Susan Lampert Smith takes a light hearted look at the effects of the state school aid formula (based on growing or declining enrollments):
In this week’s Crawford County Independent, reporter Charley Preusser writes that school districts out there are so desperate for students (and the $5,900 in state aid that comes with them) that they’re actively courting and stealing each other’s students.
This odd situation was set up by our state aid formula, which brutally punishes districts that decline in enrollment. By now these districts have cut so many of the extras that their remaining students are starting to look elsewhere.
A thoughtful columnist would urge that the Legislature fix this situation before Wisconsin’s public schools are destroyed. But I’ve tried that, and apparently our legislators can’t be bothered by something so trivial.
Jason Shepherd referenced this issue in his definitive Isthmus article on the April 4, 2006 Madison School Board race. Madison’s enrollment has declined somewhat over the past few years, while the city and county continue to grow. This exacerbates the District’s financial challenges.