Gov. Scott Walker’s budget would shift Wisconsin’s approach to school funding

Jason Stein and Erin Richards:

Gov. Scott Walker’s budget would do more than just increase state aid to schools — it would also double down on a significant change to how that aid gets divvied up among districts.

Under the GOP governor’s two-year budget bill, the state would put $509 million more into a relatively new form of school aid that doesn’t account for the poverty of school districts or their students.

Walker wants the money to go to districts in the form of a flat per pupil payment that in 2011 he and Republican lawmakers added to the state’s main form of school aid. As proposed, the per student payment would rise from $250 this year to $450 in the 2017-’18 school year and $654 in the 2018-’19 school year.

Each district gets the same amount per student regardless of how much district residents could afford to pay for schools through the property tax. That’s different from the state’s general aid formula, which takes into account local property values in districts when determining how much state aid they’ll get.