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Will More State Technical College Money Mean Less Local Governance?

Nicolet Area Technical College

The Wisconsin Taxpayer's Alliance reports a dramatic shift in how Wisconsin's technical colleges are funded. The legislature moved more than $400 million into the technical college system this school year. It also could mean a  governance shift to more state control.
The bulk of Wisconsin technical college revenue historically came from local sources, primarily the property tax. Local sources accounted for 74 percent of non-federal revenue three years ago. That was  a higher percentage than in any other state. Nationally, local sources represented just 29 percent  of non-federal revenue. Similarly, state aid accounted for just 9 percent  of revenue in Wisconsin that year, less than in all but two states, and well below the national average  of 41 percent. But that is changing, says the Alliance's Stephanie Rubin...

"...pretty much just shifting what has historically been a locally-funded system to a state-funded system, at least for the time being...."

State aid will account for an estimated 55 percent of non-federal technical college revenue in this school year.  Local revenue will fall to  to  28 percent.

Rubin says the legislature, in essence, bought down the property tax levy. But she says governance often follows the money, and this could change Wisconsin's long tradition of local control over the technical colleges...

"....Wisconsin's technical college system is known for being more locally governed. We won't have to wonder the implications that moving into a state-funded system will have...."

More information is on the Wisconsin Taxpayer's Alliance website at wistax.org

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