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Falls school leaders will consider ways to trim more than $2 million from budget

Officials seek input from staff, residents

Feb. 26, 2013

Menomonee Falls - The Menomonee Falls School District will face some challenging decisions in the months ahead, as it prepares to reduce its proposed 2013-14 budget by $2.4 million to $2.6 million.

In an update to the School Board on Monday, Superintendent Patricia Greco explained that based on Gov. Scott Walker's proposed biennial budget, the district is now anticipating a zero increase in per pupil funding.

At that level, the district's 2013-14 revenues are anticipated to amount to about $47 million, with projected expenditures currently estimated at $49.4 million.

Assumptions taken into consideration include holding expenses for transportation and supplies and equipment at their current level, and planning for increases of 5 percent for utilities, 7.5 percent for property/casualty insurance, 7 percent for health and dental insurance in the first half of 2014, and 2.5 percent for salaries, which Greco previously noted may be shifted down to 1.5 percent.

The board will be weighing the School District's mission, strategic goals and budget goals as it begins to identify areas for cuts.

"The budget goals highlight the lens we're using in how we're making the decisions," Greco said. "And these are hard decisions."

Some of those goals include improving student academic achievement and staff performance, sustaining appropriate class size ratios, preparing students for successful college and career decisions, maintaining efficient and effective operations, and safeguarding taxpayer dollars.

"We're going to be advancing areas that represent strong teachers and currently strong programs for reductions, and we know that," Greco said.

"Part of the challenge is, as we're looking at the proposed freeze, we are going to have to make some hard choices to advance, and we recognize that all of the current programming is valued," she added.

The board was prepared to hold a budget work session on Feb. 27, in which staff planned to go through the budget score card with board members and begin making recommendations for advancing the budget, Greco said. A round table board discussion on the budget also is scheduled for March 6.

Greco said it is likely that multiple evenings will be dedicated to the budget process during the course of spring, with weekly question-and-answer updates to be provided to staff.

Board member Scott Ternes emphasized the need to inform the public of budget-related meetings in order to encourage community involvement in the process.

NEXT STEP

WHAT: School Board round table discussion on 2013-14 budget

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. March 6

WHERE: Menomonee Falls High School library, N8101 Merrimac Drive

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