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MADISON — Following a timeline required by state law, the Department of Public Instruction released an estimate today of the general school aids each public school district will receive for the 2019-20 school year.
General school aids are the largest form of state support for public schools in the state. Wisconsin statutes require the department to publish estimated aid amounts by July 1 each year. The estimate can help school personnel to complete their annual budgets and project changes in property tax levies. Estimated amounts are subject to change because they are based on proposed, not final, state budget appropriations for 2019-21 as well as budgeted, not audited, school district data from the 2018-19 school year. On Oct. 15, the department will certify amounts for 2019-20 general school aids based on audited data and finalized state budget numbers.
Estimated general school aids for 2019-20 total $4.740 billion for the state, representing a $83.2 million (1.8 percent) increase over last year. Due to changes in the aid deduction from Milwaukee Public Schools for the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, the estimated increase in aid payments to districts is $83.7 million. Of the state’s 421 school districts, 59 percent (248) are estimated to receive more general aid in 2019-20, while 40 percent of districts (168) are estimated to receive less; five districts will have no change in the aid between the 2018-19 and 2019-20 fiscal years. 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 — or from changes to the state appropriation.
District aid estimates can be found on the department’s School Financial Services website, in the general aid section. Estimates are available as “Summary by Alphabet” and “Summary by Percent.” The department’s July 1 aid estimate does not include per pupil categorical aid, which will be based on student membership from the 2019-20, 2018-19, and 2017‑18 school years (third Friday in September count). Per pupil aid will be paid in March 2020. Proposed budget language would set this aid at $679 per pupil.
Additional information about general and categorical school aids can be found on the Department of Public Instruction’s School Financial Services website at https://dpi.wi.gov/sfs/. For lists of school district aid estimates, go to the general aid section: https://dpi.wi.gov/sfs/aid/general/summary.