Several local schools are receiving sparsity aid, according to a release from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Sparsity aid was awarded in the 2014-15 school year to 133 school districts to help address the needs of rural schools. To receive funding, a district must have fewer than 725 students, less than 10 students per square mile, and more than 20 percent of its student population eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. State Superintendent Tony Evers said, “Rural schools face financial pressure from issues like declining enrollment, high numbers of economically disadvantaged students, and unstable property values that disproportionally affect their school funding.” This year’s aid will reach almost 57,000 students, which represents roughly 6.6 percent of total public school enrollment. The 2013-15 budget set the total allocation for sparsity aid at $13.54 million. Districts that met the criteria to be aided under the program were eligible for $17.091 million in funding. Due to the fact that allocated aid did not cover that amount, the Sept. 15 sparsity aid payments to school districts will be prorated at roughly 78.7 percent, or $236 per student. The per student amount is slightly less than the 2013-14 level of $237 per student (proration of 79.1 percent), causing a small loss in funding for districts that received sparsity aid last year and again qualified in 2014-15. “Sparsity aid is one of many efforts being made to assist our rural schools,” said Evers. “I will continue to work with my Rural Schools Advisory Council and interested partners throughout Wisconsin to pursue ways in which we can help support our rural schools and the communities they serve.”

The school districts are:

  • Hillsboro – $118,546
  • Ithaca – $79,582
  • Kickapoo Area – $110,989
  • LaFarge – $61,634
  • Necedah – $166,484
  • New Lisbon – $150,898
  • Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton – $168,373
  • Royall – $156,566
  • Wonewoc-Center – $87,374

Contributed by the DPI