By Nyesha Stone
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) distributed $1.9 billion from numerous programs to fund Wisconsin school districts. Most of that funding is to be used for general aid, which is the operational cost of schools and includes paying administration and staff.
DPI sent payments to schools from the following major state funding programs: Career and Technical Education Incentive Grants, General School Aids (State Equalization Aid, Special Adjustment Aid, Special Transfer Aids), High Cost Transportation Aid, High Cost Special Education Aid, Personal Electronic Computing Device Grants, Special Education Transition Incentive Grants and Supplemental Special Education Aid.
Along with those programs, a new state program supporting mental health services in schools was also distributed.
According to a press release, Aid for School Mental Health Programs was created in the 2017-19 state biennial budget when Scott Walker was in office, in response to a large unmet need throughout Wisconsin.
The largest portion of the payment, $1.6 billion, was the fourth installment of state general
school aids for this fiscal year. General school aids account for approximately 79 percent of state funding paid to Wisconsin’s public PK-12 schools, according to a press release. General school aids along with local property taxes represent the two largest sources of funding for public schools in Wisconsin.
According to data provided by the DPI, during the 2017-2018 school year, 53.6 % of the money provided by the DPI went towards instruction, with the rest of the money going towards other categories such as transportation, administration and food cost.
“We’ve been moving in the right direction on rural transportation and mental health funding,”
Stanford Taylor said.
Taylor added, “We need to keep pushing on those areas, as well as special education and general school funding, so our schools have what they need to give all our students the right start on the successful lives they deserve and that we all want for them.”
For more information on the DPI and how they distribute funding, visit https://dpi.wi.gov/.