State general aid to School District of Tomahawk down more than $60,000 from last year
DPI in July estimated district would lose $111,000 in funding
For the Tomahawk Leader
WISCONSIN – The School District of Tomahawk will receive $674,364 in state general school aids for the 2020-2021 school year, a $61,757 (8.39%) decrease from the $736,121 in aid received for the 2019-2020 school year, according to data published by the Wisconsin Department of Instruction (DPI) on Thursday, Oct. 15.
According to DPI’s July estimates, the district was projected to receive $625,045, a decrease of $111,076 (15.09%) from the year prior.
DPI is required by state law to release certified aid figures by Oct. 15 of each year.
The information published by DPI includes certified general school aid amounts for each school district, as well as 2020-21 student enrollment numbers for independent charter schools and private schools participating in state parental choice programs. The enrollment numbers are used to determine the dollar amounts to be deducted or withheld from school districts’ aid payments to fund state parental choice programs.
General school aids are the largest form of state support for PK-12 schools in Wisconsin, and are based on prior year data. The private school choice and independent charter school programs are funded based on current year data.
The general school aid amounts for school districts are calculated using student counts and year-end financial data from the previous school year (2019-20). This finalized data replaces preliminary aid estimates released in July (www.dpi.wi.gov/news/releases/2020/general-school-aids-estimate).
Independent charter and private school choice enrollment counts come from schools’ reporting the number of students enrolled on the third Friday of Sept. 2020.
General school aids
The 2019-2021 state biennial budget increased funding for general school aids for the 2020-21 school year by 3.5 percent ($163.5 million) to a total of $4.90 billion. Statewide, the majority of general school aids is equalization aid (www.dpi.wi.gov/sfs/aid/general/equalization/overview). Equalization aid is distributed according to a formula designed to help Wisconsin communities provide public education despite local differences in property wealth. The formula considers school district expenditures, property values, and resident student counts (called “membership”).
The other, smaller elements of general school aids are integration aid, or “Chapter 220” aid (www.dpi.wi.gov/sfs/aid/general/integration-220/overview), and special adjustment aid (www.dpi.wi.gov/sfs/aid/general/special-adjustment-aid). The latter, also known as “hold harmless” aid, generally prevents districts from seeing more than a 15 percent reduction in aid from one year to the next, and will go to 49 districts this year.
Aid varies widely by district based on the equalization formula. Of 421 districts, 297 will receive more aid than last year (71 percent); 119 will receive less (28 percent). Aid amounts for each school district can be found on the department’s School Financial Services website at www.dpi.wi.gov/sfs/aid/general/summary, both alphabetically and by percent change. General school aids are paid in five installments during the school year and following summer.