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According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,  Gov. Scott Walker has pledged to restore the state’s commitment to cover two-thirds of school costs  without raising property taxes. State Supt. Tony Evers, the Democratic challenger, promised the same when he released his education plan.

Two-thirds funding was a commitment established in state law in 1993 to reduce the burden on property taxes.  This commitment was repealed in the 2003-05 state budget.  In December 2017, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) estimated that state support in the 2017-18 school year would be 64.8%.  With no per pupil adjustment to revenue limits and an infusion of per pupil categorical aid ($190 million) from the state and a modest increase in state general aid ($73 million), the percentage was projected by the LFB to increase to 65.8% in 2018-19.

It should be noted that returning to the state providing two-thirds funding alone does not necessarily mean additional resources for school districts.  The way two-thirds funding is calculated, all of the increase from the state could go into levy credits, which would reduce property tax bills but would not increase school budgets one dime.  Or if general aids are increased but revenue limits are not adjusted, it could simply mean a higher percentage of that capped amount would come from the state and the percentage from property taxes would decrease correspondingly.

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