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School Board must weigh budget cuts



DISTRICT'S TAX RATE, LEVY UP SLIGHTLY FOR 2010-11 Williams Bay — Despite cuts and elimination of the district's community development fund, the Williams Bay School Board approved slight increases in the tax rate, levy and budget at its Oct. 25 meeting. The 2010-11 tax rate will be $6.52 per $1,000 of equalized assessed valuation, up 4.45 percent from last year's rate of $6.24 per $1,000. The owner of a home assessed at $250,000 would see his or her school taxes increase from $1,560 to $1,630. The tax levy is $7,244,729, an increase of 0.26 percent over last year's levy of $7,225,787. Most of the levy goes to general fund and debt service. The district expects its general fund expenses for 2010-11 to be $7,522,139, while revenues will reach only $6,913,135, leaving a $609,004 revenue gap. General fund money goes to pay for most things done in the schools, including teachers' salaries, books, supplies. Anticipated general fund expenses for 2010-11 increased by 2.11 percent over last year's budget of $7,366,587. The board voted to cut out the community service fund levy for this year. Last year, the district levied $200,000 for community service, and the fund's levy was part of last year's tax rate of $6.24 per $1,000 of equalized assessed valuation for school purposes, Vorlop said. By state law, the community service fund may be used to pay for community recreation programs, such as evening swimming pool operation and softball leagues; adult education, elderly food service programs, non-special education preschool, day care services, and other programs which serve the community. It is not to be used in the district's general fund, Vorlop said. The district plans to pull about $25,000 from the $346,000 balance in the community service fund to pay for lawn mowing on the soccer and ball fields on Theatre Road and the softball diamond at the high school. The district had been levying for its community service fund for the past five years, Vorlop said, collecting $100,000 the first year, and $200,000 for the subsequent years. A large portion of that fund went to improvements to the athletic field at the Williams Bay Junior/Senior High School, primarily for the softball field, he said.
November 03, 2010 | 08:40 AM
Williams Bay — Now starts the process of cutting costs to match income.

The Williams Bay School Board will meet at 7 p.m. Nov. 8 to start bridging the $609,000 gap between what is budgeted to keep the district going into the 2010-11 school year, and what it expects in revenues.

Reasons for the projected shortfall include declining enrollment and increases in teacher pay and benefits.

On Monday, Superintendent Fred Vorlop said the School Board will discuss the district's food service program, which is running a $50,000 deficit. He said the board probably will discuss cuts in the food service and increases in some school fees.

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Those issues will be the lead-in to the heavy cutting, which will likely involve staff layoffs.

Vorlop said he doesn't know when the board will discuss layoffs.

Most likely, the board members want to make sure they've made as many cuts elsewhere before they start cutting teaching positions.

The board already has cut $54,000 in supplies, licensing and deferred textbook purchases from the 2010-11 budget, Vorlop said.

Whatever part of the $609,000 that isn't cut from this budget year, will be covered by the district's $1.12 million surplus.

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That surplus was built up after district voters approved raising the district's revenue cap in 2003. Once that surplus is depleted, it's gone.

An attempt was made to boost the district revenue cap by $1.886 million over three years. But that referendum failed Sept. 14.

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