Menomonee Falls — A 15 percent loss in general state aid is likely to cause a 2.2 percent increase in the school district's tax levy, the preliminary 2013-14 budget shows.
At the annual meeting Sept. 9, electors will be asked to approve a nearly $39.2 million levy, which would support a projected $47.8 million budget. While the levy amount is up from last year, the proposed budget is down by just over 1 percent.
"The tax levy increase is directly due to the loss in state funding," Director of Business Services Jeff Gross said.
At the proposed levy amount, district taxpayers would pay $12.04 per $1,000 of assessed value to support the public schools. For the owner of a $200,000 home, that comes to $2,408.
Overall, it's a positive budget, he said, because administrators were able to keep the levy increase to a minimum despite the loss in aid.
"We felt we did a really solid job managing the overall reductions required," he said.
There are a few factors that contributed to a balanced budget, including a switch to self-funded insurance, reduced pupil transportation costs, reduced special education out-of-district placements and an efficient use of staff, Gross said. In 2013-14, Menomonee Falls High School teachers are taking on a larger work load. All teachers will have to teach six sections, instead of the usual five sections.
The preliminary operating budget also includes a 1.5 percent decrease in revenue, to keep the district in line with revenue limits imposed by the state.
Gross said a key budget accomplishment has been the management of the district's debt. The district recently refinanced its debt, which will result in direct tax levy savings of $1.3 million over the next two years.
In addition, the district plans to make use of Federal Education Jobs Funding to save positions and balance the budget.
"We set that money aside two years ago, knowing we would use it in the next couple budgets to offset some of the staffing reductions," Gross said.
These funds also aided the district in building in a salary increase for staff.
Recent budget debates at the School Board level revolved around building a potential salary increase into the budget. Board members were hesitant to build an increase into the preliminary budget if it could change at a later date. Ultimately, $600,000 was put into the budget to cover salary increases. It is not yet decided how that money will be divvied up, Gross said.
WHAT: electors to consider the proposed 2013-14 levy at the Menomonee Falls School District annual meeting
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Sept. 9
WHERE: Menomonee Falls High School, W142-N8101 Merrimac Drive
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