After experiencing $1.95 million in cuts to state aid last year, three local school districts will see their state aid cut by a total of $1.5 million this year.
Waupaca’s state aid is being cut by $749,000 in 2012-13.
Last year, the district’s state aid was cut by $1.07 million, according to figures from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
The good news, according to Carl Hayek, the district’s business manager, is that when Waupaca began planning its 2012-13 budget, it expected the cut in state aid to be nearly $850,000.
Hayek estimates Waupaca has seen its state aid drop by $3.5 million over the past four years.
While the district has made significant spending cuts in the past, this year it plans to raise taxes to help compensate for losses in state aid revenues.
Waupaca District Administrator Dave Poeschl said property taxes in the Waupaca School District will account for about 52 percent of total revenues while state aid accounts for 43 percent.
“That has shifted,” Poeschl said, regarding the share of district costs covered by local property taxes. “Ten years ago, it used to be the exact opposite.”
State aid accounts for $8,88 million of the Waupaca School District’s total revenues.
State aid to the Weyauega-Fremont School District is being cut from $4,04 million in 2011-12 to $3,43 million in 2012-13.
“We were anticipating a reduction in state aid. We were anticipating about 10 percent. Our budget planning was based on 10 percent, but it came in at 15 percent,” District Administrator Scott Bleck said,
The impact of the reduction in state aid is an increase in the mill rate.
“This year, we will ask our district residents to support a budget that increases the mill rate to offset the reduction of state aid. We built our budget with the known reductions as best as we could, and we will be able to carry through our proposed budget,” he said.
Bleck said he appreciates the commitment district residents have to education.
Of the three local school districts, Iola-Scandinavia experienced a drop in state aid of $159,729 this year. The I-S district lost about $418,000 in state aid last year.
“We had already planned for this loss in the state aid. The number released recently is an increase of $11,889 from the amount presented at our annual meeting in August,” according to Jon Novak, the I-S district’s business manager.
Although I-S is the least affected of the area schools, Novak said, “We are still facing a loss of $160,000, about 4.3 percent of our revenue, We reduced a middle school social studies position through attrition. We also consolidated our building and grounds position and out-sourced custodial services. The district had several retirements which generate savings because the positions were replaced with entry level staff.”
Novak said cuts in state aid will continue to shift the burden of education to the local taxpayers.
“Despite the cuts made by the district, the tax levy will still increase by 2.5 percent,” Novak said. “Iola-Scandinavia will continue to see increases in class sizes as sections are combined to offset declining enrollment.”