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  • Summary
  • Press Release
  • The 2010 version features 2008-09 actual and 2009-10 budgeted revenue and expenditure figures, along with information on staff sizes and ratios, property values, fund balances, student characteristics and more for every school district in Wisconsin.

    This 150+ page book is 9x12 and professionally bound with easy to read charts.

    SchoolFacts is published annually and enables you to compare districts and benchmark performance on staffing, pay, spending, taxes and test scores, among many other measures.

    Purchasers of SchoolFacts also get access to specialized reports for an additional fee. You can purchase a custom report that allows you to compare your district to nine others of your choice. You can also purchase a report showing how your district changed over a 10-year period. Information on how to order these reports are included in the book.

  • Todd A. Berry or Dale J. Knapp

    Despite Drop in State School Aids, Statewide School Spending Up 4.3%

    WISTAX’s SchoolFacts10 Provides Comprehensive School Information

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    MADISON—Wisconsin public schools budgeted to spend $10.6 billion in 2009-10, or 4.3% more than in 2008-09. Due to declining enrollments statewide, spending per student was budgeted to increase 4.6%, from $11,850 in 2008-09 to $12,400. Since 1999-2000, per student spending has risen an average of 4.0% per year. These and other important facts about Wisconsin’s public schools are detailed in SchoolFacts10, released by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX). SchoolFacts provides, for every school district in the state, a wide range of information on spending, revenue, enrollment, staffing, and test scores.

    The increase in spending came in spite of state cuts in school aids and allowable revenue increases, WISTAX said. School aids were cut 2.7%. General aids were reduced 2.9%, while categorical aids (state dollars for special education, transportation, etc.) were down 1.0%. The decline in general aids—which are more than 85% of all state school aids— came on the heels of modest increases of 0.2% in 2007-08 and 1.7% in 2008-09. From 1996-97 through 2002-03, general school aids rose an average of 4.0% per year, WISTAX said.

    The drop in general school aids resulted in above-average school property tax increases, according to WISTAX researchers. Total school levies rose 6.0% in 2009-10, the sixth increase over 5% in the past seven years. School property tax increases topped 10% in 116 districts, compared to 72 last year. Another 151 had levies rise between 5% and 10%, versus 115 in 2008-09. A new development this year was 98 districts that did not tax to the maximum allowable under state law, including 47 that levied property taxes at least 5% under their limits.

    While overall per student spending rose 4.6%, increases varied by category. Instructional support (+13.7%) rose the most. Much of the increase was likely due to federal stimulus funding for teacher training. Spending on student services (+8.0%) and instruction (+4.9%) also rose at above-average rates. Instructional salaries and benefits were up 4.1%, compared to an annual average of 2.3% from 2002-03 through 2008-09.

    SchoolFacts10 also reports that statewide school enrollments declined more than 2,000 to 859,083 in 2009-10, their lowest level since 1995-96. WISTAX noted that enrollments have been buoyed by the addition of four-year-old kindergarten in many districts. Since 1998, the number of students in four-year-old kindergarten rose 26,624, while student counts in five-year-old kindergarten through 12th grade were down more than 43,000. Enrollment figures are important because they impact district finances.

    In addition to information on school finances and students counts, SchoolFacts10 provides figures on district demography, test scores, and staffing. WISTAX researchers noted that the percentage of students identified as disabled rose slightly to 14.4% from 14.3%. Nearly two in five (38.5%) students were eligible for free or reduced lunch (an indicator of district poverty) in 2009-10, up from 25.0% in 1999-2000.

    SchoolFacts is the state’s most complete published collection of Wisconsin school district information. The 164-page book contains school district information on student characteristics, test scores, revenues, spending, staffing, and much more. SchoolFacts10 also contains summary figures by cooperative educational service agency (CESA) and by district size. In addition, supplemental reports for an athletic conference, a select group of districts, or a district’s history can be ordered from WISTAX.

    SchoolFacts10 can be ordered by writing the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, 401 North Lawn Ave., Madison, WI 53704-5033, by calling 608.241.9789, or by visiting The price per copy is $34.95, plus tax. Discounts are available for WISTAX donors and members. o

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