While Gov. Tony Evers’ state 2019-20 budget vetoes generally spelled good news for Wisconsin’s public schools, they didn’t provide a cure-all for Stoughton.
Despite adding a bit more than $200 a year for all students in the next two years and an overall increase of around $65 million more than the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee had approved, the Stoughton Area School District will receive less money than it did the previous year.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s July 1 estimates of general school aid, the district will receive $1.6 million less in state aid this school year, a decrease of 12.26 percent. General school aids are the largest form of state support for public schools in the Wisconsin, figured largely by student enrollment.
That’s not great news for districts like Stoughton that are losing students and therefore funding.
Superintendent Tim Onsager said the state numbers will “put more burden on the (local) taxpayers.”
“While it’s great positive news for the state, the local impact isn’t as positive as we would like,” he said.
In a legislative update, board member Kathleen Hoppe said the Democratic governor’s vetoes – 78 of them – were positive in that they increased per pupil categorical aid payments above the level the Republican-controlled Legislature had proposed. Republicans in the Legislature have discussed attempting to limit the veto power of the governor to change future state budgets, but she said it would take a lot to do that.
“Changing the law will require a constitutional amendment, to be adopted by the State Senate and Assembly in identical form in two consecutive legislative sessions before it goes to the voters for approval,” Hoppe said.