Saturday, April 30, 2011

What a Difference a Day Makes

At Monday's Finance Committee meeting, Treasurer and Finance Chair Jim McCourt was all "Man the torpedoes and we can cut this budget". That sentiment didn't last long as at Tuesday's Board Work-Study meeting, his tone changed from cutting to increasing spending. Maybe he was on a sugar high Monday night??

While preventing a levy increase might not be in the cards, McCourt was optimistic that school board members would be able to decrease the levy increase. “One of our board goals was a 10 percent or above fund balance. Even with that, we are going to be 11.5 percent at the end of next year, so obviously one of the options that is out there is we’ve got some extra fund balance that potentially we could use, and if we made an adjustment of another $450,000 to the fund balance, it would get us down to a levy increase of 2.5 percent. It would still keep us at 10.5 percent of the fund balance. I think we have some room there to potentially do something.
---Jim McCourt

McCourt also said that even though the board added $255,000 back into the building and grounds department budget, he has not heard anyone asking for the budget restoration. If the reinstated dollars were removed again, it would decrease the levy by another 0.6 percent, bringing the levy increase down to 1.9 percent.
---excerpted from the Sun Prairie Star

Whalen offers a different perspective
During the work-study meeting, the board reviewed the district's request to add the following to the 2011-12 budget:
$75,000 originally planned for the HR Specialist; District still thinks they can use this cash
$165,000 (7000 hrs @ $24/hr) for Response to Intervention Math/Reading tutors
$110,000 for 2FTE English as Second Language Teachers
$ 176,000 for 3 total FTE Social Workers
$65,000 for 1 FTE Technology programmer
$591,000 (raises the tax levy about 1.3%)

Whalen's response:
"I like these ideas. I'm toying with the idea of going back to 4.5% [tax levy increase] and putting all these in [the budget]."