Agenda Item
Meeting Date: 5/31/2018 - 6:30 PM
Category: Reports and Communications from the Board Clerk/Director, Office of Board Governance
Type: Info
Subject: 1. Monthly Report, with Possible Action, on Legislative Activities Affecting MPS
Strategic Plan Compatibility Statement:
Goal 1
Academic Achievement
Goal 2
Student, Family and Community Engagement
Goal 3
Effective and Efficient Operations
Policy: BG 2.13 - Board Legislation Program
Attachments:
File Attachment:
Background: Beginning in 2019-20, under the special needs scholarship program, the State of Wisconsin will value a student with a disability in a private school as worth a 90% reimbursement rate, while it values a student with a disability in a public school at a reimbursement level of 26%.

Along with the 90% private, 26% public reimbursement disparity, public schools will see a reduction in their state aid in order to partially fund (up to approximately $18,500) the special needs voucher. The aid reduction will be offset with a revenue limit adjustment that will likely result in a property tax increase in order to make up for the loss of state aid.

While the federal government has promised to fund 40% of special education costs, it currently only provides a 16% level of support. And though, years ago, the State of Wisconsin included a reimbursement rate of 63% in statute, funding for students with disabilities has been frozen for a decade and the state reimbursement rate has fallen to 26%.

The fiscal impact on school districts of the state and federal governments failing to provide appropriate support for students with disabilities was recently highlighted in memos provided by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau to the State's Blue Ribbon Commission on K-12 Education Funding. As the Legislative Fiscal Bureau memos make clear, in 2015-16, with diminished federal and state support, public school districts were responsible covering over $1 billion in costs related to supporting students with disabilities. For Milwaukee Public Schools alone the total was $140 million.

According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, had the state provided a reimbursement rate of 33%, MPS students with disabilities would have received an additional $13.4 million in state support. Had the reimbursement rate been 50%, the state would have supported students with an additional $45.3 million. The memos did not include funding levels for a scenario where the state supported students with disabilities in public schools at a level of 90%.
Fiscal Impact Statement: NA
Implementation and Assessment Plan
Recommendation:
Approvals:
Recommended By:
Signed By:
Chris Thiel - Legislative Policy Specialist
Signed By:
Jacqueline M. Mann, Ph.D. - Board Clerk/Director