Things like this would be solved if we had a 100% voucher system where all of the money follows the child every time. We are spending money to educate kids, right? It’s not just to feed the bureaucracy, is it?
Under current law, the transfer amount will increase if there are increases in K-12 aid. This is a win-win because the resident district can count the pupil under the revenue limit and the non-resident district receives additional revenue for a student who only marginally increases their costs.
But the governor’s proposal takes away these automatic increases (known as indexing) to the open enrollment program. By removing this indexing, open enrollment nonresident districts will not receive the same increase in funding as other K-12 schools will under Evers’ budget. According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB), districts will forgo about $158 per student in new revenue for the 2019-20 school year, and a staggering $595 per student in the 2020-21 school year.
This is important because school districts in Wisconsin have a choice about whether or not to allow a student to participate in open enrollment. Both the resident district and the nonresident district must approve a student transfer.
Because additional students bring additional costs, it is vital that the financial incentive exists for the receiving districts to take on the burden of an additional student. The table below shows the top 10 largest net receiving open enrollment districts in the state, based on the most recent year of data from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, and the estimated revenue they would lose out on in each of the next two years under the governors’ plan.