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Legislative Update

Bill on increasing vouchers/low revenue ceiling receives bipartisan support in committees

by | Jun 13, 2023 | Legislative Update Blog, State Budget

Legislation (SB 330) that increases per pupil payment amounts to voucher/independent charter schools and also increases the low revenue ceiling for public school districts was approved by legislative committees today with bipartisan support. The Senate Education Committee voted 6-1 to recommend the bill for passage with Sen. Johnson (D-Milwaukee) supporting the bill and Sen. Larson (D-Milwaukee) opposing. The Joint Finance Committee approved the bill 11-3 with Sen. Johnson again supporting the bill.

The bill reflects a deal reached between the governor and legislative leaders on both K-12 education funding and shared revenue for local governments.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) prepared a memo on this legislation that you can find here.

The bill would set the low revenue adjustment amount under revenue limits at $11,000 per pupil in 2023-24 and each year thereafter. This allows school districts with per pupil spending under $11,000 to raise their spending to that level without having to go to referendum. (Note: It is unclear, at this point, how current law referendum-related restrictions that block a district from using the low revenue ceiling if the district has had a failed revenue limit referendum within the last three years will apply to the ability to use this increase.)

The bill also increases voucher/ind. charter per pupil payments and creates a new payment indexing mechanism that factors in any future increases in the low revenue ceiling. Voucher/ind. charter payments are already indexed to annual increases to per pupil revenue limits and increases in funding per pupil for statutorily specified categorical aid appropriations.

A memo prepared by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) illustrates what the total increases for each payment category would be if, as reported as part of the deal, revenue limits are increased by $325/pupil in each fiscal year and special education categorical aid is increased to 33.3% reimbursement:

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