Wisconsin Funding Plan Unveiled

Last Updated: December 21, 2010

This article appeared in the December 2010 Rural Policy Matters.

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As planned, Wisconsin Superintendent of Education Tony Evers has made his biennial budget proposal in the form of a new funding plan for state, which he has titled, “Fair Funding for Our Future.” As reported in July RSFN, Evers proposes to revamp the way the state pays for schools by reducing the role of property values and property taxes in the formula.

The Fair Funding plan, which Evers is currently promoting before local education groups across the state, would provide a minimum state aid to districts. It also includes a 20% weight for students living in poverty. “Fair Funding for our Future” maintains the sparsity aid important to Wisconsin rural schools, and the plan also protects districts with declining enrollment by prohibiting a loss of more than 10% in state funding during a school year. All districts would be held harmless as the new formula is implemented.

Evers touts the plan as more sensitive to Wisconsin’s diverse districts and their ability to pay for schools as it moves away from allocating funds based on property values. School leaders in many districts have worked to help the public understand the challenges of working in schools with high rates of poverty even in districts with high property values.

The changes would be implemented in the 2012–2013 school year if approved by the Wisconsin Legislature.

In his comments on Ever’s plan, Governor-elect Scott Walker has indicated he is wary of the deficit facing the state. Evers maintains that the plan, which calls for a $420 million increase in education funding over two years, is the lowest requested budget increase in more than 10 years.

Read more:

Local coverage of Evers’ campaign here: Editorial supporting the plan, ‘Fair Funding for our Future:’ Evers’ webpage on his plan:

Read more from the December 2010 Rural Policy Matters.