WI Dept. of Public Instruction trying to change school aid funding formula

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction said it wants to change the school aid funding formula.

It has tried to pass the Fair Funding for Our Future Plan for the past two budgets.

The first time was in 2010.

“The school funding system's been broken for a while,” said WI Department of Public Instruction education information services director John Johnson

Property values, enrollment numbers and the cost to educate student are currently the three main factors in determining how much state aide a school district gets.

The Department of Public Instruction said the Fair Funding for Our Future plan would add the free and reduced lunch population of school districts when determining state aide.

Johnson said right now there are some districts with high need that receive no state aide.

“It really would be a big win for a lot of localities that struggle, because they have high property wealth, but they also have higher needs for their students,” said Johnson.

“A formula that would take into consideration free and reduced lunch would be a good thing for the school district of La Crosse,” said La Crosse School District business services executive director Janet Rosseter.

Rosseter said about 50 percent of students in the La Crosse School District are on free and reduced lunch.

She said there's challenges anytime the legislature or d-p-i talks about redistributing available funding.

“The only time that we'll probably be successful on having a change in the funding formula is when there's more money that can be allocated, because then everybody can be a winner,” said Johnson.

The state superintendent will submit his budget in November which goes to Governor Walker.

It will then go the legislature's joint finance committee.

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