Wisconsin school districts

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K-12 Education in Wisconsin
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Education facts
State Superintendent: Tony Evers
Number of students: 871,105[1]
Number of teachers: 56,245
Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:15.5
Number of school districts: 462
Number of schools: 2,243
Graduation rate: 88%[2]
Per-pupil spending: $11,774[3]
See also
Wisconsin Department of Public InstructionList of school districts in WisconsinWisconsinSchool boards portal
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Education policy project
Public education in the United States
Public education in Wisconsin
Glossary of education terms
Note: The statistics on this page are mainly from government sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Education Statistics. Figures given are the most recent as of June 2014, with school years noted in the text or footnotes.

Wisconsin is home to 462 school districts, 2,243 schools and 871,105 K-12 students.[4]

Quick facts

State school administrators

  • State Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony Evers[5]
  • Deputy State Superintendent: Michael Thompson
  • Assistant State Superintendent, Academic Excellence: Sheila Briggs
  • Assistant State Superintendent, Finance and Management: Brian Pahnke
  • Assistant State Superintendent, Learning Support: Carolyn Stanford Taylor
  • Assistant State Superintendent, Libraries and Technology: Kurt Kiefer
  • Assistant State Superintendent, Student and School Success: Lynette Russell
  • Chief of Staff: Jessica Justman
  • Chief Legal Counsel: Janet Jenkins
  • Communications Director: John Johnson
  • Senior Policy Adviser: Jeff Pertl


See also: Demographic information for all students in all 50 states

The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Wisconsin as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.[6]

Demographic Information for Wisconsin's K-12 Public School System
Ethnicity Students State Percentage United States Percentage**
American Indian 11,277 1.29% 1.10%
Asian 30,742 3.53% 4.68%
African American 85,495 9.81% 15.68%
Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. Students 665 0.08% 0.42%
Hispanic 84,561 9.71% 24.37%
White 642,176 73.72% 51.21%
Two or More 16,189 1.86% 2.54%
**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.

In the news

Districts opt out of federal nutrition program

Several Wisconsin districts opted out of the National School Lunch Program in spring 2014 due to disagreements with changes in school nutrition guidelines. The program, run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recently adopted new guidelines for school lunches that reduce salt, fat and sugar content. These guidelines were created by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and supported by first lady Michelle Obama, who has advocated for improved nutritional programs. The federal lunch program requires adherence to nutritional guidelines to receive financial assistance.[7]

District administrators in Muskego-Norway School District and Waterford Graded School District withdrew from the National School Lunch Program as a reaction to the new guidelines. A district working outside of the program must pay for free or reduced-fee lunches, but superintendents in the withdrawn districts believe they will be in better financial positions. Waterford Grade Superintendent Christopher Joch argued that the costs associated with free lunches will be recovered by raising lunch prices by a dime and eliminating wasted food that meets stricter nutritional standards. Muskego-Norway school board member Rick Petfalski also suggested that districts want greater local control over nutritional programs.[7]

Lawsuit over teachers' contract in Kenosha

In November 2013, the Kenosha Board of Education agreed to a new contract with the Kenosha Education Association (KEA) by a 4-3 vote. This agreement with the teachers' union drew attention because collective bargaining over public employee salaries is limited by state law under Act 10. This 2011 law also prohibits employers from withdrawing involuntary contributions to public employee unions from wages. The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), a conservative legal aid organization, and Kristi Lacroix attempted to block the contract in court after the board vote. The WILL argued that the contract exceeded salary increase limits in Act 10. District officials countered that teachers were given one-time bonuses rather than salary increases under the agreement.[8]

A 4-3 vote by the board during a June 5, 2014 meeting settled the lawsuit with WILL by paying $10,500 in legal fees. This settlement also nullified the 2013 agreement with the KEA.[9]

School board elections

Upcoming elections

See also: Wisconsin school board elections, 2014

A total of 11 Wisconsin school districts among America's largest school districts by enrollment held elections in 2014 for 30 seats. Each district held elections on April 1, 2014.

Here are several quick facts about Wisconsin's school board elections in 2014:

The districts listed below served 169,027 K-12 students during the 2010-2011 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.[10] Click on the district names for more information on the district and its school board elections.

2014 Wisconsin School Board Elections
District Date Seats up for election Total board seats Student enrollment
Appleton Area School District 4/1/2014 3 7 15,194
Eau Claire Area School District 4/1/2014 2 7 10,914
Green Bay Area Public School District 4/1/2014 2 7 20,376
Janesville School District 4/1/2014 3 9 10,339
Kenosha Unified School District 4/1/2014 2 7 22,986
Madison Metropolitan School District 4/1/2014 2 7 24,806
Oshkosh Area School District 4/1/2014 3 7 10,111
Racine Unified School District 4/1/2014 4 9 21,100
Sheboygan Area School District 4/1/2014 3 9 10,124
Waukesha School District 4/1/2014 3 9 13,796
West Allis-West Milwaukee School District 4/1/2014 3 9 9,281

Path to the ballot

To qualify for the ballot as a school board candidate in Wisconsin, a person must be:[11]

  • 18 years of age or older
  • A resident of the district for at least 10 days before the election

Each candidate submits a Campaign Registration Statement and a Declaration of Candidate to the school district clerk. State law also requires a minimum number of signatures from district residents to qualify candidates for the ballot. The signature threshold is divided into three categories:[11]

  • First-class cities: 400-800 valid signatures
  • Second-class cities: 100-200 valid signatures
  • Other cities with no overlap in first-class or second-class cities: 20-100 valid signatures

Campaign finance

State law allows candidates to claim exempt status from campaign finance reporting if contributions and expenditures do not exceed $1,000 during a calendar year.[12]

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
  2. ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
  3. United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
  4. United States Department of Education, "2012 EDFacts State Profile," accessed August 8, 2013
  5. Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, "State Superintendent's Cabinet," accessed June 13, 2014
  6. United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Some districts balk at latest serving of school lunch rules," July 1, 2014
  8. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Kenosha schools, teachers union at odds over deducting union dues," February 11, 2014
  9. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Kenosha School Board settles lawsuit over Act 10 dispute," June 6, 2014
  10. National Center for Education Statistics, "Elementary/Secondary Information System," accessed March 21, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Ballot Access Checklist," accessed January 24, 2014
  12. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Campaign Finance Overview: Local Candidates," May 2010