Elmbrook One of the Few Wisconsin Districts to See Rise in State School Aid
District to receive 4.9 percent more this year, but it doesn't offset loss of tax revenue.
Bucking the trend around the state, the Elmbrook School District will see nearly a 5 percent increase in state aid this year, according to figures released Friday by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
The district will receive $6.15 million in 2011-12, compared to $5.86 million last year — a 4.9 percent increase, or $286,117. The aid is based on final official enrollment counts based on the third Friday in September.
Only 13 of the state's 424 school districts saw an increase in state aid this year, the DPI said. The state budget cut overall general aid to schools by 8.4 percent, and the median decrease for all districts was 10 percent, according to the DPI.
Unlike other districts, however, state aid is not a significant source of revenue for Elmbrook — it accounts for just 8 percent of the district's total $79 million budget.
And even though state aid is up slightly, another provision in the state budget has hit Elmbrook particularly hard: A 5.5 percent cut in school districts' revenue authority. That means Elmbrook — like other districts — most take in 5.5 percent less revenue from property tax collections, state aid and other revenue sources.
As a results, Elmbrook will collect about $6 million less in total property taxes, a cut of 7.8 percent from last year. To deal with that loss of revenue, the district will have fewer teaches and larger class sizes.
Keith Brightman, the distrtict's assistant superintendent for finance, operations and human resources, noted Friday since state aid is part of the revenue limit that was cut, it really doesn't mean more money for Elmbrook. Rather, an increase in state aid means the district is able to collect less in property taxes.
"While we did see an increase (in state aid), the one-year increase is less than 0.2 percent of our overall revenue," Brightman said in an e-mail. "Because the general aid is included within the revenue cap authority, the increase in aid does not provide additional revenue but does offset the associated levy."