WPT Capitol Report October 20th, 2014

October 21, 2014  |  By  | 


did in the 201-’14 school year, according to nalied gures released Wednesday by the Department of Public Instruction. But because of increases in per-pupil funding for private voucher schools and charter schools, the state directed more money to those schools in Milwaukee than ever before, said DPI spokesman John Johnson. The voucher per-pupil payment went up $768 for every K-8 voucher student and $1,414 for every high school voucher student, as part of the state budget approved by Gov. Scott Walker and GOP lawmakers. Previously, voucher schools received a state payment of $6,442 per student. The funding for voucher schools in Milwaukee — $191 million this school year — comes from reducing aid to Milwaukee Public Schools by $61.1 million and direct state funding of $129.9 million. Funding for independent charter schools increased by the same amount as public schools, $150 per full-time pupil. But the 22 independent charters in Milwaukee and one in Racine received more aid overall because of growing enrollment in those schools. Nearly all districts in the state see a little bit of their aid reduced to pay for the total $68.6 million for independent charter schools. In all, the state will provide $4.48 billion in general aid to schools for the 2014-’15 school year, a 2.1% increase from last year. The total this year is up by $94.4 million from last year. But that’s before you account for the reduc- tions to public school districts for the voucher and charter schools. General aid is the largest source of funding for K-12 public schools. Districts can also raise money per-pupil through local property taxes. Some suburban Milwaukee school districts saw signicant increases in state aid, most notably Green - eld (9.64%), Greendale (8.65%) and West Allis (7.8%). Most of the larger school districts also saw increases, including Appleton (9.06%), Racine (7.47%) and Madison (4.06%). General aid for Milwaukee Public Schools will remain about the same, increasing less than 1% from last school year. According to the state, MPS will receive nearly $538 million in general aid this fall, up from about $534 million last year. Then there’s the Pewaukee School District. Its state aid increased 150% from last year, by far the big - gest aid increase among all districts. Pewaukee District Assistant Superintendent John Gahan attributed this to a 6% growth in resident student population and a decline in property values. “The increase doesn’t provide us with additional funding,” said Gahan. “All this means is property

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