Class Sizes Rise as Wisconsin Slips Toward Average in School Spending


August 30, 2011

As Wisconsin children strap on their backpacks to begin a new school year, the quality of the schools they are returning to may not be as high as those attended by their older siblings a decade ago. A new analysis by the Wisconsin Budget Project finds that state aid for our schools has declined since 2000 and student-to-teacher ratios have increased.

Once a national leader in educational investment and performance, state support has eroded to the point where Wisconsin now ranks close to the national average in key measures of support for education. The steep cuts in support for K-12 education in the 2011-13 biennial budget continue, and probably accelerate, that decade-long trend.

According to the Budget Project’s analysis of the most current national spending data covering the period 2000 through 2009, Wisconsin’s per-student state aid decreased by 10 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars. On the other hand, support from local sources – primarily property taxes – has climbed by 21 percent since 2000, in inflation adjusted dollars. Read full press release.