UPDATE: ECASD responds to news about decrease in state aid - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: ECASD responds to news about decrease in state aid

Eau Claire (WQOW) - Cuts in state aid have some local school districts going back to the budgeting board. The Wisconsin Department of Education released its general aid estimate for districts Tuesday.

Wednesday, WQOW News 18 looked into how this affects districts in the area, and the Eau Claire Area School District is taking a significant hit.  The district will be getting $2.3 million less in state aid this year, than last.

"We're always concerned when we see those cuts," explains Dr. Mary Ann Hardebeck, the Eau Claire Area School District Superintendent. "So that's a significant amount of money. The funding is very important because it represents the general fund from which the school district operates."  

Which is $125 million per year, not all of it comes from the state. Hardebeck says, "We also have some federal grants and we have the categorical aid for students, so that all plays into your aid for students as well."

The district says it will look everywhere it can before making any cuts that will impact students or employees. "In education you're in a people dependent business so the majority of your costs are really in your employment costs, salaries and benefits and the number of people that you have to have to operate the school system. Most of our employees directly service students so that's the last place we want to look," explains Hardebeck.  

The district says as of now, it isn't sure if making up the difference will fall on the backs of taxpayers.  "We have a budget process that will take us through and we'll be transparent to the public. And when we have to make cuts they'll know where those cuts are coming from," says Hardebeck.

The state pays for over half of Eau Claire’s school budget.  But other schools, like Lake Holcombe, rely less on state aid which means the cuts won't hurt them as much. It's possible local property taxes will have to go up to make up the difference.

It's up to each school district to make that decision, again, Eau Claire still hasn't decided.

About half of the state's districts did see an increase, including Chippewa Falls. It will get about a half a million dollars more this year.

If you'd like to take a look at other districts, click here


(WQOW)-The Eau Claire Area School District is losing more than $2.3 million in state aid from last year.

According to preliminary estimates, that dollar figure is more than any other district in the state. Meanwhile most school districts will receive more. The State Department of Public Instruction says about $4.4 billion will be distributed to schools this year.

More than 50% of districts will receive more aid this year, compared to last year. Chippewa Falls will receive over a half million more than last year and Altoona will lose over $600,000

Click here for a full list of schools.

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