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Falls looks at its financial future

Deficit could increase to $2.1 million

Nov. 13, 2012

Menomonee Falls - One budget cycle may have ended for the Menomonee Falls School District, but another is beginning.

Each year the Menomonee Falls School District begins the budgeting process for the next year by detailing its financial forecast. On Monday, during a special School Board meeting led by Senior Financial Adviser Scott Gralla with PMA Financial Network, the next five years of the district's budget were laid out based on loose budget assumptions that depict enrollment, revenues and expenditures. The projections are also based on a continuous decrease in state aid.

"This is the opening conversation regarding the budget and how the model works," Superintendent Patricia Greco said.

The meeting was a starting point for the board as the budget process for the 2013-2014 school year begins. The forecasting model is based on 11 years of data, Business Manager Jeff Gross said. The data includes historical and actual data from the last five years, the current 2012-2013 budget and projections over the next five years. The model also takes into account employee salary schedules, equalized assessed valuation history and projections, and revenue limit and general state aid calculations based on Act 10.

"This year is particularly tough because we don't know where the states is so some of these assumptions will change," Gross said. "We are very early in the game as far as the state is concerned."

The numbers are preliminary and some are based on professional and educated guesses compiled from the 11 years of data. According to Gralla, the district's structural deficit would increase from $1.7 million to $2.1 million in the 2013-2014 school year. In the 2012-2013 budget, the district was able to make up for the $1.7 million structural deficit and proceed with a balanced budget.

The deficit, School Board member Dave Noshay said, is fairly consistent with what the district has faced over the last few years in the budgeting process.

In addition, Gralla said the district can anticipate a moderate decrease in enrollment over the next five years. Open enrollment numbers are expected to increase by 109 students over the next five years. This is because open enrollment students will replace Chapter 220 students who graduate out of the district.

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