Message from the Director of Business Services
September 15, 2016
Welcome back to another school year!
One role of a school business manager is effective communication and transparency. To that end, I wanted to take this opportunity to briefly explain funding for public schools in Wisconsin, and specifically East Troy.
In general, the State of Wisconsin determines how much money our school district is legally permitted to raise through a combination of state aid and property taxes without a public referendum. This revenue cap is determined by a state formula based on the number of students in our public schools. That formula changed for 2009-10 as the state reduced its increase per-student rate from $274 to $200. In 2010-11 the increase per-student was held at $200. However in 2011-12, the increase per student became a decrease of -$534.42. The district’s revenue cap went from $17.3 million in school year 10-11 to $16.1 million in school year 11-12.
Since that time frame of 2011, little dollars have been added back to public schools. For example, in 2015-16 funding threatened to decrease again, but instead the funding was held at $0. The conclusion is that by 2015-16 the total revenues The East Troy Schools are operating under are about the same as in 2010-11. Five years have passed with no change in revenues, yet services have been added and costs have increased.
Since the cost of goods and services to the district has continued to increase, in order to manage the consequent shortfalls, the district has reduced its budgets by over $5.3 million in the past nine years and looked to reduce another $388,000 for the current fiscal year 16-17.
Despite these funding scenarios, East Troy Community Schools remains committed to balancing the budget, improving programming options, and attracting and retaining the highest quality staff.
Some highlights and key points from the last year:
- The passed referendum’s bond issue with a solid Aa2 rating yielded low interest rates resulting in a net increase to property taxes of $.01 per $1,000 of value. This down the original conservative estimate of $.16 per $1,000.
- The purchase of two smart-labs at the Middle School and Prairie View School funded with budget savings throughout the year including reduced utilities, lowered diesel fuel prices, and an unfilled position.
- An overall -2% tax levy decrease from 14-15 to 15-16.
As the points above show, we believe the East Troy Schools must invest with a balance of fiscal responsibility. We must invest in 21st century skills and programming that our students will need to succeed in an ever changing world. And we must invest in the infrastructure and capital of the school district in order to continue to be an attractive facility for students to attend. In April 2015, this community passed a referendum to build a new school for grades 4K -2, High School renovations, and improved furnishings throughout. We have completed the High School improvements this fall and will be completing the new school for the 17-18 school year. Thank you to the East Troy School Residents for this terrific opportunity to invest in our schools!