A report released by the national Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) puts Wisconsin dangerously close to the bottom of states in cuts to per-student spending─eighth deepest in the nation since the start of the recession. And the bad news doesn’t stop there. The reduction in our spending per student was the fourth largest nationally when measured in actual dollar terms.
What does this actually mean? Wisconsin’s investment in K-12 schools is 13.7 percent below 2008 levels, which indicates we’ve made deeper cuts than at least 40 other states. This comes on top of over 20 years of revenue limits on public schools that have squeezed budgets and dismantled opportunities for Wisconsin students.
All over the country the recession produced a dramatic drop in state revenue. Instead of dealing with budget shortfalls with a balanced approach that includes new revenues, however, Wisconsin relied very heavily on cutting essential state services, especially education. This practice, according to the study, has both “undermined educational reform and … and hindered the ability of school districts to deliver high quality education.” It makes our schools less competitive with other countries at the exact time we are trying to produce workers with the skills to master new technologies and adapt to the complex global economy.
To read more about the state of U.S. schools and how cutting education undermines our future prosperity as a nation see the full report.