MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction today, as required by state law, released an estimate of the general school aids each public school district will receive for the 2020-21 school year.
Estimated general school aids for 2020-21 total $4.9 billion, representing a $163.5 million (3.5 percent) increase over last year. Due to changes in aid deductions for the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program and the Milwaukee-area legacy independent charter schools, the estimated increase in payments to districts is $160.8 million. Of the state’s 421 school districts, 72 percent (302) are estimated to receive more general aids in 2020-21, while 27 percent of districts (114) are estimated to receive less; five districts will have no change in aid between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 fiscal years.
The School District of Bloomer sees an estimated increase of 4.43 percent in general school aids from $8,708,652 in 2019-20 to $9,094,873 in 2020-21. The New Auburn School district sees an estimated decrease in general school aids of 15.10 percent dropping to $360,153 in 2020-21 from $424,224 in 2019-20.
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 — as well as a difference in funds available from the state.
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 is based on the most recent 2019-20 budget data reported by school districts to the DPI, as well as the level of funding approved in the 2019-2021 state biennial budget. Estimated amounts are subject to change because they are based on budgeted, not audited, school district data. On Oct. 15, 2020, the DPI will certify amounts for 2020-21 general school aids based on audited data and the state’s appropriation.
District aid estimates can be found on the department’s School Financial Services website, in the general aids 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 2020-21, 2019-20, and 2018 19 school years (third Friday in September count). Per pupil aid will be paid in March 2021; under current law it will be paid at $742 per pupil.