The Department of Public Instruction issued its annual report on how much general state aid school districts can receive, and over half the school districts will see a reduction. WLUK in Madison immediately jumped on the story:
New estimates from the state Department of Public Instruction show that when fall enrollment is official, more than half of the state’s public school districts are expected to get less state money for the 2017-18 next school year than they did for 2016-17.
The state has 422 public school districts. Fifty-five percent, or 231 districts, are estimated to receive less money. Forty-four percent, or 187 districts, anticipate more state aid.
Sounds bad, but there’s a lot more to the story.
Buried at the bottom of the story is this, “The total state aid stays about the same, but individual districts are changing because of changes in property values and enrollment.”
Dr. Will Flanders of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty said in an email to RightWisconsin that buried sentence is key to understanding what’s happening:
“It is entirely logical for districts that lose students to lose state funding. The kids are no longer there to be educated in that district. Additionally, this does not include the huge increases in per pupil aid that have been proposed by both the legislature and the governor. Both proposals would take per student funding well beyond anything that has been seen before in Wisconsin.”