- Press Release
The newest edition of SchoolFacts provides one-stop information for all you need to know about every Wisconsin public school district. It has the most up-to-date figures available from the state all in one place.
The 2013 version features 2011-12 actual and 2012-13 budgeted revenue and expenditure figures, along with information on staff sizes and ratios, test scores, salaries, property values, fund balances, student characteristics and more for every school district in Wisconsin.
This 166 page book is 9x12 and professionally bound with easy to read charts.
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, or you can purchase a conference report to compare schools within a conference. History reports are also available and show how your district changed over a 10-year period.
Dale J. Knapp or Todd A. Berry
Per Student School Spending Rises 1.1% in 2012-13
WISTAX’s SchoolFacts13 Provides Comprehensive School Informationdownload press releasee-mail this link to a friend
MADISON—Following a more than 6% decline in 2011-12 (2012), per student school spending rose 1.1% to $12,002 in 2013. Total spending climbed 1.3% to $10.3 billion. These and other important facts about Wisconsin’s public schools are detailed in SchoolFacts13, the annual reference guide from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX). For every school district in the state, SchoolFacts provides a wide range of information on spending, revenue, enrollment, staffing, and test scores. Now in its 81st year, WISTAX is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to public policy research and citizen education.
The modest spending increase was driven largely by slow growth in district revenue limits, the state-imposed caps that limit the amount of money districts can raise from the sum of property taxes and general school aids. Revenue limits rose $50 per student in 2013 after being cut 5.5% (about $550 per student) in 2012. Schools were also provided $50 per student in one-time aid. The result was an increase of about 1% in district revenues.
For districts, the question was about how to prioritize spending given the modest revenue gains. One area where spending growth was significantly below historical norms was instructional salaries and benefits (up 0.8%). This is not surprising given the 2011 change to state law (Act 10) that helped school districts and other local governments reduce benefit costs. School spending on administration was unchanged in 2013, helping keep overall growth low. Finally, school districts budgeted to spend 10.6% less on debt service and capital expenditures compared to 2012.
The new report shows state general aids rose 0.6% in 2013, the largest increase since a 1.7% rise in 2009. General school aids fell 8.3% in 2012. Categorical aids (e.g., special education and transportation) rose 7.5% in 2013, due largely to the one-time $50 per student payment, WISTAX said.
WISTAX’s new SchoolFacts book also has information on school property taxes, which are tied to state general aids and revenue limits. School levies rose 0.2% in 2013 after falling 1.0% in the prior year. The two-year decline of 0.8% is the largest since school taxes fell 14.3% in the two years ending 1998.
After declining for three consecutive years, total school district staff rose slightly from 98,593 in 2012 to 99,247 in 2013. About half of the increase was teachers (332 of 654). Districts also added more specialists (268 to 6,282) and administrators (57 to 3,497) in 2013.
WISTAX’s SchoolFacts13 reports that statewide school enrollments rose for the first time since 2003. Schools enrolled 856,673 full-time equivalent students, or 856 more than in 2012. The state also saw a large jump in the number of students participating in the state’s open enrollment program. Participation jumped 18.2% (6,794 students) in 2013, the largest percentage increase since 2005. Much of the increase is due to greater participation in virtual (online) schools.
SchoolFacts, the state’s most complete published collection of Wisconsin school district information, also contains summary figures by cooperative educational service agency (CESA) and by district size. Supplemental reports for an athletic conference, a select group of districts, or a district’s history are also available.
SchoolFacts13 can be purchased by writing the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, 401 North Lawn Ave., Madison, WI 53704-5033; by calling 608.241.9789; or by visiting www.wistax.org. The price per copy is $34.95, plus tax. Discounts are available for WISTAX donors and members.