Some places’ integration seats vanish: Aid formula makes big players prefer open enrollment to 220

Amy Hetzner:

Some of the biggest players in the Chapter 220 program will not accept new minority students for the coming school year, a move likely to continue the trend of declining participation in the school integration program.
School boards for Elmbrook, Menomonee Falls and Wauwatosa, which collectively enrolled more than a quarter of all Chapter 220 students last school year, have voted to not open up any new seats to the program in the 2011-’12 school year.
The action comes as districts have increasingly favored the state’s open enrollment public school choice program as a way to attract out-of-district students – and increased state aid – to their schools.
“The reason is largely financially related,” Elmbrook School District Superintendent Matt Gibson said.
While the money that districts collect for open enrollment students comes on top of the revenue limits allowed by the state, Chapter 220 aid does not raise extra revenue for school districts. Instead, the state aid that districts receive through Chapter 220 goes toward lowering district property taxes.