The Eau Claire school district saw a 3.86 percent increase in general aid from the state for the 2018-19 school year, totaling $60,789,036 in aid — about $2.2 million more than the previous year.

The state Department of Public Instruction announced Monday the official district allocations of general state aid funding for this year. 

“Our projections were on target,” said Abby Johnson, Eau Claire schools business manager, of this year’s aid, noting that the district had projected a 3.7 percent increase. 

According to the DPI, 55 percent of Wisconsin’s 422 school districts saw an increase in aid, and districts in the Chippewa Valley were no exception.

Menomonie schools will receive an 8.2 percent increase in funding with $20,399,603, and Chippewa Falls schools had a slight increase of 0.36 percent at $29,394,247. Altoona schools saw a 1.62 percent increase at $10,711,150. 

Although Altoona school district officials budgeted for a bit more aid, interim schools Superintendent Ron Walsh said any increase is a good sign in his book.

“Anything to the good is good,” Walsh said. “The bottom line is we’re happy for the increase.” 

The general aid that a district receives is calculated by what’s called the school aid formula, which takes into account factors such as enrollment — more specifically, student membership which is related to enrollment — and property taxes for each school district. 

Based on what a district receives in general aid and the budget subsequently created, area tax levies may increase or decrease. Walsh said he anticipates Altoona’s levy will be nearly the same as last year’s.  

Walsh said his district’s increase shows an increase in enrollment. According to DPI enrollment figures from the third Friday of September, enrollment last academic year at Altoona was 1,622. That’s up from the year prior’s 1,580. 

“If you keep decreasing in your aid, that’s a problem,” Walsh said. “But we’re not. We’re gaining students, and that’s the right direction you want to be going in.” 

Eau Claire schools also saw a slight enrollment increase, with 11,367 enrolled in 2017-18 compared with the previous year’s 11,174.

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