November 12, 2020Christina Brey

State Superintendent seeks 10% increase in K-12 general aid

State Superintendent seeks 10% increase in K-12 general aid Featured Image
Wisconsin State Capitol Building in Madison, Wisconsin

The Department of Public Instruction has proposed a biennial budget including $10.7 billion in general K-12 school aid, a 10 percent increase from the current biennial budget.

DPI Budget Request

The budget includes an increase of $1.62 billion in general and other school aids over 2019-21 to support public and private schools.

The proposed 2021-2023 biennial budget request for K-12 public education and libraries is grounded in equity and is designed to meet the unique funding needs of schools while focusing on supporting the whole student, State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor said. The budget, which would restore state two-thirds funding for public schools, includes $60 million in additional funding for mental health, with $1 million to expand mental health training to include bullying and violence prevention as well as trauma-sensitive training in schools.

The budget also includes a $371 million increase in special education funding, $13 million for students with severe disabilities and funding to meet needs presented by the pandemic.

Key Points about the Proposed Budget:

  • Includes an additional $844 million in equalization aids, with a 7 percent increase the first year and a 2.5 percent increase the second year.
  • Calls for an additional $108.4 million in per-pupil aids, adding $150 for each student in poverty.
  • Boosts special education funding by $371 million and mental health/wellness by $46.5 million.
  • Allows districts to use 2020 or 2019 enrollments, whichever is greater, in calculations for state aid;
  • Allows districts to count students in 4K as full-time equivalents for enrollment counts, instead of part-time.
  • Limits how much aid a district can lose due to declining enrollments.
  • Calls for annual increases to the per-pupil revenue limit to account for inflation, beginning with $150 in 2022. After that, the revenue limit would go up annually based on the consumer price index. It is estimated that would result in a per-pupil adjustment of $15.25 in 2023.

Gov. Tony Evers will send his 2021-23 biennial budget recommendation to the legislature in early 2021.

In her State of Education Address, Stanford Taylor stressed the need for state lawmakers to prioritize education during the public health emergency. “It is my hope our leaders can and will continue to prioritize public education and the needs of our most vulnerable learners,” she said.

K-12 Schools and Libraries Budget

  • The department requested an increase of 0.13% over BYD.
  • The department requested $89,000 GPR in FY22 and $466,000 GPR in FY23 to maintain the current level of services to school districts across the state under the Academic and Career Planning program and to study the impact of Academic and Career Planning on student outcomes.
  • The department requested $400,000 GPR in FY22 and $900,000 GPR in FY23 in a new sum-sufficient appropriation, to subsidize testing fees for individuals taking the General Equivalency Diploma (GED) tests. The department also requests $1,045,000 GPR in FY22 in a new biennial appropriation, to create an automated, online GED credentialing system and to digitize paper records.
  • The department requested $500,000 GPR in FY22 and $500,000 GPR in FY23 to increase support for existing mental health training programs, to expand the types of mental health trainings that can be offered, and to increase the capacity of the WISH Center to deliver trainings.
  • The department requested a decrease of $2,000,000 GPR in FY22 and a decrease of $2,000,000 GPR FY23 to reflect the reestimate of amounts required for contracts with vendors to fulfill the department’s obligations under state and federal law for administering standardized pupil assessments.
  • The department requested that the appropriation for WISELearn be decreased, by $150,000 GPR in FY22 and by $200,000 GPR in FY23, and to reallocate the GPR budget authority for a dedicated funding source for Recollection Wisconsin, as proposed by the department in its 2021-23 biennial budget request. See DIN 5003 for more information about the Recollection Wisconsin project.
  • The department requested modifications to appropriation for educator licensing:
    • Change the appropriation type from an annual, sum certain appropriation, to a continuing appropriation. This would be designated by a change in the Chapter 20 schedule, under “type” from “A” to “C”. Within the language under s. 20.255 (1) (hg), the language would change from “The amounts in the schedule” to “As a continuing appropriation”.
    • Eliminate the statutory requirement that the department lapse 10 percent of revenue collected from the licensing application fees to the state’s general fund at the end of each fiscal year.
  • The department requested increases of $2,500,000 SEG in FY22 and $4,000,000 SEG in FY23 for the appropriation for aid to public library systems to support the operations and maintenance of public library services in Wisconsin

WI Technical College System Information

  • The WTCS requested an increase of 2.1% over BYD.
  • The WTCS requested $12 million in GPR funding in 2021-22 and $12 million in GPR funding for 2022-23 for a total of $24 million for grants to district boards (Appropriation 20.292(1)(f)) to provide approximately 2,000 WTCS students each year of the biennium with education and academic support. The effort will target adult basic education students and English language learners enabling them to attain short-term credentials and help Wisconsin meet its workforce needs for essential occupations. Remove the statutory language that requires the WTCS Board and the UWS Board of Regents approve the expansion of Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree programs at WTCS colleges. (Rebuilding the Economy; Expanding Opportunity Budget Initiative)
  • The WTCS requested an increase of $50,000 to the WTCS firefighter training state operations appropriation (which is funded from the 2% fire dues program) in each year of the biennium to acquire up-to-date fire certification software.
  • The WTCS requested repeal of the following reports:
    • High School Enrollments at Wisconsin Technical Colleges – Wis. Stat. 38.04(21)
    • Assessment of Economic Development Programs – Wis. Stat. 38.04(10m)(b)
    • Applied Technology Centers – Wis. Stat. 38.04(10)(d)(2);
    • Veterans Success – Wis. Stat. 38.31(3);
    • Student Discrimination – Wis. Stat. 38.23(3).
  • The WTCS requested change to the reporting frequency from annual to biennial for:
    • Emergency Assistance Grants – Wis. Stat. 38.42(6)(b)
    • Grants to District Boards – Wis. Stat. 38.04(32)(b)