How will the proposed state budget bill affect the DeForest Area School District?
What approach will the school board take to address the anticipated loss of revenue to operate the District?
Since 1993, Wisconsin has established the amount of revenue available to DASD for each school year at the state level. Known as the revenue cap, the state essentially sets the limit of each school district’s budget – how much they can spend. The local Board of Education can determine how and where the revenue is spent, but the state determines how much can be spent on the budget bottom line.
Under the previous law, the amount of revenue available to a district was increased each year on a per pupil basis. For example, by current law, for 2011-2012, the DeForest Area School District would have received an additional $285 per student over the previous year, establishing the new revenue cap. That would have resulted in approximately $900,000 in additional revenue.
Instead, the new budget law being proposed by Governor Walker actually reduces the amount of revenue for each student by $576 over 2010-2011 levels. This will result in a reduction in allowable revenue of approximately $1,641,800 when compared to 2010-2011 revenue. The bill further proposes to freeze that revenue cap in place for two years.
The new budget bill also structures the funding such that a local school board cannot increase a local tax levy to offset any of the loss in the revenue cap, except through public referendum. In essence, the District will need to operate for each of the next two years with $1,641,800 less in revenue than it had in 2010-2011.
The DeForest Area School District Board of Education, administration and staff have begun the planning process to address the potential effects of Governor Walker’s biennial budget proposal. Because the Board’s fiscal management has consistently been conservative and cautious, the District is in a position to make adjustments that will not necessitate staff layoffs or significant elimination of current programming.
The Board of Education has established a set of guiding principles that will shape options available to the District to reduce the operating budget for at least the next two years.
Budget Development Principles
- Act in alignment with END Statements (www.deforest.k12.wi.us/missionvision)
- Address sustainability: both financial and programmatic
- Staff in alignment with enrollment
- Maintain graduated class size ratios to extent possible
- Focus on core and primary section instruction over non-core functions
- Implement program delivery efficiencies vs. program elimination
- Assess program elimination where multiple data sources support
- Freeze non-instructional budget centers before instructional
- Reduce where trends/data warrant in large budget centers (e.g. deferred capital)
- Engage in good faith participatory decision making practices
- Utilize attrition and realignment in staff reductions rather than layoffs
As budget reduction options are developed, District staff will engage stakeholders in a process to gather their perspectives on the implications of various decisions. In all cases the District will focus on maintaining quality educational programming and making the best use of staff and available resources.
Additional information and updates will continue to be communicated through the DASD News newsletter and this DASD News Blog (bookmark dasdnews.wordpress.com).