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Half of Wisconsin school districts will get less state aid

MADISON (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Just over half of Wisconsin school districts will see their general state aid go down this fall, despite a statewide increase of just over one-percent.

The Department of Public Instruction released preliminary district-by-district totals yesterday. Madison is among the hardest hit, losing 15-percent of its state assistance. That translates to a reduction of almost $9-million.

School aid is based on each district’s spending and property values. Richer districts normally get less. All 424 Wisconsin school systems will share four-and-a-third billion dollars. That’s up by $50-million from a year ago, but it’s still about a quarter-billion less than in Jim Doyle’s final term as governor.

In 2011, current Governor Scott Walker reduced school aid to help cover a state deficit. He said schools could make up for the lost funding through limits on collective bargaining, and making employees pay more for their health care and retirements. That helped schools recover only two-thirds of what they lost. This year Walker wanted schools to earn their increases in state aid by having voters approve them in revenue cap referendums. But that idea was scrapped after complaints from some of Walker’s own G-O-P lawmakers.