School District Maps Print
By Jim Lacy   

One of the more common questions we get at the SCO is “Where do I find ‘the’ school district map of Wisconsin?” The reality is the majority of the 426 school districts in the state don’t have a detailed, up-to-date map showing their exact boundaries in a digital format. They typically maintain the location of their school district boundaries using hard copy maps and/or some other format the district deems appropriate.

Currently, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) does not maintain or make available detailed maps of Wisconsin school districts.

Census School District Reference Maps


Example of a Census school district map for northeastern
Dane County, WI.

The U.S. Census Bureau maintains school district reference maps for the entire U.S. Visit their site and you can download PDF-format maps.

While the Census maps are very detailed and easy to obtain, we encourage you to proceed with caution. Why? In Wisconsin, the U.S. Census Bureau obtains school district boundary updates directly from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. As noted earlier, DPI currently does not maintain detailed district boundaries, therefore DPI provides only very generalized information to the U.S. Census Bureau. So what? While the Census maps show very detailed boundaries down to the street level, the reality is these boundaries can be "off" by many hundreds of feet in some cases.

Other Advice?

  1. Parents or realtors seeking school district maps should contact the school district(s)—but call, don’t spend a lot of time browsing their site looking for a map because you probably won’t find one. When looking for parcel-level information, it’s always best to verify the information through county tax records available on county Web sites.
  2. For maps showing the extent of a school district, check the county land information Web site. Understand, of course, that school districts commonly cross county boundaries.
  3. Use the Census school district maps, but with the understanding they are appropriate for regional views, not parcel-level detail (e.g., “In which district is my client’s new house located?”

Looking for digital data?

If they have it, the local Land Information Officer will be the best choice for single districts, or all districts in a county. For statewide digital data, the only option is Census TIGER data, easily available through the Wisconsin Legislative Technology Services Bureau. No state agency in Wisconsin is currently maintaining detailed, county-generated school district data in a GIS-friendly format.

Last Updated on May 01, 2013
 
Tags: Wisconsin MapsSchool Districts


Wisconsin State Cartographer's Office
University of Wisconsin-Madison
384 Science Hall
550 N. Park Street
Madison, WI 53706-1491
www.sco.wisc.edu