Because of legal challenges and the gradual nature of its implementation due to existing teacher contracts, we won’t have a comprehensive picture of the effects of Wisconsin’s Act 10 on per-pupil spending for a couple of years. What we do have are the figures just prior to the law taking effect, and they show a steady growth in spending, significantly beyond the national average.
Between 2006 and 2011, statewide per-pupil spending increased 18.1 percent, and compensation spending grew 18.8 percent. Among Wisconsin’s largest districts, spending hikes varied quite a bit. Madison and Eau Claire spent less than 10 percent more over those five years, while Milwaukee, Kenosha, Racine and Janesville all boosted spending by more than 24 percent. Milwaukee, the state’s largest district, is also by far the highest spending of Wisconsin’s 200 largest districts, at $14,244.
K-12 enrollment was down statewide and teacher staffing down even more. Wisconsin had 4.2 percent fewer teachers in 2011 than in 2006.