Welcome..... Wissup??


Copyright (c) 2009 Ginny Maziarka. All rights reserved.

Friday, October 2, 2009

West Bend School Board levies an opinion

The School District sent this out to the press today.  See next post for cut recommendations in detail.

To:                   Board of Education, Leadership, Staff & Media
From:               Pat Herdrich
Re:                   Proposed reductions for Current Year and next year
Date:               October 2, 2009


As you know, the community did not pass the levy recommendation at the annual meeting.  For the 2009-10 school year, we removed $2 million dollars from the budget prior to forwarding the levy.  The levy recommendation was to bring us to the levy cap.  The levy increase is estimated from a 9.9% to a 12% levy increase.  The areas for the final percentage are still coming in at this time and will not be available until mid October. 

Next year, we again are impacted by the decrease in state aid. That will be the 4th year in a row.  We hold enrollments stable when we frame the budget planning for next year because we do not want to count on student enrollment in advance of the head count being finalized.  Based on the net loss in open enrollment, and the reductions in programming we are proposing, we are anticipating that open enrollment loss will continue and could accelerate.

We remain the lowest spending district in Southeastern Wisconsin, and among the lowest spending school districts in the state.  We are rank among the top 7% of districts in the state for fiscal responsibility. We have been efficient because of large schools, low staffing ratios, and shared programming. 

We cannot absorb the reduction in aid without again impacting programming. 

Reducing the levy cap does have long-term implications.

Key Areas Impacting the System:

  • This is the 15th and 16th year of the Revenue Limits, low spending system, & program reductions
  • We have gained in enrollment and cut staffing/programming
  • Decrease in State Aid (Last two biennial budgets have impacted our state aid)
  • Low revenue district; Large System
  • Programming is Valued within this Community
    • We spend like a rural school district, but our community wants programming that is similar to that provided in Southeastern Wisconsin
      • Advanced Placement & honors programming
      • Orchestra & programming in the arts
      • Co-curricular & athletic opportunities
  • Shift of aid reduction onto the local tax levy remains the community concern
  • Impact of the QEO being lifted legislatively (no salary cap remains for teachers)
  • Impact of required binding arbitration (we benchmark low)
  • Impact of legislative requirement to bargain prep time
  • Impact of 20 standards legislatively required for programming
  • Impact of cumulative effect of the revenue cap not keeping pace with the costs
  • Long term impact of going below the levy limit on future decision making
    • Arbitration loss (demonstrating capacity to pay and failing to do so)
    • Creating a larger gap in levy impact
      • If we under levy this year and try and recapture that next year the increase at a minimum would likely be a 15% levy increase
      • We will never recapture the loss
  • All stimulus dollars will be gone by 2011-12 creating a greater state deficit
  • If the funding formula does not change, we will continue to be compromised and impact programming even further.

Processing for further reductions:

We are already in the 2009-10 school year.  We can only reduce areas that are not already committed.  The reductions have been framed to bring the levy reduction options down to levels of a 9% increase, an 8% increase, a 7% increase and a 6% increase. 

We are anticipating another $2 million to $3.5 million reduction again next year based on the further loss in state aid for the second year of the biennial budget and the inability to apply any stimulus dollars to create relief.  Therefore, regardless we will continue to cut programming until the state can modify the funding structure. 

Monday evening the board will examine the areas recommended for reduction.  The full leadership team has had input in the process.

The reductions are prioritized and listed by percentage.  We have also listed the first areas for reduction heading into the next school year planning. 

We are calculating what impact raising class sizes up to 35 for grades 3-5 and up to 40 for grades 6-12 would have. 

We will likely have fire code issues with these proposals.  But, we will do the costing. Specials such as Physical Education, Music, Electives will likely be raised to class sizes of 35 to 40.  The core classroom areas likely cannot be based on the size of most of the classrooms.

The recommendation from the leadership team remains to levy to the revenue cap.  Based on the latest projections that would place us at approximately a 10% levy increase.

Not doing so places this system at an even lower level of capacity compared with any system in the region and almost all systems in the state.  Not levying to the cap will likely place us within the lowest 3 spending school districts in the state out of 426 school districts.  We will run the final once the levy limit is finalized.

If we go below the cap this year, we will likely never regain the loss.  The community would need to face at least a 15% levy increase, or higher, to make the difference up in the future.  That would be highly unlikely.  It is also highly unlikely that the leadership team or board would advance an operating referendum increase if we are unable to levy to what we currently have the authority to levy. 

The 2011-12 school year will start the next biennial budget.  There will be no remaining stimulus dollars and the state will lose the dollars they used to fill their funding gap.  Again, if the formula does not change, we will feel the greatest impact.

In summary:

Clearly, the recommended reductions are significant. 

We have reduced programming for 15 years already.  We are already placed in the lowest position.  Therefore, the recommendations being made are not only significant, they will deeply impact the students and their programming options. 

Once removed, it is highly unlikely the community would ever have the capacity, or collective will, to bring them back in the future.

We will continue to heavily advocate for a state aid formula change.  We have done so actively and will continue to do so.

Can I see some proof of this?  I am terribly interested.

In the present time, the leadership team does recommend we levy to the cap.

So does this mean you are recommending that the advisory vote from the citizens should be considered null and void?

If the decision is made to not levy to the cap, we have framed the reductions for the current year.

Let's take a look at the administrative cuts.  Oh, that's right.  There aren't any.

We have also listed where we are likely heading for next school year with the continued reductions.

The guilt trip.  Bring it on. Bad, bad taxpayers.

If anyone has questions, feel free to contact Pat Herdrich. (262-335-5435 OR PHerdrich@west-bend.k12.wi.us )


Worksession of the Board: Monday, October 5th, open meeting no public discussion

(Community Mailer)

Monday, October 12th, regular board meeting, public review reductions

Monday, October 26th, the board will set the levy for the current school year


Reductions Outline
West Bend Joint School District
Document for Work Session October 5, 2009

The West Bend School Board proposed property tax levy at the Annual Budget Meeting on Monday, September 28, 2009. The district reduced $2 million dollars within this budget before the proposal was made at the annual meeting. 

If the Board makes the decision not to accept the levy proposal, reductions in the current year will need to be made.  Reductions are anticipated for the next 3 budget years.  Reductions have been made in the last 15 consecutive budgets since the levy limits were put in place in 1993.

This year (2009-2010), due to reductions in state aid, the district will be short approximately $2,400,000.

Next year, the district will plan for an addition $2 million to $3.5 million reductions

1 FTE = 1 position

Terminated FTEs will bump other employees in accordance with hiring order and valid licensures.

Entire programming areas will be recommended for elimination.

If the school board recommends levying to the maximum 9.9% or $7.44, no budget changes would be made to the current 2009-2010 budget.  Note: The levy percentage continues to change based on the information coming to Districts from the State of Wisconsin on equalization and head count.  This number will not be final until mid October and remains an estimate.  The board needs to finalize the levy by October 26th.

No comments: