Wisconsin’s School Finance Climate

Andy Hall on local referendums:

Layoffs and pay cuts are looming in a western Dane County school district, and officials in the Adams-Friendship area are contemplating closing two elementary schools after voters rejected two school referendums last week.
Voters also approved referendums Tuesday for a $14.68 million elementary school in Sun Prairie and $2.48 million to avert school cuts in Pardeeville 30 miles north of Madison.
But ballot measures were narrowly defeated in the Wisconsin Heights School District, which includes Mazomanie and Black Earth, and Adams-Friendship, 75 miles north of Madison.

Student population, expense and tax revenue growth all affect local school district budgets.
Andy also posted an article on a survey conducted by the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators:

Twenty-seven percent of superintendents said their school boards have held discussions during the past few years about the possibility of dissolving or consolidating their school districts. Among those districts, more than 90 percent said the talks were prompted by financial problems.
Increasing portions of districts report changes that could reduce the quality of educational services. Since the 1998-99 school year, for example, the percentage of districts increasing class sizes grew from 48 to 74 percent. The percentage laying off teachers during that period rose from 36 to 62 percent.

Wistax reported recently that Wisconsin residents paid 33.4% of income in taxes, up from 30.7% in 2003. Decisions like this do not help pass referendums, much less build confidence in our $331M+ local school district.