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Platteville school budget situation may improve
State aid increases predicted
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The financial situation of the Platteville School District heading into the 2013–14 budget year may — underline may — be improving.

District superintendent Connie Valenza met with state Rep. Travis Tranel (R–Cuba City) and came out of the meeting more optimistic than she was two weeks ago about the school district’s prospects of getting more state aid next school year.

Valenza described the meeting as being a “good dialogue for me and for him. … He felt pretty strongly that there was going to be some sort of increase for schools” in state aid.

The original version of the 2013–15 state budget contained no increase in per-student aid. The Platteville School District stands to get more state aid because of increasing enrollment, but in February the school district estimated a deficit of nearly $70,000, before the addition of one to three teachers due to large class sizes in third through fifth grades, without increases in revenue caps.

Now, however, Valenza said “it felt pretty clear to me that the [state] budget as presented is not the budget that is going to be passed by the Assembly.”

An increase of $100 per student in state aid would swing the previous estimate of a $69,000 deficit into a $76,000 surplus, although, said Valenza, “the majority of that will get eaten up by that third-grade section that we have to have.”
Valenza said in February that the school district may also have to add sections in fourth and fifth grade because of enrollments that are “not optimal in terms of size.”

Another enrollment factor will be open enrollment into or out of the school district, the application deadline for which is April 30. The school board set a total limit of 53 open-enrollment slots in early February, ranging from zero in third and fourth grades to 12 in sixth grade. The school district gained 18 net open-enrollment students this school year.

The school board is projected to decide the 2013–14 budget and tax levy in August, with the school district annual meeting set for Aug. 26.

The school board is set to vote March 25 on issuing preliminary notices of nonrenewal of teacher contracts due to reductions in force — cutting teacher positions. Platteville teachers have until April 15 to return contracts for the 2013–14 school year. The school board will also vote May 28 on issuing “notices of assignment” to support staff.