State aid estimates vary for 2013-14 school year

Some big swings in gains and losses between districts

July 9, 2013

Recent estimates from the state Department of Public Instruction show state aid figures varying among North Shore districts.

Brown Deer School District Finance Director Emily Koczela said Brown Deer's estimated 10 percent increase in general state aid is an unexpected windfall.

Aid estimates for other North Shore districts range from Nicolet's decrease of 10.6 percent — the biggest drop among North Shore districts — to Glendale River Hill's North Shore-leading 19.77 percent increase.

The general aid numbers are in-part products of the 2013-15 biennial budget recently signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker. Precise state aid amounts aren't approved by the DPI until October.

Overall, the Legislature approved a budget which can have a $150 per student impact on public school funding. The state-mandated revenue limit, which represents the total amount districts can take in via state aid and local tax levy, was increased by $75 per student for the next two years. Legislators also approved a separate, $75 per student in categorical state aid which districts can use to bolster their budgets outside of the revenue limit.

For Brown Deer, whose general state aid increase of approximately $470,000 — which doesn't include the $75 per student categorical aid — exceeds the increase in revenue limit of about $120,000, the district can take in the whole of its limit without raising taxes at all.

After taking hits on state aid repeatedly over the last few years, Koczela said the positive aid estimate for Brown Deer prompted her to rerun the number in disbelief.

"When someone hands you a winning lottery ticket," Koczela said, "you check the numbers again."

— Michael Meidenbauer


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