Tamarine Cornelius

Wisconsin Has 4th Biggest Education Cuts

Education funding has gone down 13%, more than all but three states.

By , Wisconsin Budget Project - Dec 11th, 2015 02:15 pm
Wisconsin Cuts to Education Among Largest in the Country

Wisconsin Cuts to Education Among Largest in the Country

Wisconsin has cut about $1 out of every $8 that it spends supporting students in K-12 schools, a cut larger than all but three other states, according to a new report. Wisconsin cut state general funding for K-12 schools by 12.7% per student between 2008 and 2016 after adjusting for inflation, with only Oklahoma, Alabama, and Arizona making larger cuts.

Many of the other states with the biggest cuts to education have also cut income taxes during this period. Wisconsin, like Oklahoma, Arizona, and Idaho made very deep cuts in state support for education while also implementing significant income tax cuts.

Wisconsin’s cuts to education are especially deep when compared to what has happened in Minnesota in recent years. In Minnesota, lawmakers have made significant new investments to ensure that children have access to an excellent public education. State general funding per student increased by 6.9% in Minnesota between 2008 and 2016.

The cuts in state support can’t be made up at the local level. That’s because at the same time that they have cut state support for local schools, Wisconsin lawmakers have prohibited local school districts from making up the loss by raising property taxes.

The report includes several other ways of measuring the change in how Wisconsin supports schools, including:

  • The percent change in total per-student state funding from 2008 to 2014. Only seven states have a bigger cut than Wisconsin using this measure;
  • The percent change in per-student state general funding from 2015 to 2016. Only three states have a bigger cut than Wisconsin using this measure; and
  • The percent change in total state and local funding from 2008 to 2014. Only 12 states have a bigger cut than Wisconsin using this measure.

Wisconsin’s cuts to education have had serious consequences for Wisconsin’s schoolchildren, communities, and economy. Reducing state support for education has made it harder for Wisconsin to:

For the full report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, go here: Most States Have Cut School Funding, and Some Continue Cutting.

11 thoughts on “Wisconsin Has 4th Biggest Education Cuts”

  1. Tim says:

    Well, at least we’ve been enjoying record property tax cuts, income tax cuts & job growth that’s the envy of not only neighboring states, but the nation as well.

    This news might be troubling if we had trouble keeping the best & brightest Wisconsinites, let alone attracting new jobs & residents to our fine state.


  2. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    K12 schools have to do some reordering as student populations go down. Why do the schools have more admin and ancillary staff now than when they had twice as many kids in 1970??
    They need to cut 1/3 of admin staff.

  3. SteveM says:

    I get the impression that the previous two comments come from individuals who view education in the same light that Grover Norquist views local government- reduce it to the size where you drown it in a bathtub. The more they meddle the worse it gets. I wish they would direct their efforts at reducing the costs of medications and healthcare. Or saber rattling and the rush to war….there’s cost savings to be had there!

  4. Tim says:

    Haha, my earlier comment is a victim of Poe’s Law. It’s sad that it’s not obvious in this terrible political climate. Just to be clear, every statement in my earlier comment is a lie.

    As for WCD, he’s just dangerous in how he’d shred democracy and basic human rights if it meant the GOP pulled ahead slightly in the polls.

    By the way, WI spending on schools is pretty average with about 20 states spending more.

  5. mots says:

    Scott Walker, Scott Fitzgerald, and Robin Vos the three stooges of Wisconsin politics. These three will go down in history as the three biggest disasters that ever held office in Wisconsin. We’re fortunate to have a state right next door in Minnesota that has taken the exact opposite direction in priorities. We have a benchmark for comparison purposes. The period of the three republican stooges will be looked upon as the dark days of Wisconsin politics and progress. Eventually Wisconsinites will wake up and vote these three out of office.

  6. Gary says:

    mots types: “Scott Walker, Scott Fitzgerald, and Robin Vos the three stooges of Wisconsin politics … The period of the three republican stooges will be looked upon as the dark days of Wisconsin politics and progress …”

    I like to consider them alongside Wisconsin’s Senator Joseph McCarthy who helped to fuel another dark period of Wisconsin history.

  7. JayS says:

    What is Wisconsin’s total spending level, in dollars, per student compared to other States? And, how do we compare in student achievement levels? Have our achievement levels declined from the pre-Governor Doyle days;Doyle started the cutbacks and Walker continued on this path. The percentage cuts, without an absolute data set, really don’t tell us very much.

  8. Vincent Hanna says:

    Total spending per pupil for elementary/secondary education after amounts are adjusted for inflation (FY 2013). At about $11,000, Wisconsin ranks right in the middle.


    That was easy to find. Might take a bit more time to find student achievement levels from Doyle to Walker.

  9. Vincent Hanna says:

    From 2013, regarding student achievement

    The National Assessment of Education Progress showed Wisconsin students overall continue to do well in math; for 2013, the state ranked in the top one-third nationally. But reading scores overall were flat, sitting right at the national average — and virtually the same as they were more than 20 years ago.


  10. AG says:

    Even after the taxpayer savings of the last few years, Wisconsin still spends in the top half of the country for dollars per pupil even though we’re in the lower half of cost of living. Our teachers are paid towards the high end for salary after adjusting for COL. I’m not saying we should make more cuts, but the sky isn’t falling and cutting some salary and benefit spending was a good way to keep from laying off a lot of teachers during the recession.

  11. A busdriver says:

    Fourth in the dumbing down of America.

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