The Sheboygan Area School District (SASD) was notified Friday, October 14 of the last of three variables needed to set the tax rate. The final equalized aid from the state of Wisconsin came in $1.8 million below the Department of Public Instruction’s (DPI) original estimate. The decrease in state equalized aid is projected to increase the tax levy 29 cents to $11.70 per $1,000 of property value. The school district based the budget projections on information provided by DPI in July. Now in October, several months into the budget, the final amount of state aid to the school district is much lower, leaving an additional $90,000 shift to the tax levy.
In an effort to provide a balanced budget, the Sheboygan Area School District implemented $13.6 million in cuts, including increases to employee health insurance premiums and employee contributions of 5.8 percent of their salary/wage into the Wisconsin Retirement System. Despite the Board of Education’s best effort to maintain or reduce the tax levy, the reduction in state aid has left the Board with limited choices. Over the last three years, the District has cut over $26 million in expenditures out of its budget.
The decrease in equalized aid is a result of the district not spending all of its budgeted money as well as an increase in costs for existing and new voucher programs in other Wisconsin school districts. Last year, due to lower than expected health insurance claims, the district was able to deposit $1.8 million in our fund balance for self-funded insurance expenses. In addition, $1.2 million of the amount budgeted in 2010-11 for individual school expenditures have been designated for future expenses. Unfortunately, the district is being penalized for spending less and being fiscally responsible.
This decrease in state funding for the current school year does not affect our projected budget for the 2012-13 year. This decrease in state aid will shift where the funding will come from; in this case, the local tax levy rather than the state.
At this time, the projected shortfall for the 2012-13 school year remains at $2.7 million. But, please remember, this number is very preliminary.
note: How the tax levy affects each individual taxpayer depends on the municipality in which they live.
updated October 21, 2011