Saturday, July 25, 2009

It's Piper Payin' Time!

At long last, Sun Prairie school district residents will hear about details of the 2009-10 budget. You're not going to see a budget, mind you, but a "Discussion on the 2009-10 Preliminary Budget" the Finance Committee meeting Monday July 27, 2009 5:30 pm at the Municipal building.

In keeping with past practice, you'll get detailed numbers of how much cost savings we'll see, but when it comes to things like salaries, all you'll see is "3.8% increase". That's because the real dollar value is sometimes a bitter pill to swallow. You also won't see detailed line by line expenses...this is "just a discussion".

The recommendation is to go with a budget that taxes UNDER the allowable limit by $590K [insert applause here] , with a final mill rate impact of $11.81, which is $1.28 per $1,000 assessed value MORE than last year [insert razzberries here]. That means that a home valued at $200,000 will cost you an additional $256.00 on your tax bill.

" The mill rate is projected to be $11.81, or $1.28 higher than last year. That's $256 more for a $200,000 home. Or...100 of your favorite coffee drinks (or 6 seabass dinners). So just skip the morning coffee every Wednesday and
you're covered. "

Cuts affect the kids...not the wallets of the district staff
The budget recommendation includes the following recommendation:

The third recommendation from administration is for the non-personnel budget for schools and departments be reduced by 5%. This would impact supplies, equipment, purchased services, and other non-personnel accounts. Administration feels that this type of reduction is doable. This would reduce taxes by $255,762.

Why is it that the budgets for individual schools are offered to the chopping block---something that DIRECTLY affects the education of our kids---but the wallets of staffers fare better than anyone [that doesn't work for a school district or AIG] in the state, if not the nation? And what about buildings and grounds? Now that we've upgraded all our schools, is NOW the time to cut back on maintenance? Oh...and then there's the district Energy Manager that Admin fought so hard to hire. Out of ALL the district staff, that is the ONLY position to be "red-circled", which is PC talk for "you're job is overpaid so we're freezing your salary until it's more in oline with the rest of the world".

Funny that we're not doing the same thing to Evelyn Smojver's salary. She stepped down as Director of Instruction to assume the principal-ship of Creekside last year. Of course, her fat cat Administrator salary is WAAAY higher than any of the other elementary principals. In fact, her salary is the 6th highest of all comparison district elementary school principal salaries. If there was ever a justification to freeze a salary, THIS is the case--not the Energy Manager, who actually helps SAVE money for the district.

But alas, we lack a school board that has a strong enough constitution to stand up and say, "Hey....we need to look at freezing some salaries here", instead of approving 3.8% across-the-board wage hikes. Can't have that. That might mean strained relationships with Administration. And lord knows we rely heavily on District Administrator Culver to tell the school board what their options are on virtually every agenda item of significance.

We particularly appreciate that the Administration feels that this is "doable". Of course, anything that keeps them getting their 3.8% on top of their already inflated salaries is "doable".

A public hearing on the budget is tentatively scheduled for the week of August 10th.