Successful 2019 Indicator 14 Survey
The Wisconsin 2019 Indicator 14 Survey window closed on September 30, 2019, with 4,508 surveys successfully completed resulting in a statewide response rate of 66%. During the 2019 survey window, all districts, both those required to participate and those in an elective year, had the opportunity to have trained district staff conduct the survey, or to choose St. Norbert Strategic Research Institute as the interviewer. Participation in the survey was open to all districts in the state resulting in 301 of 385 districts participating in the 2019 survey, with 77 of those in a required Indicator 14 participation year. Over four hundred district staff were trained to conduct the survey but only 375 individuals actually completed surveys during this survey window. This was also the first year that districts were responsible for compensating their interviewers for this work, or if the district was in an elective year and chose St. Norbert SRI to conduct the surveys, the district contracted and paid SRI. The chart below gives a comparison of data points from the 2019 survey compared to the 2018 survey.
The table below illustrates the percent of growth in five of the six criteria areas with a reduction in higher education from 2018-2019.
Special Education Transition Incentive Grant Funding
Special Education Transition Incentive Grant is a categorical aid program created under the 2015 Act 55 to incentivize positive post school outcomes for students with disabilities. The 2016 Indicator 14 survey was the first year that districts received these monies for qualifying surveys. In the first year of this award, the state budget had $100,000 appropriated resulting in the number of qualifying surveys divided into this sum equating to districts receiving $57.57 per survey. For the 2017 survey, the state budgeted amount increased to $2,700,000 while the 2018 and 2019 survey amounts budgeted were further increased to $3,600,000. In 2018 only 2,986 surveys were eligible for these funds resulting in districts receiving $1,000 per qualifying survey. In 2019, the law was changed to state that qualifying surveys would receive up to $1,500 per qualifying survey. The law also states that if there are insufficient funds to cover the full cost of all eligible survey responses, payments to recipients will be prorated. 3,327 surveys qualified during the 2019 survey resulting in districts receiving $1,082.05 for each qualifying survey due to the prorated calculation.
The table below illustrates the increase in funding for the Transition Incentive Grant from 2016-2019.
Surveys that qualify for the Special Education Transition Incentive Grant funding are those in which the survey response indicated that the former student met the requirement for having enrolled in higher education, was competitively employed, or was in some other postsecondary education or training within one year of leaving high school. The survey is conducted as a phone interview. District staff were creative in reaching out to former students through phone calls, texts, and social media while maintaining confidentiality in order to connect with individuals to complete the survey.
Districts received their email notification from Jenny Jacobs before November 1, 2019, indicating the number of qualifying surveys in the district and the amount of funding per survey. District Special Education Directors can log into the www.indicator14wi.org website, select “District Reports” and “Transition Incentive Grant Funding Report” to view the number of completed surveys along with the number that qualify for this funding. Due to the language in the law, districts must accept these funds in order to receive them. This requires that Special Education Directors log into the www.indicator14wi.org website and select the link “Transition Incentive Grant Application” in the lower left-hand links. Each district that participated in the survey must indicate if they will “accept,” “decline” or “had no qualifying surveys” for the 2019 survey.
The Special Education Transition Incentive Grant funding is distributed by DPI as an aid payment typically on the third Monday in June following the October close of the survey window. The 2019 survey distribution will be received by districts before June 30, 2020, along with their remaining IDEA funds that the district receives. Districts should account for this revenue in their 2019-2020 special education budget once they are aware of the amount they will receive in June 2020, and have it reflected in the PI-1504 SE Budget Report. This aid payment must be coded to Fund 27, Source 697. The aid payment is not tied to any Fund 27 expenditures. If districts choose to use this June payment on FY 2019-2020 transition activities, the transition activity costs should be coded to project 011 or 019 and the revenue received in June 2020 will offset these costs. If districts do not create offsetting expenditures during FY 2019-2020, the aid payment will simply reduce the amount the LEA must transfer from Fund 10 to Fund 27 to close out the fiscal year. FY 2019-2020 transition incentive aid revenue received in June 2020 cannot be carried over into FY 2020-2021.
Using Special Education Transition Incentive Grant Monies
Districts have shared creative ways they are using the Special Education Transition Incentive Grant funding to increase transition activities in their district. Districts have used these funds to compensate their district interviewers for their work on conducting the survey. Some districts paid their interviewers a stipend for each successful survey, others had staff complete time sheets and paid them for actual time worked, while other districts compensated staff with an additional personal day as compensation for this work. Other uses of these funds are being shared by districts. Manitowoc School District created a process in which staff submit proposals for applying for funds and were featured in an article on the TIG website in spring 2019. Manitowoc was able to fund the start-up of a student run coffee lounge, a bed framing business, and increase resources for the district run heat-press business (See the full article on the witig.org website under featured information). Other districts have shared that they have started an inclusive school-based coffee business with their business department while other districts are able to pay for transportation to and from open houses and other events at 2 year and 4 year colleges. One district reported that they are using their funds to purchase additional job coaching services from a local agency to support students at their place of employment while another is funding an offsite community-based transition academy. Multiple districts reported that they hope to use the funds from the 2019 survey to purchase a vehicle including one that will purchase a wheelchair accessible van for their special education program to use to increase opportunities in the community.
Please consider having your district participate in future Indicator 14 surveys. Just a reminder: the Special Education Transition Incentive Grant funding is renewed in the biannual state budget so funding availability is not guaranteed outside of the current budget term.
The Indicator 14 website at www.indicator14wi.org contains statewide reports, district Indicator 14 reports, and survey preparation information. Special Education Directors can grant staff access to the secure portion of the website where more detailed district reports are located.