Across the Northwoods
- New funding numbers released by the Wisconsin Department of Instruction released Tuesday show most schools in the Northwoods will see a reduction in state funding for the 2014-15 school year.
School districts in Rhinelander, Wabeno, Minocqua, Mercer, Phelps, White Lake, Elcho, Tomahawk and Three Lakes will lose more than 15 percent of their state funding compared to 2013-14 funding.
The school districts in Hurley, Laona, Butternut, Lac Du Flambeau and Prentice will see more funding.
Rural schools specifically struggle with shrinking enrollment and high transportation costs.
During a campaign stop Wednesday in Rhinelander, Gov. Scott Walker (R) said his reforms have given schools more flexibility.
"I think again, allowing to continually allow reforms to be used at the school district level overall will help school districts save on things like bidding out their health insurance and other changes have seen significant gains," Walker said.
Walker's critics argue he cut billions in school aid in 2011, more than 225 Wisconsin School districts will see increases in funding for the 2014-15 school year; 197 school districts will see reductions.
Leaders hope proposals from the Rural School Task force will help fix funding issues for schools in the Northwoods. The task force of bipartisan lawmakers toured the state interviewing district heads to learn how legislators could help.
"In the last budget, we included a significant increase for transportation aids for those very school districts," Walker said. "We'll be looking to do even more of that working with people like Representative (Rob) Swearingen and Senator (Tom) Tiffany and others in the next budget."
The legislature will take those proposals up during next year's session.
Walker was touring multiple areas across northern and central Wisconsin, Wednesday. He spoke to more than 250 people at a campaign event hosted by the Oneida County Republican Party.
For a full list of the DPI report, click the link below.
Written By: Adam Fox