Sun Prairie Area School District logo (2018)

The Sun Prairie Area School District will receive roughly $49.8 million in general aid from the state, according to the Wisconsin Department of Instruction — an increase of 4.6 percent, or $2,187,404 increase from last year’s $47,591,927 amount.

“{span}This is very close to what we projected. The next step for SPASD is to take our budget to the [Sun Prairie School] board for review on July 27,” commented {/span}Sun Prairie Area School District Director of Business & Finance Phil Frei regarding the potential impact the aid could have on the district’s 2020-21 budget.

The Department of Public Instruction said a district’s general aids can increase or decrease due to changes in any of the three local factors comprising Wisconsin’s general equalization aid formula — property valuation, enrollment, and shared costs — as well as a difference in funds available from the state.

The DPI announced the general aid estimates on Wednesday, July 1.

According to DPI, of the state’s 421 school districts, 72 percent (302) are estimated to receive more general aids in 2020-21, while 27 percent of districts (114) are estimated to receive less. Five districts will have no change in aid between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 fiscal years.

Neighboring districts fared equally as well as Sun Prairie did:

• Monona Grove, which includes students in the City of Monona and Village of Cottage Grove areas, will receive a 4.82 percent increase in general aid, according to DPI’s estimate.

• Columbus School District will receive a 4.51 percent increase, or $316,556.

• DeForest Area School District will get a 5.02 percent increase, or $806,580.

• Waunakee Community School District is estimated to see an increase of .28 percent, or $58,443.

The Madison Metropolitan School District is projected to have its general aid cubby $5.5 million, or 15.05 percent, according to DPI general school aid estimates.

The Marshall School District will also see its aid cut, but at a smaller amount: .71 percent, or $56,268.

The DPI announced estimated general school aids for 2020-21 total $4.9 billion, representing a $163.5 million (3.5 percent) increase over last year. Due to changes in aid deductions for the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program and the Milwaukee-area legacy independent charter schools, the estimated increase in payments to districts is $160.8 million.

General school aids are the largest form of state support for public schools in the state. Wisconsin law requires DPI to publish estimated aid amounts by July 1 each year. The estimate is based on the most recent 2019-20 budget data reported by school districts to the DPI, as well as the level of funding approved in the 2019-21 state biennial budget.

Estimated amounts are subject to change because they are based on budgeted, not audited, school district data. On Oct. 15, 2020, the DPI will certify amounts for 2020-21 general school aids based on audited data and the state’s appropriation.

The department’s July 1 aid estimate does not include per pupil categorical aid, which will be based on student membership from the 2020-21, 2019-20, and 2018-19 school years (the infamous third Friday in September count).

Per pupil aid will be paid in March 2021, and under current state law, it will be paid at $742 per pupil.

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