Kitchens said the formula could be improved for school districts with declining enrollment, increasing enrollment and small, rural school districts with spending levels capped at below $10,000 per student. Olsen also funding for open enrollment and charter and private voucher schools also could be examined.
“Over the years we’ve continually changed little pieces of the formula and often times it’s just to affect a problem in one or two school districts, but too many times when you fix one problem in one place it causes a problem somewhere else,” he said, adding he wants to start with a blank slate and go “in any direction that the evidence leads us.”
But he also noted Wisconsin’s school funding formula is well-regarded “so it may well be in the end we decide to stick with the basic framework and build around that.”
In Wisconsin, school districts are funded through local property taxes, state aid and federal funding. Schools receive the largest amount of their state funding through a general fund that distributes money through a formula that gives more to districts with more students with challenges, including those who live in poverty. Districts also receive money from several funding streams including through a certain amount per pupil, currently set at $450 per student.
Rather interesting to see the $10,000 per student mentioned in the article.
Madison spends far more, now nearly $20,000 per student.