SAGE Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Important 2014-15 Dates

  • October 3 - Initial ENT form due to DPI
  • Third Monday in November (November 17) - First SAGE aid payment (1/3) due to schools (based on October ENT form)
  • Third Monday in February (February 16) - Second SAGE aid payment (1/3) due to schools
  • Second Monday in June (June 8) - Final SAGE aid payment (1/3) due to schools
  • June 30 - Renewal Contract forms due to DPI (if required)
  • July 31 - End-of-Year and Financial Report due to DPI

SAGE Performance Objectives: Schools are no longer required to submit revisions or year end results of the annual performance objectives to DPI. Schools will need to continue to develop, update, and monitor its annual performance objectives, however, maintenance of the performance objectives will now take place at the local school level. Schools should maintain a record of its current performance objectives and be able to provide this information if requested by DPI.


Who is eligible to participate in the SAGE program?
The original law required a school district to have at least one school with a poverty rate of least 50%. An eligible district could then develop a contract for any school with a poverty rate of at least 30%. The 1999 budget bill eliminated both the low-income threshold and the limit on schools per district, which allowed any school to apply to participate beginning in 2000-01. Participating schools have a 5-year renewable contract with the state. The most recent law regarding SAGE passed in May 2010 allowed eligible new schools to enter into a five year renewable SAGE contract for the 2010-11 school year.

How is SAGE state aid calculated?
The law provides up to $2,250 per low-income student in grades covered by the program. The aid may be used to fund programs and services directly benefiting the students, staff members, and community relative to the SAGE contract or SAGE program requirements. Participating schools receive aid for each low-income student in grades K-1. For grades 2-3, districts/schools may receive aid for each low-income student in a grade level where all classrooms meet the 18:1 or 30:2 class size requirements. Schools that do not meet the 18:1 or 30:2 requirements in all classrooms in grades 2-3 will not receive aid for any students in those grade levels.

Chapter PI-24, State Aid For Achievement Guarantee Contracts And Partial Debt Services Reimbursement states under PI 24.03 – Calculation and payment of aid.

(1) AID CALCULATION. (a) October calculation. 1. The department shall calculate the amount of aid to be paid in each school year to the school district of each eligible school by multiplying the number of low-income pupils enrolled in grades kindergarten through grade 3 reported by each eligible school under sub. (3) (a) by $2,250. (2) If the amount of aid needed to fully fund all the eligible schools is more than the amount available in the appropriation for aid to the schools, the aid shall be prorated equally on a per low-income pupil basis.

For the 2014-15 school year, the SAGE (Student Achievement Guarantee in Education) appropriation has exceeded the total allocation amount. This has resulted in the prorating of the dollars allocated per low-income pupil. The approximate prorated allocation for 2014-15 is $2,069.48 per low-income pupil.

A list of participating schools and their aid allocation for the 2014-15 school year is available online at:

Can students that attend a district charter school be included when calculating SAGE aid?
Only if the district charter school currently has a SAGE contract with the DPI. If the district charter does not have a SAGE contract, those students attending that charter school may not be included when calculating SAGE aid.

How do I count a student with disabilities whose IEP indicated s/he is in the regular classroom for only science (or math, or social studies, or reading/language arts) instruction?
Students with disabilities must be included in classroom ratios if they attend ANY courses taught by a regular classroom teacher, including reading/language arts, mathematics, social studies, or science. However, licensed teachers who provide support in the classroom to students with disabilities during reading/language arts, mathematics, social studies, or science may also be included in student:teacher ratios. For example, a classroom that is regularly 18:1 may have two additional students with disabilities in the classroom for science instruction if they are accompanied at all times by an appropriately licensed teacher who supports these students.

Please view this PowerPoint presentation for more guidance on SAGE ENT reporting scenarios.

Should migrant students that are only enrolled for part of the school year be included when calculating SAGE aid?
If the student is enrolled in the district as of third Friday count, the student should be included when calculating SAGE aid.

Does a school need to stay in SAGE for 5 years?
No. In order for a school to terminate its contract, the district must provide at least 60 days written notice of its intent to withdraw from the contract during the school year and agrees to provide written notice no later than June 30 of its intent to end its participation after that school year.

Can a SAGE contract be transferred from one school to another?
Yes. The district may transfer a SAGE contract with approval from the DPI. A district's board of education must approve this request and provide the rationale for the transfer. The district must provide at least 60 days written notice of its intent to transfer a contract during the school year and agrees to provide written notice no later than June 30 of its intent transfer after that school year.

Can the DPI terminate a school's SAGE contract?
Yes. The DPI will provide written notice to the school board of its intent to terminate the contract if a determination has been made that the school board has violated the terms of the contract or the school has not made sufficient progress toward achieving its performance objectives.

Community Eligibility Provision

If a SAGE school qualifies for Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) and all of the students receive free lunch, what poverty count is entered for the classrooms participating in SAGE?
If you have schools in your district that are participating in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program, which will provide more meals to students, we are fully supportive of this program and want to ensure it is implemented as successfully as possible. DPI has just released additional guidance on this program, which is available on the CEP webpage. Here are specific links:

Please note that DPI is requiring use of an Alternate Household Income Form, as we do need student level data for a variety of programs, including SAGE. 

Class Size

What are the SAGE program class size requirements?
Class size is defined as the number of pupils assigned to a regular classroom teacher on the third Friday in September. The SAGE program requires schools to reduce class sizes to 18:1 or 30:2 in grades K-1. Districts/schools have the option of adhering to class sizes of 18:1 or 30:2 in grades 2 and/or 3. If schools elect to not adhere to the class sizes of 18:1 or 30:2 in all classrooms in grades 2 and/or 3, they will not receive aid for those students in that grade level.

For more information about SAGE class size requirements, please view this PowerPoint presentation.

What if on third Friday of September a classroom has a ratio of 18:1 or 30:2 but a student moves into the district after the third Friday count raising this to 19:1 or 31:2?
SAGE Law requires class sizes to be to 18:1 or 30:2 on the third Friday in September. It is the expectation that 18:1 or 30:2 is maintained.

Do existing SAGE waivers continue to be in place until they expire?
No. Current SAGE waivers expire when the school’s SAGE contract is renewed or when the waiver expires, whichever date is first.

What if a school will not receive enough SAGE aid to pay the salary and benefits for all new teachers needed to reach the 18:1 or 30:2 class size?
The intent of the law is for a regular classroom teacher to have no more than 18 pupils or two teachers to have no more than 30 pupils to which to provide instruction in all subjects including reading/language arts, mathematics, science, social studies and other subjects that are considered the responsibility of the classroom teacher. A school that does not receive enough SAGE aid to pay for all teachers that may be needed is expected to allocate existing resources or provide local matching funds to ensure the class size requirement is achieved. Federal ESEA Title II A can be utilized for class size reduction to supplement SAGE aid where necessary.

If a school exceeds the 18:1 or 30:2 requirement on third Friday of September, will just a portion of SAGE aid be withheld, or will all SAGE aid be withheld for the entire school year?
A school that is out of compliance on third Friday of September will not receive any SAGE aid for the entire school year.

May Title I teachers be used to meet the SAGE class size requirement in a Targeted Assistance school?
No. Title I teachers in Targeted Assistance schools provide supplementary instruction to identified students. The core instructional program in reading and mathematics is a basic operating cost of all school districts. Staffing for the delivery of that program in a Targeted Assistance school may not be supported by Title I funds. The use of Title I funding to reduce class size for basic reading and mathematics instruction in a Targeted Assistance school would be considered supplanting.

May Title I funding be used to reduce class sizes in Schoolwide schools?
Yes, if reducing class size was determined to be an appropriate strategy to improve student achievement in the development of the Schoolwide plan. Title I funds may NOT be used solely to meet requirements of state law.


For questions about this information, contact Sharon Suchla (608) 266-3983 or Michael Dennison (608) 266-2489