The Wisconsin Association for Equity in Funding (AEF) is a group of school districts advocating for financial equity in the state system of school financing. The members include larger urban districts such as Green Bay, Chippewa Falls, and Beloit, as well as small rural districts like Algoma, Antigo, Cornell, Spencer, Southern Door and Whitehall. We recently welcomed the School Districts of Gillett, Merrill, Necedah, Stanley-Boyd, Turtle Lake, and Two Rivers. Our members educate about 85,000 students across the state.
There are two issues that brought this group together and have kept it together. The first is the wide differences in the amount of funding school districts are allowed to raise. Those amounts range from a low of $10,000 per student to well over $15,000 per student. When we say, “No child’s education should be based on their zip code,” this is what we mean: some school districts are allowed to raise over 50% more funds per student than other districts. That’s fundamentally unfair to the children who seek their education in those low-revenue districts.
The second issue is the even wider differences in the property tax burden to pay for a child’s education. In 2000, AEF was involved in a lawsuit, Vincent v. Voight, to address the inequities in funding. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the state was not adequately funding public schools in three areas: Students with Disabilities (Special Education), English Language Learners (ELL), and children from low-income homes (Free and Reduced Price Lunch). Click here for a listing of school districts that were plaintiffs in the case.
This website contains information about these and other issues impacting the distribution of state K-12 fiscal resources and the impacts on educational opportunities for children across the state. In addition, analyses of existing state school finance policies and the positions AEF promotes to obtain greater equity can be found here.
The mission of AEF includes raising awareness of these issues and providing resources to school administrators, school board members, state policy makers, and the public. Questions about the organization, its mission, becoming a member, or positions held by the association may be addressed to Executive Director John Humphries. Contact information for Mr. Humphries and all Steering Committee members can be found here.
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