La Crosse gains, Onalaska loses school aid money - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

La Crosse gains, Onalaska loses school aid money


 LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) -  The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) released estimates Tuesday for how much money they will give school districts for the upcoming school year.

For the 2014-2015 school year DPI estimates they will give the La Crosse school district $30 million. That's one million more than last year.

The Onalaska School District would receive $13 million, but their aid would be about $300,000 less than last year.

"The idea is that more aid should go to schools that are in a smaller tax base if state aid goes up, local taxes would go down", said Janet Rosseter, Executive Director of Business Services with the La Crosse school district. 

"The whole idea of equalized aid is the larger the tax base the greater the ability to locally pay," said Larry Dalton, Director of Finance and Business Services for the Onalaska school district.

Dalton said, "We're one of the lesser ones, we'd rather not be but that's the way the formula works out."  The state calculates how much money they will give to each school district based on things like the number of students and the tax base of the district.

"In our case that's up about 3% and we think that probably had the greatest impact in changing our aid amount," said Dalton.  That could mean a $17 increase on a $100,000 property for Onalaska residents.

Rosseter said La Crosse residents shouldn't expect a tax decrease with the increase in state aid because of the recent referendum that passed. But asking the taxpayers every few years for a referendum isn't ideal, Rosseter added.

"There's not a perfect system, Wisconsin relies very heavily on the property tax," said Rosseter. "There's no magical way to fix this," added Dalton.

The numbers released Tuesday are just estimates, DPI will release final numbers in October. Those final numbers will take into consideration enrollment, finalized budgets, and property values.

Both districts said they expect those numbers to be very similar to the estimates. The Department of Public Instruction estimates of the states 424 school districts, more than half will get more general aid this year compared to last year.

Read the entire DPI Aid list here.


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