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.
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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.