School District of Tomahawk sees nearly 13% decrease in state aid
For the Tomahawk Leader
MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) on July 1, as required by state law, released an estimate of the general school aids each public school district will receive for the 2021-22 school year. The estimate is based in part on the 2021-2023 state biennial budget recommendation approved by the Joint Committee on Finance on June 17, 2021.
Estimated general school aids for 2021-22 total $5.0 billion, representing a $109.9 million (2.2 percent) increase over last year.
Due to changes in the aid deduction for the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, as well as the JCF recommendation to eliminate aid deductions for the Milwaukee-area legacy independent charter schools, the estimated increase in payments to districts is $196.3 million.
Of the state’s 421 school districts, 66% (276 districts) are estimated to receive more general aids than in 2020-21, while 33% of districts (140) are estimated to receive less; five districts are estimated to have no change in aid between the 2020-21 and 2021-22 fiscal years.
Notably, 68 districts are estimated to receive the maximum 15 percent decrease under the state’s hold harmless aid provision, 18 more than last year.
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 Wisconsin public schools, offsetting local property taxes under state-imposed revenue limits.
Wisconsin statutes require the department to publish estimated aid amounts by July 1 each year. The estimate is based on the most recent 2020-21 budget and pupil count data reported by school districts to the DPI.
Estimated amounts are subject to change because they are based on budgeted, not audited, school district data, and because the state biennial budget is not yet final.
On Oct. 15, 2021, the DPI will certify amounts for 2021-22 general school aids based on audited data and the state biennial budget being enacted into law.
District aid estimates can be found on the department’s School Financial Services website (www.dpi.wi.gov/sfs/aid/general/summary), 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 2021-22, 2020-21, and 2019-20 school years (third Friday in September count). Per pupil aid will be paid in March 2022; under current law, it will be paid at $742 per pupil.
The School District of Tomahawk was in the minority of districts in the state, seeing a decrease in general aid from Oct. 15, 2020 to July 1, 2021.
Tomahawk received $588,278 in aid on July 1, a decrease of $86,086 (12.77%) from the $674,364 it received in Oct. 2020.
Athens, Butternut, Chequamegon, Lakeland Union High School, Northland Pines, Prentice, and Rhinelander also received less aid in that time frame.
Abbotsford, Antigo, Crandon, Edgar, Flambeau, Ladysmith, Medford Area, Merrill Area, Mosinee, Phillips, Rib Lake, Stratford and Wausau each saw an increase in aid from Oct. 2020 to July 2021.