Wisconsin School Financing Proposal

Amy Hetzner:

A major study of restructuring the state’s school funding system has produced a plan its author predicts could double academic achievement among Wisconsin students for 6.8% more money annually than the state spends currently.
The study by Allan Odden, a University of Wisconsin-Madison education professor, is more than a year in the making and has included input by some of the state’s most influential education policy makers. However, members of the task force who have been advising Odden say it is still a work in progress, and major disagreements arose Friday at a meeting at which he released detailed cost estimates for his plan.
“Nobody agrees with everything,” Odden conceded, “but there’s been no great revolts.”
Odden is slated to present the plan at a hearing next week of a special legislative council on the school-aid formula, which is headed by state Sen. Luther Olsen ( R-Ripon), a member of Odden’s task force.
The council will also hear about two other plans, one from Democratic state Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) and the other from the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools, Olsen said.
Jack Norman, research director for the Institute for Wisconsin’s Future, who helped draft the funding plan for the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools, called Odden’s plan “really terrific.” But he disagreed with some of the details, including how it would fund special education and its reduced funding for high school electives.