Sunday, July 22, 2012

2012-13 Budget released- are you sitting down?

Is there a doctor in the house, people might be feeling faint.
The school district has finally released its draft 2012-13 budget, and the bottom line is...wait for it....a projected 2% tax DECREASE!

Yes, we do mean the Sun Prairie School District.
Yes...we did say a 2% tax DECREASE.

While there is a natural inclination to give a round of applause to the district, and we're certainly all in favor of applause where it is merited,  you should know some things first.

1. Once again we had a pretty substantial surplus from 2011-12.  (Remember Caren Diedrich saying that the 2011-12 budget was so tight it squeaked?  Seems that was something else she heard squeaking 'cause there was plenty of fluff in this budget) Note that we still haven't heard the total of that surplus, but what we have ;learned is that it was at least $650,000, because they used that much of the 2011-12 budget to purchase textbooks and computers for 2012-13.  So  they want you to pat them on the back because that move helped towards having a decrease for 2012-13.  It's kind of a sham decrease though...because they didn't reduce their spending or cut back anything.

2. The biggest reason for the decrease is that DPI estimates that we will receive $3.8 MEEELYUN dollars more in state aid this year (you might recall, we ranked 5th in money received out of 420 something districts).  Even our hired financial advisors predicted only a $1.2M increase.  That $2.4M extra --on its own-- would amount to about a 5% decrease in the tax levy.

3. What will the board do about raises (closed session discussion Monday night) ?  This budget currently includes (as a "placeholder") about $850,000 from staff salary increases.  Take that money away (did YOU get a raise this year???) and the tax levy drops another 2%.  Now we're not advocating that the board do that, but does Tim Culver need a raise?  The ten members of the $100K club?  Teachers that are already making over $75K per year?  We don't think so.

Any money that is allocated for raises should primarily be allotted to those low on the totem pole.  If we now say that they are no longer teachers, but professional educators, then let's pay a better starting wage.

There...and we did it with just one slide. But if you want to see the district's show, click here: