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$300,000 cut in Platteville schools possible
Proposed state budget cuts aid, doesnt raise revenue cap
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One week ago, UW–Platteville representatives warned of large budget cuts if the 2015–17 state budget proposed by Gov. Scott Walker was enacted into law in its initial proposed form.

One week later, a similar statement is being made by Platteville Public Schools administrators.

School district superintendent Connie Valenza told the School Board Monday night that the combination of the proposed decrease in state aid and keeping the per-pupil revenue cap at its present level could mean the school district would have to cut up to $300,000 in the next school year — almost 1.9 percent of the school district’s projected 2015--16 budget, projected at $15.9 million under the proposed revenue caps.

That depends, however, on “if it goes through as proposed,” she said. “If it results in zero increase to the revenue cap, that would result in difficulties financially for the school district.”

The proposed budget would eliminate $218,000 in categorical aid, $150 per pupil, which the school district has received this and the previous school year. The school district would get $165 per student in a different form categorical aid in the 2016–17 school year, but the net loss would be $135 per student over the 2015–16 and 2016–17 school years, Valenza said.

Meanwhile, the proposed state budget also maintains the current per-student revenue cap over the next two school years. The revenue cap increased $150 per student during the 2013–15 state budget cycle, which allowed the school district to increase its tax levy.

The limits on state aid and allowable spending clash with potential required spending increases, such as health insurance, staffing levels, employee compensation, transportation, utilities and supplies, Valenza said.

Valenza is proposing to prioritize spending items in case the $300,000 budget cut is needed, along with delaying recommendations on compensation, retirement benefits, and insurance contributions for school district employees.

The 2015–17 budget also removes the cap on enrollment in the state private-school voucher program. The program would take state funding, about $7,000 per student, out of the school district’s state aid and put it into a fund to be “divided up among all students who are looking to leave” their public school, Valenza said.

The 2015–17 budget also allows people who don’t have teaching licenses to teach in sixth through 12th grade, although, Valenza said, school districts would not be required to hire alternative-certification teachers.