I am certain everyone is familiar with the legislative changes that occurred last spring in funding for Wisconsin schools. I, like many other administrators, remained quite concerned with how the cuts in funding would affect our school district. With reductions in many programs as well as reductions in state aid, the outlook last spring gave me reason for concern.
This year, despite receiving $234,473 less in state aid, we have a budget within reasonable parameters and are projecting a n enrollment of 461 students.
At the end of 2010-11 we transferred $40,000 from the fund balance for repairs to the track. It was expected we would need to access the fund balance for these repairs and would show a negative budget up to this amount.
New expenses this year’s budget include the purchase of a bus for $95,179. However, a DNR grant that will pay $23,794 of this cost. An expense we not anticipated was the need to replace the rooftop chiller. We were able to make repairs to keep it running until the end of the cooling season. The outlook suggests replacement at a cost of $22,000. Lastly, we have $55,000 for blacktopping the track. These items are included in the 2011-12 budget.
Staffing changes were made. An elementary teacher was shifted to a Title I position. The school nurse position was reduced to 15 hours per week, and Library Media Center Director Liz Bransky, will be shared with Boscobel.
On the revenue side, we qualified as a “high poverty aid” district. This will contribute $32,275 in new revenue reducing our tax levy. Most “Stimulus” funds are no longer available. Combined with the reduced state aid the overall result is lowered revenue.
The 2011-12 revenue is projected to be $5,606,015 compared to actual for 10-11 of $5,884,582.
Disbursements for the 2011-12 are $5,639,699 compared to actual last year of $5,843,324. The budget shows a deficit of $33,684 at this time. The tax levy should decline by 3.74 percent to a levy of $1,723,723. The anticipated mill rate at this time is 9.18 compared to 9.56 a year ago. The revenue limit is anticipated to be $4,604,046 compared to $4,872,006 last year, a decline.
This is the first year we are completely debt free, with all building loans and WRS debt completely paid, thanks to planning and foresight by the board.
I believe 2011-12 will be reasonably stable financially. However, the cumulative effect of the cuts in state aid, as projected, suggests we will experience increased deficit spending. This will force significant corrective measures in the future. It will be a focus of the board, as we move forward, like most school districts throughout our state.
Recent news stories indicate Wisconsin cut more dollars per student in state aid this year than any other state. The district will continue to monitor the effect on our long-term operations to ensure the well being of the school. It is obvious we must consider new options for revenue sources or consider additional reductions to programs and staffing. Your input and suggestions are always welcome. This district and community have made enormous strides to place the school on a stable financial foundation despite significant challenges. As we move forward, knowing we face these challenges together and we have your support and understanding is much appreciated by the school board and me.
The Annual Budget Hearing and Annual School District Meeting will be held on Monday, Sept. 26. The budget hearing will begin at 7:30 p.m. followed by the annual meeting. The 2011-2012 budget will be presented to the electorate along with a review of the actual revenue and expenses for fiscal year 2010-2011.
The notice of the Budget Hearing and the Annual School District Meeting has been published in the Crawford County Independent and Kickapoo Scout. This information can also be found on the school’s website at www.northcrawford.com.
-Dr. Dan Davies
North Crawford Schools