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Walker Signs Sparsity Aid Bill to Fund Rural Schools
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 03/13/2018

Gov. Scott Walker has signed legislation that increases Sparsity Aid for Wisconsin's most rural school districts. In a ceremony at Riverdale High School in Muscoda, the governor approved Assembly Bill 835, which helps schools in low-population areas increase property taxes without getting voter approval.

Supporters say the measure helps address the unique challenges faced by rural districts.

"Every child deserves access to a quality education, no matter where they live. That's why we are putting more money into our rural schools on top of our budget's historic investment in education," Walker said. "After traveling the state and visiting rural schools across Wisconsin. The increased funding will provide the necessary resources for rural school districts to address the unique needs they face like enrollment and transportation."

Specifically, the bill helps rural schools by modifying the sparsity categorical aid program, as well as the revenue limit ceiling for those districts. It further increases the per-pupil sparsity amount from $300 to $400 beginning in fiscal year 2018-19; and appropriates nearly $6.5 million GPR to fund this increase.

Walker says the increased aid will benefit an estimated 144 school districts in Wisconsin. Currently, just over 100 school districts have per pupil revenue base amounts of less than $9,400, and therefore may be eligible for the low revenue ceiling adjustment next school year.

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