A new data report shows that Wisconsin schools spend almost half their revenue on overhead with only 54 percent actually going toward classroom instruction. The release demonstrates how little of the $6 billion in annual state education funding actually makes it to the classroom.
The figures come from the 2016-17 school year and are the most recent numbers available from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI). That year, the state average “cost per member,” or amount of money that districts spend on each student, was $13,182.
Taxpayers may be surprised to learn that just a slim majority of all K-12 education spending reaches the classroom. An average of $7,122 goes toward classroom instruction of each student. The largest part of instruction costs is the salaries and benefits of classroom teachers, teaching anything from reading and math to physical education.
If top-heavy overhead were reduced, the teachers doing the vast majority of meaningful work in schools could perhaps be better compensated. Instead, the many secondary and tertiary roles schools have taken on directly compete with the primary reason for schools’ existence: educating children.