UW-Madison Study Shows Impact of Walker’s Destructive Education Policies
The 2011-‐13 Wisconsin biennial budget (Act 32) reduced state aid to school districts by $792 million. This budget reduction follows a reduction of $284 million in the 2009-‐11 biennial budget, reducing overall state aid to public schools by more than a billion dollars.In addition to the reduction in general aid, Act 32 reduced the revenue limit in Wisconsin school districts by 5.5%, which is equivalent to an overall reduction in taxing authority of $1.6 billion in addition to the $792 million reduction in state aid. The lowered revenue cap requires that 241 of the state’s 424 school districts reduce school property taxes, exacerbating the impact of state budget cuts.iWisconsin boasts the highest high school graduation rates, the third highest ACT scores, the highest Advanced Placement success percentage of any Midwestern state, and high rates of highly qualified teachers.ii At the same time, the state has some of the largest achievement gaps for poor and minority students, and struggles to provide adequate funding for all school districts.By analyzing school district budgeted expenditures in the 30 highest and 30 lowest poverty districts in the state for 2011-‐12,iii this study examines the impact of Wisconsin Act 32 on education funding, teacher quality, student learning, and property taxpayers. Budget data collected by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction represent the best currently available estimates of the impact of Act 32 on district expenditures.