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Analysis shows school districts using reforms fare much better than those that do not

Madison — Governor Scott Walker’s office today released data that shows the positive impact that the governor’s reforms have had on Wisconsin’s school districts.  The analysis shows that districts that utilized the governor’s reforms were more likely to hire new teachers, lower their tax levy, and prevent layoffs.

“Our reforms are getting positive results for taxpayers and students alike,” said Governor Walker.  “School districts that utilized our reforms are more likely to hire teachers and lower their tax levies than districts that have not.”

According to the most recent analysis, if all of the districts surveyed adopted the governor’s reforms more than an additional 950 teachers would have been hired this year. These hires just account for the 83% of districts that responded and does not include the additional teachers that would be hired in the remaining portion of the 17% that did not adopt the reforms.

The data shows that districts utilizing the governor’s reforms were able to hire 38 percent more teachers than districts that did not use the governor’s reforms.  Districts that used the reforms were able to hire 6.78 new teachers per thousand students, while districts that did not use the reforms were able to hire only 4.88 new teachers per thousand students.  School districts that used the governor’s reforms accounted for 32 percent of all teachers hired, even though only 20 percent of Wisconsin students attended schools in these districts. 

School districts utilizing the governor’s reforms were also able to avoid layoffs at a far greater rate than districts that did not use the governor’s reforms.  Districts that did not use the reforms accounted for 87 percent of all layoffs.

Yesterday data was released that showed the total K-12 tax levy for the state decreasing by over $47 million.  It was the first tax levy decrease in six years.  Over the last five years the tax levy, on average, increased by $181 million each year.  

A closer look at the data shows that school districts that implemented the governor’s reforms were more likely to decrease their property tax levies.

Of the 156 school districts operating without contracts and able to use the Governor’s reforms, 68.5 percent lowered their tax levy.  Another 3.8 percent kept the same tax levy as last year.  On the other hand, of the 268 school districts in a union contract, 42 percent increased their tax levy.  This means that school districts with union contracts accounted for 72 percent of school districts that increased their tax levy.

Previous analysis of a survey by the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators showed that Wisconsin schools have continued to be able to meet the needs of Wisconsin students.  The Department of Public Instruction released the data for a survey done by the Wisconsin Association of Schools District Administrators.  The administrators for 353 school districts responded, which accounts for 83% of Wisconsin school districts.  According to the results of the survey released last week, the school districts that responded and utilized the reforms put in place earlier this year mostly either stayed the same or were able to improve the educational opportunities available to their students. 

LFB Reference: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/lfb/2011-13%20Budget/2011_07_05%20property%20tax%20estimates.pdf

DPI Reference:  http://dpi.wi.gov/sfs/taxlevy.html

 

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