Neillsville School District, Wisconsin
|Transparency grading process|
- Main article: Evaluation of Wisconsin school district websites
- Names of administrators and instructional staff posted with telephone and email contact information posted on website.
- Names and full contact information for school board members posted on website.
- Schedule of school board meetings posted on website.
- Policy on publication of school board meeting agendas and minutes in the district newsletter and broadcast on the school cable TV channel is discussed on website. 
- The District Policy Manual is posted on the website.
- Link to the WSD Performance report is posted on website 
- School board members contact information (telephone and email) is available to the public.
- Application for employment requires candidates to undergo background checks.
- Staff contracts and negotiations are not posted on website.
The Neillsville school district website contains absolutely no information or link to information on its budget or tax levies. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction website provides data on district activity for the FY 2009-2010 budget report. It is explained that this Internet "portal" will be used by school districts to report all school finance related data to the School Financial Services Team of WDPI. The status and due dates page for the Neillsville school district indicates several reports are overdue and other required financial reports will soon be due. However, even when WDPI receives and posts these reports, the data will be accessible only to those who can enter a DPI-assigned ID and password, not the general public.
This WDPI website explains that "Wisconsin public school districts levy property taxes each year. On or before November 1, every public school board must approve the levy amounts necessary to operate and maintain district schools (s.120.12(3) Wis. Stats.), and the amounts necessary to meet any irrepealable tax obligations (s.120.12(4) Wis. Stats.). School district property taxes include levies for the general operations, debt service, capital expansion, and community services funds." However, even when the WDPI receives and posts this data, access will be password protected.
For fiscal year 2008-2009, $7.74 was levied in property tax for every $1,000 of equalized property value, a decrease of 0.90% over fiscal year 2007-2008.
The school board is comprised of a superintendent and "such other officers as the legislature shall direct." The superintendent is appointed by the state legislature in the same manner as members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The superintendent can hold office for 4 years. According to the state constitution the board of education may not prevent a non−union teacher from speaking of a bargaining issue at an open meeting, as was ruled in the U.S. Supreme Court case Madison School District v. Wisconsin Employment Commission.
Below are the school district board members:
|School board member|
|Rick Opelt, President|
|Dewey Poeschel, Vice President|
|Peggy Grap, Treasurer|
|Deanna Heiman, Clerk|
- Note: Information about the current contract in Neillsville is not disclosed on its website.
The Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) helps to negotiate contracts with the teacher's union, the Education Association of Wisconsin. The website for WASB pitches "professional" assistance on collective bargaining agreements, policies, salary ranges and fringe benefit data as well as past court information.
Annually, WASB publishes its current legislative agenda, which it separates into state and federal issues.
The largest concern at the state level is financing for the schools. WASB noted that the state budget deficit is $5.4 billion, which is near the total spending on education in the state. Therefore WASB asked that the state renew its commitment to paying 2/3 of the education costs in the state without raising property taxes, as they increased on an average of 4.9 percent between 2000 and 2005. In 2007, the school property taxes rose to 7.4 percent, which was the highest since 1992-3.
For state aid and funds WASB asks for:
- Coverage of 33 percent of the costs for bilingual-bicultural programs
- Full state funding for special education programs
- Funding to reduce the achievement gap between low income children and other children
- Fully funding the existing "sparsity aid" program
Other aspects of the money constraints include the declining enrollment of students which is placing many school boards into tight budgets. As such they are proposing:
- School boards be allowed to increase their revenues by 2 percent about current limits
- Set the low-revenue ceiling at 100 percent of the statewide average cost per pupil
- Extend the hold-harmless revenue limit adjustment for two more years (currently one year)
The WASB also calls for a more individualized assessment of students than the current Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination (WKCE) and online testing.
Below are the administrative staff members and their 2010 pay:
|Full Name||Position Title||Prorated Salary||Prorated Fringe|
|John Gaier||District Administrator||$90, 450.00||$42,346.00|
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction provides a SDPR (School District Performance Report) for each district, which tracks achievement test results (grades 3, 4, 8 and 10), ACT and AP exam scores, retention rates, attendance, dropouts and truancy, among other measures.
The below chart shows the number of students in Neillsville who scored advanced or proficient in each subject for 2009-2010, with the statewide figure in parentheses:
|Grade||Reading||Language Arts||Mathematics||Science||Social Studies|
|3rd grade||84.9% (79.2%)||-||-||-||-|
|4th grade||85.9% (81.4%)||85.9% (77.3%)||84.5% (80.5%)||90.1% (77.0%)||95.8% (92.5%)|
|8th grade||95.5% (84.0%)||70.1% (64.5%)||70.1% (78.0%)||89.6% (80.0%)||82.1% (80.8%)|
|10th grade||84.9% (76.3%)||64.4% (68.3%)||76.7% (69.8%)||80.8% (71.6%)||82.2% (74.7%)|
The below chart shows ACT and Advanced Placement test results for 2008-2009:
|Test||Number of Students Tested||Percentage of Students Tested||Composite Score (ACT)||Pass Percentage (AP)|
"Wisconsin's inter-district public school open enrollment program allows parents to apply for their children to attend school districts other than the one in which they reside." All students may apply to attend a different school district outside of their resident area. While they can request to attend a specific school, assignment to that school is not guaranteed even if their application is accepted, as the students apply to the school district, and not individual schools.
Students may also apply to attend virtual charter schools through open enrollment by applying to the non-resident district in which the virtual charter operates. However, Wisconsin state law "limits the number of students that may attend virtual charter schools under the open enrollment program." Students may be placed on a waiting list for virtual charter schools.
- Neillsville school district
- Wisconsin Association of School Boards
- Wisconsin department of public instruction
- Neillsville School District - Education.com
- Neillsville School District - GreatSchools.org
- Schools in Neillsville School District - School Digger
- ↑ Adminstrator and instructional staff
- ↑ School board members contact info.
- ↑ School board meetings
- ↑ Publication of school board agenda
- ↑ District policy manual
- ↑ Performance report
- ↑ School board contact information
- ↑ Background checks
- ↑ Budget
- ↑ Taxes
- ↑ Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instruction, School Finance Data Warehouse, School District Profiles
- ↑ Wisconsin Constitution,"Article 10, Section 1," retrieved July 9, 2009
- ↑ Wisconsin Constitution,"Article 1, Section 3," retrieved July 13, 2009
- ↑ School board
- ↑ WASB, Employment and Labor Law services
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 Wisconsin Association of School Boards: Legislative Agenda, accessed October 22, 2013
- ↑ Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Statistical Information Center - School Staff and Salary Data
- ↑ Wisconsin District and School Performance Reports
- ↑ 2009-2010 Wisconsin School District Performance Report
- ↑ 2008-2009 Wisconsin School District Performance Report
- ↑ Public School Open Enrollment
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 Basic Information about Open Enrollment Frequently Asked Questions