Saturday, July 18, 2009


While the rest of the world, country, state, and county continue to struggle with mounting unemployment (now just shy of 10%), layoffs/furloughs/wage cuts, and foreclosures, at least we sit secure in the recession-proof Sunny Prairie school district!!!

At least that's what District Administrator/Super Nintendo Tim Culver desperately needs you to least until he can get his as yet unseen budget passed and sweet raises for everyone.

Culver was working his mega mojo at the school board meeting Monday night, stating that while other districts such as arch-nemesis [DAMN! They got named top city by Money; we only got Family Circle] Middleton are struggling, "...we're in great financial shape." [SP-EYE...shouldn't that little cheer be followed by a resounding, "naaa naaaa nuh boooo booooo"? ]

Let's summarize how wonderful life is in the Sun Prairie school district.

The teacher's contract is water under the bridge at this point, but those contracts will cost the taxpayers $1.5M this year and another $1.5M next July. That calls for a 4.2% salary increase this year and amounts to a 7.74% increase in salaries and benefits over 2 years. Since salaries and benefits account for over 80% of the annual operating budget, that means the budget will automatically increase by at least 6.0%.

Next up is the administration contracts. The board voted to accept their GRACIOUS offer to reduced their "entitlement" of 4.5% increase to 3.8%.

After that, the plan is to give Admin Support a "3.8% package" increase. Our calculations show that in salary increases alone, that translates to a 4.40% total increase, with at least one individual being awarded a 13% increase.
More little tidbits regarding the Admin Support package that you likely won't hear:
  • 17 out of the 30 members of this group will get raises of at least $1.11 per hour
  • 12 out of the 30 members of this group will get raises of at least $1.50 per hour
  • 3 of the 30 members of this group (10%) will see raises of over $2.00 per hour ($2.14, $2.21, $2.90)
  • The "Business Services Manager", who received a $2.50 per hour raise LAST July, will get a raise of $2.21 per hour effective THIS July. That's a $10,000 per year raise in ONE year's time!
  • 10 of the 30 members of this group are "Program Managers"; each will have a per hour rate of at least $41.21 (max of $46.63). Can you say "top-heavy"?
  • The program mangers only work 210 days per year. You and us? We work 2080 hrs/year, which means 260 days.
A 3.8% increase is also being offered to the Substitute Teachers.

Oh wait...we can't bat 1.000...Local 60 is stuck with 3.25% increases.

Dr. Culver has asked for a 0% increase. you think the board will feel bad and give him one anyway? I mean...afterall...what's $5500 on top of a $70,000,000 general budget...right?

Property tax bills will also bear the brunt of the rest of the $100M borrowed for the high school construction.

The cost of the 4K program will be heavily borne this year, as we only get state aid for 1/3 of the kids this year. And enrollment hadn't reached projections when we last checked. Oh, and the plan was to operate the program at about a $600K loss this year. That would be what's known as a positive liability, sports fans.

Oh...and word on the street that the exodus of students from Sun Prairie, at least at the elementary level (where our growth has been coming from) outweighs the expected inodus [OK...that' not really a word; we just made that up...but it sounds cool, n'est ce pas?]. Less bodies means less state aid (which is already being cut). Less state aid means more has to come from property taxes.

Does anyone else think it's nuts to be talking raises at all??
Only fringe board member David Stackhouse had the intestinal fortitude to make a motion that furlough days be included to cut the costs. NONE of the other board members would second that motion. know how things are goin'...right?

How long will the school board continue to write checks that the taxpayers can't cash?

So...Dr. who keep chanting how great SPASD is because we tax below the allowable limit (like 20% of the districts, right Dr. C?] how long do you project that we'll continue to tax below the is that little feather in your cap just about macaroni tight now?

Oh...and McSeaBass? We're sure we're probably just making these numbers say whatever we want. So we anxiously await your explanation of how all these numbers should be properly reviewed using your new McFilet o' Math.