Wisconsin Schools Stand to Gain in New Funding Formula Proposal

Last Updated: July 23, 2010

This article appeared in the July 2010 Rural Policy Matters.

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A new school funding proposal could give Wisconsin schools an additional $900 million if it is successful in the next legislative session. Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers is the author of the proposal, which will probably not be debated until after fall elections. Elements of Evers’ plan include providing a minimum level of state aid for all students, adding a poverty factor to the formula, and expanding aid for rural schools.

The Wisconsin revenue system is notoriously complicated and efforts to rework both the school funding and tax system have been underway for years. Currently, state aid, which constitutes about 50% of school funding, is distributed based on local property wealth. Wisconsin districts pass local levy referenda to make up the difference, but because the state imposes revenue caps, many districts have been unable to keep up with rising costs without holding referenda to exceed the revenue caps.

Evers’ plan would remove the School Levy Tax Credit that currently flows to municipalities to reduce property taxes and send those funds directly to schools in a new state aid formula. Evers has said this would not result in a net increase in taxes.

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Evers’ webpage on his plan, ‘Fair Funding for our Future:’

Read more from the July 2010 Rural Policy Matters.