Understanding Fair Funding for Our Future
On November 15, 2010, Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Evers, revealed his comprehensive plan “Fair Funding for Our Future” around the state. The intent of this article is to summarize the proposal and how it would affect the School District of Chilton residents.
Some of the key components of the Fair Funding plan and what Evers hopes to achieve are as follows:
Increase guaranteed funding of all students from $1,000 to $3,000. This would give the property rich districts, who in the past have received little to no aid, some aid to assist with the education of their students.
Move levy credit allocations to equalization aid. Over the past six years, School aid has increased 1%, Categorical aids 20% and Levy Tax Credits 91%. Levy credits are considered by the State a part of school funding. The money allocated to levy credits is not distributed based on Equalized values, but rather by levy itself. This causes a district to present an inflated levy rate to the tax payers. The levy credit information is not given to school districts and as of the end of October, the information is not available.
Consolidate categorical aids. Currently there are a number of small categorical aid categories. This would combine all of the categorical aids and focus them on five high needs areas (Special Ed, High Cost Special Ed, Bilingual/Bicultural, SAGE and School Breakfast).
Maintain current growth to the Revenue Limits formula and establish predictable growth in state aids. Currently $200 per pupil increase in the revenue limit formula is stated in law. As was stated above, only 1% growth has been given to school aids over the past 6 years. This plan looks to have the greater of 2% or CPI.
According to the information that was provided by Evers, Chilton district would receive a 4.4% increase in aid. With this increase in state support, the 2010-2011 tax levy mill to our district tax payers would have dropped from $10.62 per thousand to $8.10 per thousand. Chilton has not seen a tax rate this low since 2000 when the mill rate was $7.61 (lowest in 30+ years).
It is extremely early to assume that Evers' plan will be adopted fully or in part by the new legislation and at this time Governor Elect Walker has not presented a budget proposal, though his office has referenced the state’s $3 billion budget deficit. K-12 education makes up 44% of the state’s budget, so one can only assume that education funding will have some changes.
I will keep you informed as more plans are released and additional information is attained.