W-F focuses on education
Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal does not change the focus of the Weyauwega-Fremont School District.
“It is every intention of our district to maintain our current programming as it is. Certain programs are draws to specific districts. It’s like that for all districts. When you start jeopardizing (programs), you could jeopardize future student enrollments,” said Scott Bleck, who is the district administrator in the W-F School District.
Like every other district in the state, W-F’s administrative team is working to figure out what the ramifications of the governor’s proposed budget are.
“Based on the governor’s proposed 2011-12 revenue limit worksheet, we would be anticipating having our revenue limit reduced by $624,000. Each district will have a unique formula based on enrollment trends,” Bleck said.
He described the revenue limit as being what a school district can locally raise and what is given to that district by the state to foster education.
The school district’s 2010-11 budget is $10.44 million, and its 2010-11 revenue limit is $9,235,968, he said.
“Our projected revenue limit is $8,611,136 – based on what we know now,” Bleck said.
The district’s current spending per student is $9,512. Under the governor’s present budget proposal, that figure would be $8,988 per student, which is a reduction of $524.
Bleck said revenue limits are based on enrollment. “With our projected enrollment, which will be reduced, we will see a reduction in our revenue limit,” he said.
When the district’s school board meets Monday, March 14, for a Committee of the Whole meeting, projected budget forecasting will definitely be a topic of discussion, Bleck said.
“To potentially offset some of this deficit, the district will look at utilizing the increased contributions that employees will be making toward the Wisconsin Retirement System,” he said.
Currently, the district covers 100 percent of the pension contribution.
Under Walker’s proposed budget repair bill, employees would need to contribute 5.8 percent, Bleck said.
The governor also wants them to contribute more toward their health insurance premium,.
“The teaching staff contributes 5 percent toward the premium and support staff 10 percent,” he said. “With the state recommendation of contributing a minimum of 12.2 percent, we will be discussing that amongst the board members and local associations to see where we’re at,” he said.
He said that those two projected employee benefits requirements could maybe capture approximately $400,000 of the projected revenue shortfall of $624,000.
Bleck also called that projected shortfall a moving number.
“Our district has faced deficit budgets in the past, for several years,” he said. “With this budget, we will collectively work our way through it to ensure quality education within our district. No matter how or what material comes out of the state, our goal is to become a destination district. We’re not changing our focus on how we educate children.”
The W-F School Board decided Feb. 24 to issue a preliminary layoff notice to all of its 72 teachers.
Bleck said no formal retirement requests have come forward yet.
“Bleck said the teachers continue to stay focused on local education. “We rely on them,” he said, “to provide the very best that they can provide to our district.”