Muskego 4K Report Is Good, But State Aid Changes Clouds Future

On the student side, the results of two years' worth of classes is encouraging, but cuts to state aid and a change in formula leaves Muskego schools unsure of what could happen next.

While the results of parent surveys and statistics on student achievement were easy to understand with the regard to the impact of a 4K program, state aid formulas and funding triggers left many asking for more clarification.

The Muskego-Norway School Board reviewed the results of parent satisfaction surveys, as well as achievement results, which were positive.

  • 368 districts statewide now have a 4K program (88 percent) in 2011-12
  • 93 percent of the 350 students enrolled over the past two years were at or above benchmarks for alphabet
  • 100 percent to these students also reached benchmarks in print concepts
  • 99 percent reached benchmarks in math

However good the news is, a larger issue with regard to how the state will aid the district loomed before the board.

In a nutshell, MNSD qualified for a special adjustment because of the loss of state aid was greater than 15 percent. At the same time, the state changed the trigger to qualify for that aid to 10 percent, so as a result 300 districts (v. 70 under the 15/85 category) now qualified for the special adjustment.

The state also increased the amount of funding from $25 to $250 million.
However, the method of distribution resulted in an inequitable decrease in funding, with MNSD losing a higher percentage than other districts that were considered poorer and wealthier.

Are you with us so far?

While the property value per student was lowered by the 4K program, which would have lessened the 'negative tertiary aid' (for lack of a better term a penalty of sorts for being in a more affluent district), the state changed its formula for providing aid.

As State aid is based on one year and applied in the following year, the 2012-2013 school year won't be impacted. What the board has to decide now is whether it may need to increase the levy by $1 to ensure that the 4K program is funded in the future, as the state seems to be in a state of flux.

"We can't predict what the DPI will do in the future, so it makes these numbers hard to predict, obviously," said Scot Ecker, Director of Business Services for the district.

For Monday's meeting, the information serves as a discussion item, with action to be determined in January.

Ann Schubert December 21, 2011 at 12:23 AM
I have a sneaking suspicion that 4 year old kindergarten has more to do with 2 working parents than it does with advantages to children's "learning". I also understand that there are some children who need all the structure they can get. We need to be honest about how much day care we are funding and how many children are the real beneficiaries of the program.
muskego mom December 21, 2011 at 04:44 PM
My daughter went last year and I have nothing but praise for the 4k program. I think the 5k all day is benefiting the 2 working parents more then the kids. I am a stay at home mom and would have preferred my daughter to have half day kindergarten but not an option.
AFB December 21, 2011 at 09:59 PM
I'm a stay at home mom and have a daughter that attends 4K. I have to say I am pleasantly surprised at what she has learned so far. As much as I try "working" with her to learn things, she seems to absorb it much better/faster in 4K.
Muskego mom January 11, 2012 at 03:16 AM
Honestly, Ann, how much time have you spent in a 4K classroom. Unless you have spent time in there, seeing how much learning goes on, DO NOT call getting an education "day care". That is insulting to the district and the teachers. My daughter is currently in 4K and I volunteer in her classroom frequently. They are constantly working and learning. My daughter is 4 years old and is currently reading at a first grade level. That did not happen in "day care". Kids are expected to know so much more than when you were in school. They are expected to read earlier, learn more difficult math earlier, etc. Gone are the days of milk and cookies and naptime in kindergarten. Call up a 4K class and ask if you can visit for a day before you judge it's "daycare-ness". The more education you can give a child, the better -- whether both parents are working or not!
Muskego mom January 11, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Sorry, I'm not the same "Muskego mom" as the earlier one. Didn't intentionally use the same name.


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