
Independent and private school funding
DPI today also released 2020-21 student enrollment numbers for independent charter schools and private schools participating in state parental choice programs.
Enrollment in Wisconsin’s private school choice programs increased by 2,577 students and 26 schools over last school year.
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.
By law, two kinds of reductions are made to general school aids to support private school choice and independent charter programs. Funding for legacy independent charter schools and the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program is deducted before school district aid eligibilities are certified. Newer independent charter schools and the expanded private school 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.
For legacy independent charter schools, $79.3 million was deducted for newer independent charter schools $3.5 million was withheld. For the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program, $95.7 million was withheld. For the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, $30 million was withheld, for the Racine Parental Choice Program, $25.7 million was withheld and $18 million was withheld for the Special Needs Scholarship Program.
For all private school choice programs, the total cost is $383.3 million. For legacy and newer independent charter schools, the total cost is $82.8 million.
The differences between the total program cost and total program aid deductions are funded with state general purpose revenue.