|Support Per-Pupil Funding||Support Special Education||Support Meals for Kids||Support Mental Health|
Governor Evers has announced his 2023-25 budget proposal. Overall, his plan would provide an increase of more than $2.6 billion for public schools, including the second largest proposed direct investment in state general aids since the 1995-97 biennium, the largest per pupil adjustments since revenue limits were imposed and a historic investment in special education. Keep reading to see why it’s critical Wisconsin passes a budget for students and public schools.
Per-Pupil Adjustments that Keep Up with Inflation
The governor’s budget grants districts a sizable increase in revenue-raising authority, with per pupil revenue limit increases of $350 in FY 2023-24 and an additional $650 in FY 2024-25—the largest per pupil adjustments since revenue limits were imposed. In six of the last eight school years, state leaders have provided essentially no increase in spendable resources for school districts. By failing to adjust per pupil school district revenue limits for inflation, policymakers have effectively frozen school district budgets and driven districts to referendums to maintain programs and staffing. If a school district hasn’t successfully passed an operating referendum since 2011, the spending it is allowed under state law trails inflation by $2,236 per student, according to the non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau. Send an email to the Joint Finance Committee in favor of inflationary increases.
Special Education Reimbursement that Treats All Students the Same
Special education reimbursement from the state at private voucher schools is currently at 90 percent, while public school students with special needs have a reimbursement rate of only 30 percent. It’s shameful that our state would treat children so differently, and put public schools in a position where they are struggling to meet the needs of our most vulnerable students. Governor Evers’ budget closes the gap in special education funding by providing a 60 percent reimbursement in 2023 and 90 percent in 2024. A 90 percent special education reimbursement helps all students, since fewer operational funds will be needed to cover legally required accommodations. Send an email to your legislators in favor of special education reimbursement increases.
Meals for All Students
Every student deserves the right to have the nutrition they need to learn. Governor Evers includes $120 million in the budget proposal for the “Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids” initiative. Email your legislators to support meals for all students.
Mental Health Support for Students for Students who Need It
Governor Evers’ budget includes $270 million to make the “Get Kids Ahead” program to ensure every child has access to mental health services. Data collected by the US Department of Education shows that 70 percent of public schools have reported a dramatic jump in students seeking mental health services and nearly half of schools reporting they couldn’t effectively provide counseling support to these students. And, 76 percent of public schools reported an increase in staff voicing concerns about their students showing symptoms of depression, anxiety and trauma. Send your support for the Get Kids Ahead initiative to help students who need mental health services.
Other budget initiatives that make a difference for students:
Attracting and Retaining Educators
- Restoration of educators’ right to negotiate with our employers.
- Investments in educator pipeline to address teacher shortages and keep class sizes small.
General and Categorical Aids
The $2.6 billion in general and categorical aids for public schools, includes:
- $1 billion over the biennium through the state’s general equalization aid formula, the second largest proposed direct investment in state general aids since the 1995-97 biennium.
- $1 billion increase in special education aid over the biennium, which would increase reimbursement rates to 60 percent in both years of the biennium.
- Granting districts a sizable increase in revenue-raising authority, with per pupil revenue limit increases of $350 in FY 2023-24 and an additional $650 in FY 2024-25—the largest per pupil adjustments since revenue limits were imposed.
- A low revenue ceiling increase of $450 per pupil in FY 2023-24 and an additional $750 per pupil in FY 2024-25, increasing revenue limit equity among school districts.
- A combined increase of $1,000 per pupil over the biennium while keeping the estimated gross school levy increase below one percent on a statewide basis in both fiscal years.
- A per pupil aid investment of $46.5 million over the biennium, resulting in a $24 per pupil increase in FY 2023-24 and an additional $45 per pupil in FY 2024-25.
- Per pupil payment increases of $374 in FY 2023-24 and another $695 in FY 2024-25 for independent charter schools and schools participating in a parental choice or special needs scholarship program. These increases are commensurate with the increased spending power provided to public school districts through revenue limit adjustments and per pupil aid increases.
Learning and Academic Support
- $15 million for literacy programs.
- $10 million to bolster computer science curriculum, including requiring high schools to provide computer science instruction.
Mental and Physical Health
- $270 million to make the “Get Kids Ahead” program permanent and ensure every child has access to mental health services.
- $120 million for “Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids” initiative, providing universal school breakfast and lunch.
Vouchers and Independent Charters
- Freeze enrollment in schools participating in a parental choice program for school year 2024-25 at year 2023-24 enrollments, allowing families continued access to private schools while affirming the state’s commitment to robust funding for Wisconsin’s excellent public schools.
See all Education-Related Provisions
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