Recently one of my Republican colleagues played down the impact of voucher schools on our public schools and claimed that public schools were better supported than six years earlier.  Unfortunately, the facts indicate otherwise.  A new memo from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau shows that general and categorical aids going to our public schools (Table 2) were less per student in 2015-16 than 2010-11 when school aids that are hijacked by voucher school operators and private charter schools are taken into account.

 

Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau

One East Main Street, Suite 301

Madison, Wisconsin  53703

 

October 6, 2016

TO:             Senator Janet Bewley, Room 126 South, State Capitol

FROM:         Christa Pugh and Russ Kava

SUBJECT:     Funding for Private School Choice Programs and K-12 General School Aids

 

 

At your request, we are providing information about GPR funding for the Milwaukee, Racine, and statewide private school choice programs and funding for general school aids.

Choice Program Payments

Under the Milwaukee, Racine, and statewide private school choice programs, the state pays a statutorily-determined amount for each pupil attending a private school under the programs.

You asked for the choice payment amount for the 2010-11 school year and the payment amounts for the 2015-16 school year. In 2010-11, the per pupil payment was equal to $6,442 for pupils in all grades. In 2015-16, the per pupil payment is equal to $7,214 for pupils in grades K-8 and $7,860 for pupils in grades 9-12. The weighted average per pupil payment in 2015-16 is approximately $7,353, based on the percentage of full-time equivalent (FTE) pupils in the Milwaukee, Racine and statewide choice programs who are enrolled in grades K-8 and the percentage enrolled in grades 9-12.

Total Cost of Private School Choice Programs and Gross GPR Appropriations

The attachment shows the GPR appropriation amounts, aid reductions, and net GPR cost of the Milwaukee, Racine, and statewide private school choice programs. Since the beginning of the Milwaukee private school choice program, DPI has been required by law to reduce the general aid for which MPS is eligible in each year by a percentage of the estimated total cost of the program. In 2015-16, the percentage was 28.8%, and this percentage will be reduced by 3.2 percentage points each year until no aid reduction is made beginning in 2024-25.

Additionally, beginning in 2015-16, the full cost of payments for incoming pupils in the Racine and statewide private school choice programs, or pupils who begin participating in the programs in 2015-16 or later, will be reduced from the general aid of those pupils' school districts of residence. School districts will be able to count those pupils for general aid purposes on a prior year basis, and receive a revenue limit adjustment for the current year. In 2015-16, the revenue limit adjustment for each pupil was equal to each district's base revenue per pupil. Beginning in 2016-17, the revenue limit adjustment will be equal to the amount of the aid reduction.

The attachment also shows gross GPR appropriations in each year, and the gross and net cost of the choice programs as a percentage of gross GPR appropriations.

School Aid Funding

Table 1 shows the total net general aid payments (after statutory reductions for the private school choice and independent charter school programs) and high poverty aid payments made to school districts in 2010-11 and 2015-16. Also shown is the pupil membership used to calculate equalization aid in the indicated aid year, as well as the general aid payment per pupil for each year.

 

TABLE 1

General Aid Payments

 

 

2010-11

2015-16

General Aid

$4,544,984,017

$ 4,347,490,558

High Poverty Aid

     18,700,000      

     16,830,000

Total

$4,563,684,017

$4,364,320,558

Pupil Membership

858,205

854,419

Aid Per Pupil

$5,318

$5,108

 

Table 2 shows the total net general aid payments in 2010-11 and 2015-16, including high poverty aid, after statutory reductions for the private school choice and independent charter school programs. The table also includes categorical aid payments made to school districts in 2010-11 and 2015-16.

 

TABLE 2

General and Categorical Aid Payments

 

 

2010-11

2015-16

General Aid

$4,563,684,017

$4,364,320,558

Categorical Aid

    594,774,447

    713,667,132

Total

$5,158,458,464

$5,077,967,690

Pupil Membership

858,205

854,419

Aid Per Pupil

$6,011

$5,943

 

 

We hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have additional questions.

 

ATTACHMENT

 

Total Cost of Private School Choice Programs and Gross GPR Appropriations 2009-10 to 2016-17

 

 

 

 

Milwaukee Private School Choice Program

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

GPR

$130.1

$130.8

$144.3

$154.6

$161.1

$191.0

$196.4

$207.1

Aid Reduction

   54.1

   50.2

   55.4

   59.4

    56.7

   61.1

    56.6

   53.0

Net GPR

$76.0

$80.6

$88.9

$95.2

$104.4

$129.9

$139.8

$154.1

 

Racine and Statewide Private School Choice Programs

GPR

$0.0

$0.0

$1.6

$3.2

$10.8

$22.0

$33.5

$45.0

Aid Reduction

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

   0.0

   0.0

   16.1

   27.0

Net GPR

$0.0

$0.0

$1.6

$3.2

$10.8

$22.0

$17.4

$18.0

 

Choice Total

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GPR

$130.1

$130.8

$145.9

$157.8

$171.9

$213.0

$229.9

$252.1

Aid Reduction

   54.1

   50.2

   55.4

   59.4

   56.7

   61.1

   72.7

   80.0

Net GPR

$76.0

$80.6

$90.5

$98.4

$115.2

$151.9

$157.2

$172.1

Gross GPR Appropriations

$12,940.4

$14,109.3

$13,840.6

$14,755.2

$15,013.5

$15,883.2

$15,749.4

$17,012.9

Choice as a Percent of Gross GPR Total Choice GPR

 

1.0%

 

0.9%

 

1.1%

 

1.1%

 

1.1%

 

1.3%

 

1.5%

 

1.5%

Net Choice GPR

0.6%

0.6%

0.7%

0.7%

0.8%

1.0%

1.0%

1.0%