Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Area School Districts Also Facing Tough Decisions



Area School Districts Also Facing Tough Decisions 


As school districts around the state respond to the potential decrease in funding by the state and also experience rising costs, the layoffs and budget reduction stories are beginning to surface. Our Board will make some tough decisions at the next Board Meeting on March 24, 2015, (5:30 p.m.) in the area of OPEB and Insurance. They will not only be thinking about present concerns, but the future. Please listen carefully to the implications of the many decisions they will need to make by watching the Board meeting through live video stream or once it is taped and posted on the District’s website. 

This is just one of several stories I have read this week. 

(From the Janesville Gazette)

 Parkview issues layoff notices 

District anticipates $900,000 shortfall in next year’s budget 

By Gina Duwe (Janesville Gazette-March 18, 2015) 

ORFORDVILLE

 The Parkview School District this week issued preliminary layoff notices to six instructional staff in anticipation of a $900,000 budget deficit next year.

 Superintendent Steve Lutzke said he couldn’t reveal which positions are affected because the staff members can have private hearings, but the school board likely will issue the formal notices at its April 20 meeting. 

Some of the cuts are because enrollment is down in a couple grades, Lutzke said.

 “If we get four, five, six more kids in a grade,” then the district could retain the affected positions, he said.

 The district was anticipating a deficit around $680,000, which would have resulted in one or two staff cuts, but the deficit increased mostly because the district lost so many students through open enrollment, he said.

 Enrollment dropped by 64 students in this January’s count to 787, compared to 851 in the January 2014 count.

 Through open enrollment:

  • 37 students came into the district, compared to 56 last year 
  • 124 students left the district, compared to 106 last year 

 The district is in the middle of a three-year, $350,000 annual boost in operating revenue approved by voters in a referendum last year.

 Despite the extra revenue, the district used reserve funds to fill budget gaps last year and this year, but it can’t afford to continue that practice, Lutzke said.

Much of the deficit reduction will come through efficiencies, he said.

 Reduced fuel costs for buses are saving money, and preliminary insurance rates look better than anticipated, he said.

 When the district closes the primary school in Footville, it will save utility and transportation costs and see savings through staff consolidation, he said.

 Construction is underway after voters last year approved a $17 million referendum for additions and renovations to swap the Orfordville elementary school with the junior/senior high schools.

 The school board in January also approved eliminating one administrator for next year—the elementary principal/director of curriculum and instruction.

 Savings also will come when some retired employees use up their allotted post-retirement benefits.

 Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal calls for eliminating categorical aids to schools next year. Under that proposal, Parkview would lose an additional $135,000, pushing its deficit above $1 million.

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