New Study Documents Negative Impact of Revenue Controls
School district revenue controls are forcing officials to make cuts
that are having a negative impact on the quality of education, according
to the sixth annual survey of state superintendents.
In this years survey by WEAC and the Wisconsin Association of School
District Administrators, districts said about half the cuts resulting
from revenue controls are negative or very negative
This years survey went a step further than past surveys, which
asked superintendents what type of budget cuts were being made as the
result of revenue controls. This year, they were asked to rate the impact
of the cuts on education.
The results reflect those of past years by indicating that revenue controls
are continuing to force school districts throughout the state to make
budget cuts. This years survey indicates that many of these cuts
are indeed having a negative impact on the quality of education.
On average, districts made 11.2 cuts in 1998-99, and superintendents
rated 52% of them negative or very negative. That
means that, on average, revenue controls forced the typical district to
make five to six cuts that harmed the quality of education. That is on
top of a series of budget cuts made over the previous five years since
revenue controls have been having an impact.
Cuts most perceived as negative included:
- Delaying or reducing building maintenance or improvement projects.
- Delaying or reducing the purchase of computers and other technology.
- Delaying or reducing the hiring of new staff.
- Delaying or reducing the purchase of textbooks and curricular materials.
- Increasing administrator workloads.
- Offering fewer staff development opportunities for teachers.
- Using the fund balance to support the budget.
- Limiting programs for students who are at risk and for gifted and
- Offering fewer field trips for students.
- Increasing class sizes.
The other major finding of this years survey is that in about two-thirds
of districts (65%), revenue caps have resulted in cuts in programs and
services that are extensive enough to be causing conflicts or disagreements
between regular and special education teachers over the use of resources.
In comments attached to the survey, many districts expressed growing
frustration over this battle for shrinking resources. In one district,
it was reported that the priority given to special education funding has
created a general attitude of resentment from staff, students
and parents, and a draining of funds for other programs.
A third major finding from this years survey is that districts
have been compensating for reduced resources by increasing student fees,
which have risen about 60% over the last five years.
Posted February 23, 2000