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Wisconsin per-pupil spending falls below U.S. average

Altoona (WQOW) - Wisconsin has been falling behind in education spending growth for the last two decades. Now, the state's per-pupil spending has dropped below the national average.

The report was released earlier this week by the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum. The data is from 2018. The last year which census data is available.

It shows Wisconsin is ranked 24th in the nation in per-pupil spending.

The state has seen an increase in education spending in the last decade, but has failed to keep up with the nationwide per-pupil spending which has grown by 23 percent.

The report cites changes in staff benefits and school aid cuts in response to budget shortfalls as likely reasons.

Dr. Heidi Eliopoulos, superintendent of the Altoona schools, says the pandemic is magnifying the deficits.

"If we are having students learn from home, part of that is accessibility ensuring that they have technology devices," Eliopoulos said. "All of these things come with an additional cost when budgets already are fairly lean for schools. We're adding on important, additional responsibilities that come with costs."

Eliopoulos also says that's why many districts rely on community partners, which help meet their financial goals.

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