DPI releases general school aid estimates

Caution encouraged due to potential abnormal volatility

For the Tomahawk Leader

WISCONSIN – The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), on Monday, July 1, released an estimate of the general school aids each public school district will receive for the 2024-25 school year, but noted that the numbers may be more volatile than usual. 

A release from DPI said 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 current estimate is based on the 2023-25 biennial budget and pupil count and budget data reported by school districts to the DPI,” DPI stated. “Due to previously reported delays in financial data reporting by Milwaukee Public Schools, the DPI anticipates greater than usual volatility in these estimates. Figures used in this estimate may change by a greater than usual amount for the certification of general school aids, which takes place by Oct. 15, 2024. The department therefore encourages caution when utilizing this estimate.”

DPI said it will provide more information if it learns more about potential significant, unexpected adjustments to this estimate in the intervening months.

According to DPI, estimated general school aids for 2024-25 total $5.58 billion, representing an increase of 4.2% from 2023-24.

Payments to districts will increase an estimated $234.3 million because of two factors, DPI said: an increase of $224.9 million per the state budget as passed by the Wisconsin State Legislature; and the decrease in the required Milwaukee Public Schools funding for the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program due to statutory changes.

Of the state’s 421 school districts, 289 districts (68.6%) are currently estimated to receive more general aids than in 2023-24, while 124 districts (29.5%) are estimated to receive less. Eight districts are estimated to have no change in aid between the 2023-24 and 2024-25 fiscal years. A total of 64 districts are currently estimated to receive the maximum 15% decrease under the state’s hold harmless aid provision.

DPI said 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. 

Additional information on aid payment adjustments can be found on the DPI’s website at www.tinyurl.com/bdf92s9y.

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 2024-25, 2023-24, and 2022-23 school years (third Friday in September count). Per pupil aid will be paid in March 2025; under current law, it will be paid at $742.00 per pupil.

Data courtesy of DPI.
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