In his proposed budget, Governor Walker recommends setting aside a portion of education funding to distribute to schools based on their performance. While this proposal might sound attractive on the surface, it will result in significant funding increases for schools with few low-income students, disabled students, or English language learners. Schools with larger percentages of those students would be allocated a much smaller share of funding.
The Governor is advocating allocating the following amounts for schools over the coming two-year budget period, based on a school report card accountability measure developed by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction:
$24 million for schools that score in the highest category in DPI’s school report cards;
$30 million for schools that improve their score on the school report cards by at least three points over the previous year; and
$10 million for schools that score in the category of “fails to meet expectations,” if the school submits an improvement plan that is approved by DPI.
The disparities in the student population in the schools, and the higher dollar amount allocated for high-rated schools means that low-income students get relatively little out of this deal. Only one year of school report card data has been published so far, so it’s hard to know what kind of schools would be eligible for the money allocated for schools that improve their score. But we can make some generalizations on how the money would be distributed among the best- and worst-rated schools based using 2011-12 school report cards.