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School Board hears about preliminary budget numbers
North Crawford
North Crawford

NORTH CRAWFORD - The North Crawford School Board was provided with preliminary numbers for the 2022-2023 school year by Superintendent Brandon Munson at their meeting on September 21. Final budget numbers won’t be available until the State of Wisconsin announces aid to school districts on October 15. The North Crawford annual meeting is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 24, 6 p.m.

“The budget I’m currently estimating will be for $6.9 million in revenue and $6.9 million in expenses,” Munson told the board. “Expenses are down in the projections due to staff having left that have not been replaced, and revenue is down due to the fact that there will be no more federal COVID relief dollars coming in to the district.”

Munson explained that 57 percent of expenses ($4.66 million) are for staff salaries and benefits. These numbers are down from the 2021-2022 budget by $60,000 in salaries and $61,000 in benefits. Last year, it took $450,000 of the federal COVID aid to balance the budget.

“We will make a transfer from our general fund, Fund 10, to our special education funds, Fund 27 of about $777,000,” Munson said. “Even though school districts receive funding for students in special education, that funding is never sufficient to cover the costs of educating our special education students.”

Student Services Director Cara Wood noted that there are a lot of misconceptions about the amounts of revenue school districts receive for special education students. Munson clarified that the amount North  Crawford receives per special education student is $13,076.

Board member Jerry Coleman queried Munson about what kind of revenue loss open enrollment out of the district represents for the district. Munson responded that for each student who open enrolls out, the district pays $8,224, and conversely receives the same from other districts when students open enroll in.

“Department of Public Instruction has sent their biennial budget proposal to the Governor,” Munson told the board. “In that budget, they propose increasing special education funding by 40 percent in the first year of the budget, and 50 percent in the second year.”

Referendum meetings

Munson reported that attendance had been low at the first of the community meetings to provide information and answer questions about the upcoming referendums on the November 8 election ballot. He said that in order to reach more people, the final two meetings will take place in Soldiers Grove and Gays Mills.

The dates and time of those meetings will be as follows:

• Wednesday, October 5: Gays Mills Community Commerce Center, big meeting room, 6–7:30 p.m.

• Wednesday, October 26: Soldiers Grove Fire House, 6–7:30 p.m.

At the first of the three meetings, held on September 14, Baird Financial Services had provided more refined estimates of what the cost to property tax payers on a property with equalized value of $100,000 would be. That amount is $75 for the operating revenue referendum, and $133 for the building maintenance/debt service referendum, for a total of $208 per year per $100,000 of equalized property value.

Participants at the meeting were told that the distric’ts current mil rate, the amount of taxes on $1,000 of equalized valuation property, is currently $7.77, and if both referendums were approved, would increase to $9.85. The state average mil rate is $8.35.

Transportation needs

During his report, Munson told the board that the district currently runs five regular morning/afternoon school bus routes. For those routes, the district owns four newer propane buses, and one aging diesel bus.

“Switching to propane has saved the district money,” Munson said. “The problem is that propane refueling stations aren’t as easy to find as stations supplying diesel fuel, and this has limited the district’s range for trips using the propane buses.”

Munson said that the district needs to plan now to replace one of their aging fleet of diesel buses with a new propane bus, a cost of about $115,000. He said that the new bus needs to be acquired quite soon, but that ultimately, the district needs to get back on track with a regular bus replacement schedule.

Munson also said that the district is in great need of bus drivers. He said that middle school/high school principal Rob Sailer has continued to drive a regular bus route.

In other business

In other business, the board:

• learned that there had been dramatic improvements in the number of elementary students in the district who are low risk or exceeding standards, and a corresponding reduction in students who are at some risk or high risk

• learned that district ‘response to intervention’ staff, collaborating with classroom teachers, have started using WIN time, where all students receive extra practice, targeted interventions or extension activities in math and reading

• learned that middle school/high school students will begin to use ‘individual learning plans’ this school year, which encourages students to take ownership of their own goals

• heard that the football record was 3-1, volleyball 4-2, and that cross country had had many top finishes

 • heard that 4K students had been out and about to many different venues establishing community connections, with middle school students travelling to the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, and FFA students participating in both the Crawford and Vernon County Fairs

• heard that Student Services had been successful in a ‘Transition Readiness’ grant application, that will bring $25,000 in to the district, allowing for purchase of a van and training of educators

• heard that supplies are still an issue for the foodservice program, but had improved compared to the last school year

• heard that due to a leak in the roof, repairs to the floor in the small gym would likely cost the district about $50,000 to repair

• heard that a leak in the roof had caused extensive damage to insulation and ducts in the cafeteria area that would need to be repaired as soon as possible

• approved field trip requests for band, Spanish Club and Washington D.C.

• approved hiring Jeff Welsh as an evening custodian

• approved  Emily Hanson as a volunteer with the volleyball program, and Andy Marshall as a volunteer in Mr. Ladwig’s fifth grade classroom

• modified the handbook language regarding staff substitute pay to reflect that a teacher asked to sub for an absent teacher would receive $30 per clock hour for each extra class or study hall period, assuming it creates an overload situation

• modified the handbook language regarding elementary teachers who are asked to combine sections to reflect that they will receive $120 per day, or a prorated amount depending on the amount of the day they are asked to teach a combined section.