Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog

February 5, 2011

MPS Funding and Voucher Funding

Filed under: School Finance,Vouchers — millerlf @ 9:39 am

Milwaukee Public Schools: Funding Facts

For the 2010-2011 school-year it is estimated that MPS will receive $10,104 per student from basic (non-categorical aids) state and local property taxes. At that starting point, MPS receives approximately $6,852 per pupil from the state and $3,252 per pupil from local taxpayers.

MPS also receives additional “categorical” aids from the state that go to partially support costs associated with special education students, English language learners, transportation as well as SAGE, early childhood and other programs.

When state categorical funds are added to state basic funds, MPS will receive an estimated $8,100 per pupil from the state along with the $3,252 per pupil from local taxpayers.

In order to support federal programs such as the No Child Left Behind Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) MPS also receives federal funding to provide support for all students in the city, public and non-public, who qualify for services.

The most recent figures provided by the Department of Public Instruction provide a breakdown of funding from the 2008-09 school year.

Table 1: Milwaukee Public Schools: Sources of Funds

Revenue Per Member
Milwaukee
2008-09 Compared to Prior Years
Summary – All School Types Combined
Revenue Revenue Per Member Percent of Total
2008-09 (87137 members) State $630,646,879 $7,237 50.9%
Federal $289,397,605 $3,321 23.4%
Local: Property Taxes $287,778,700 $3,303 23.2%
Other Local $30,449,969 $349 2.5%
Total Revenues $1,238,273,153 $14,211 100.0%

Source: Department of Public Instruction, (most recent) audited figures.

Milwaukee Parental Choice Program: Voucher Tax

Milwaukee Taxpayers and MPS Students are penalized under the present funding formula for the voucher program. In order to fund the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, the state withheld over $50 million from Milwaukee Public Schools in 2010-11, roughly $600 per MPS student. State law puts the MPS Board in the position of having to either cut $50 million from MPS students or increase the local levy to fill in the gap. It is an unjust scenario that puts our students at risk and unduly burdens our property owners.

In 2010, the Voucher Tax nearly equaled the tax levied to support the Milwaukee Area Technical College.

Table 2:

Citywide Tax Levies – With Voucher Tax (Milwaukee Parental Choice Program)
As Currently Presented With Voucher Tax
Levy by Unit of Government 2010 tax bill Levy by Unit of Government 2010 tax bill
In Millions In Millions
Milwaukee Public Schools $293.50 City of Milwaukee $246.70
City of Milwaukee $246.70 Milwaukee Public Schools $243.29
Milwaukee County $126.70 Milwaukee County $126.70
MATC $54.60 MATC $54.60
Sewerage District (MMSD) $41.10 Milwaukee Parental Choice Program $50.21
State of Wisconsin $5 Sewerage District (MMSD) $41.10
State of Wisconsin $5
Total $767.60 $767.60
(The Voucher Tax levy represents 17.1% of the total MPS levy.)

If the changes that are being proposed in the legislature come to pass without any changes to the MPCP funding structure, the Voucher Tax could increase dramatically from one year to the next.

Voucher advocates are now lobbying to eliminate the cap on vouchers and increase the funding to the voucher program. Eliminating the cap and increasing the funding will lead to state-wide tax increases that will even be greater for Milwaukee taxpayers.

If the funding for each voucher student is increased to $10,000, property taxes in Milwaukee will increase by $27.6 million dollars to $77 million dollars.

If the number of students in the voucher program increases from the present 20,000 to 25,000, at the present rate of funding, Milwaukee taxpayers will have an increase of $11.8 million to $61.9 million dollars.

If both occur (per pupil amount to $10,000 and an increase in enrollment to 25,000) Milwaukee taxpayers will pay an extra $39.4 million totaling almost $90 million dollars.

At present 21% of MPS students are designated special education. Less than 3% of voucher students are provided special education services. Special education services are very expensive and the state provided only 27% of that funding last year. In the coming school year it is predicted that federal funding will only provide 17% of the special education funding. This means the remaining 56% of special education services will be funded from MPS general funds.

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