Next year's budget process moves ahead

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Business Services Director Lori Ames reviewed the budget development process, including timelines and assumptions, for 2017-18 at the Board of Education regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 13.

She said the District is projecting an increase of 146 students, which is significantly less than the number of new students MCPASD has had the past two years. She said the increase will be because of students moving into the District. She doesn't expect to see a huge increase in the number of students open enrolling out but there will be a drop in incoming open enrollment students because the District is taking few new ones and a large number are graduating this year.

She then went over the District's expected revenues and said she isn't projecting an increase to the revenue limit. She expects transfer of services to be $100,000 and common school funds to generate $270,000. She noted the state special education aid pot hasn't increased in a number of years and because expenditures keep going up she estimates the percentage will drop to 26 percent.

The District is committed to its new salary schedule and expects every teacher to move one level, which would work out to 2.3 percent for every staff member. She is projecting a slight increase in rates charged for the Wisconsin Retirement System and expects a 5.9 percent increase in health insurance benefits, which works out to more than $550,000. She noted that as the District grows more substitute teachers are needed so she plans to include a multiplier for that. Finally, the District wants to set aside $300,000 in contingency after not leaving any going into the 2016-17 school year.

The plan would be to add a financial specialist position at MHS to handle the money and transactions that take place there. She noted that MHS is larger than 55 percent of the districts in Wisconsin. The budget calls for four more teachers, with at least two being allocated for MHS, along with a special education teacher. It also calls for additional support at West Middleton.

"We felt these were pretty necessary in mind,'' Ames said. "These are priorities.''

There were questions about having a large contingency. Superintendent George Mavroulis said it won't be used if it isn't needed, but in many years that covers the cost of hiring special education paras or a teacher right before school starts when a  class size swells due to a late influx of students.

Ames also briefly touched on what might happen based on governor's proposed budget. She said if a $200 per student increase occurs as the governor proposed, the District would have a surplus of more than $430,000. But with no increase, the District is looking at a deficit of more than $900,000.