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Legislative Update

New online dashboard on school district finances is stalled after opposition to the inclusion of private school data

by | Aug 30, 2023 | Legislative Update Blog, State Issue

Act 89 in 2021 requires DPI to create a new online dashboard to provide public school district finances in a more user-friendly and transparent format for the public. The act also requires DPI to follow recommendations from a bipartisan advisory committee and submit the committee’s recommendations to the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) for approval. An anonymous member of the JFC objected to the proposal after the “Wisconsin Coalition for Education Freedom” submitted negative feedback due to the inclusion of financial data related to private schools.

From “Co-chairs Rep. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, and Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, in a joint statement to WisPolitics said they anticipate JFC will work with DPI “to seek changes that better reflect legislative intent.” They did not respond to an inquiry about who opposed the proposal.

“The Wisconsin Coalition for Education Freedom in a letter to JFC members last week argued the advisory committee had wrongly sought to include information through the dashboard about private school expenses and revenues.”

“According to the proposal, the dashboard would also include information about:
*How much available revenue is spent on non-public school students;
*How much of school district participants’ tax levy goes toward private voucher and independent charter schools;
*How much aid toward public school students is reduced, if at all.”

“The committee was made up of six GOP appointees, three Dem appointees and two appointees by state schools Superintendent Jill Underly, according to a list DPI provided to WisPolitics. That includes Sens. Jeff Smith, D-Brunswick, and Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville.”

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