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 400+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.
Census School District Reference Maps
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? 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
The local Land Information Officer will be the best choice for single districts, or all districts in a county. For statewide digital data, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) GIS Resources page also has downloadable boundary files available, but these may not be as current as information available from county or municipal sources.