Eau Claire and Altoona districts handle receiving less general state aid

Eau Claire, WI (WEAU) -- Two area school districts are estimated to receive less general state aid for the coming school year than in years past. That's according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Eau Claire and Altoona school districts are seeing a significant decrease in aid payments
Altoona school district is looking at about a 6% drop in general aid and the Eau Claire school district is scheduled to receive an almost 4% state aid reduction but both districts are finding ways to help make up for the decrease.

Altoona superintendent Connie Biedron says decreases like this are difficult. Biedron says, "It's stressful because it's our kids and we want to do as much as we can for them. It's like a parent that wants to do as much as they can for their kids but they only have so much in their budget. It's the same way with our school."

Biedron says the decreases weren’t unexpected. Biedron says, “We knew that there would be some decrease this year because there's a complicated formula that they put together, so we budgeted accordingly that we'd have some less money. Of course, we've had less money every year for many years now, so we've gotten better at trying to do more with less, it's pretty hard.

Biedron says although there has been a loss in general aid over the years they haven't had to cut or lose programs. She says that's because the district gets creative and looks for money in other places.

Beidron says, “We're in this mode of being very ,very, very frugal and fiscally responsible and that just kind of continues. That's why we look for other sources of funding and grants, so we know what we want to do, and what's best for students and we try to make that happen.

Eau Claire superintendent Mary Ann Hardebeck says the school district finds ways to ensure the decreases don't impact students.

Hardebeck says, “We also do things like watch the amount of copies we make and the amount of printing that we consumer some of the materials that we publish, we look at the ways we distribute those. We look at professional development for teachers and the number of substitutes we might get.”

Hardebeck says the cost effective measures being taken can benefit all school districts. She says, “I think all school districts across the state are taking those measures and should be taking those measures so that we get the best value for our dollar.”

Hardebeck also says Eau Claire also saves by making sure it’s doing small cost effective practices, such as setting timers to shut off computers in order to conserve energy. And, while Eau Claire and Altoona districts will see a decrease, Chippewa Falls and Menomonie are anticipating a slight funding increase next school year.

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