Both Marshall and Waterloo are among the 119 Wisconsin school districts that will be receiving less aid from the state government. The Wisconsin Department of Instruction released the certified general school aid amounts for each district on Oct. 15.
Marshall will receive $7,806,385 for the current fiscal year, which runs July 1-June 30. This is $164,542 less than the 2019-2020 general aid, representing a 2.06% decrease.
Waterloo will receive $5,405,765 for the current fiscal year. This is $85,551 less than last year, representing a 1.56% decrease.
Nearby school districts saw increases in state general aid including Cambridge (7.53%), Columbus (3.31%), Deerfield (0.12%), Lake Mills (6.47%).
Across the state, the general aid increased $166,470,182 compared to the previous year with 297 districts seeing increases in state aid.
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 (71%) will receive more aid than last year, 119 (28%) will receive less 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 recently released its third Friday student head counts.
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%.