$150 cut per public school student is proposed.
Hidden in the Governor’s budget presentation last night is the proposal to eliminate $150 of “categorical aid” that goes to each public school student, according to present law. This is being cut and will devastate most of Wisconsin’s 425 public school districts. For Milwaukee Public Schools, this will be a cut of nearly $12 million dollars that has not been part of the district’s budget construction for next year.
The budget document specifically states:
“The Governor recommends eliminating funding for per pupil aid in FY16…”
There has been a lot of confusing language out there that has left people with the impression that schools will be receiving more money that they can actually use to fund schools. There has also been some language that suggests that because the revenue limit remains flat there is a not a funding reduction. Leaving aside some of the very specific and targeted dollars for technology and transportation, overall the $150 per pupil cut in the first year remains.
Remember, because of the structure of school funding in Wisconsin, any money added to school aid that goes beyond the revenue limit does not go to schools or school districts. It goes to property tax relief. If the revenue limit is not increased then any additional funds goes to property tax relief. Governor Walker proposes keeping the revenue limit the same, therefore any talk of addition funding is code for property tax relief. The “categorical aid” that is being eliminated was a separate fund set aside by the legislature. That $150 per child is being cut.
Attached is the DPI provisions from the budget and under item #4 you will see that there is a $126,975,000 reduction in per pupil aid. This is money for a “categorical aid” program that all students receive. As the paragraph below that makes clear: “The Governor recommends eliminating funding for per pupil aid in FY16.”
115.437 Per pupil aid.
(1) In this section, “number of pupils enrolled” has the meaning given in s. 121.90 (1) (intro.) and includes 40 percent of the summer enrollment.
(2) Annually on the 4th Monday of March, the department shall pay to each school district an amount equal to the average of the number of pupils enrolled in the school district in the current and 2 preceding school years multiplied by $75 in the 2013-14 school year and by $150 in each school year thereafter. The department shall make the payments from the appropriation under s. 20.255 (2) (aq).
Preview attachment 2015-17 Executive Budget – DPI Provisions.pdf