A look at the Plymouth School District budget
The Plymouth School District is concerned about a freeze in school spending proposed by Gov. Scott Walker, as well as a plan to expand the school voucher program.
A freeze particularly hurts districts such as Plymouth that historically have been frugal. Plymouth ranks 397th in the state in per-pupil spending, though its students perform in the top 10 percent on the state’s standardized tests.
Plymouth fully implemented the “tools” provided by Act 10, but savings were limited because the district already had made many of the required changes.
Lawmakers are currently debating the governor’s proposed two-year budget, which would take effect July 1. It also includes an expansion of school vouchers, which transfer state aid to private schools, to nine additional districts, including Sheboygan.
Superintendent Clark Reinke encouraged concerned citizens to contact their legislators. “They hear from me all the time,” he said. “If they hear from parents and from grandparents and from the business community, I think that has a greater impact.”
• Click here for legislator contact information.
• Click here for a list of background talking points regarding Gov. Walker’s budget proposal.
The Budget Process
Where does the money come from?
|Faculty and staff submit budget requests
||Proposed budget is drafted
||District Leadership Team reviews proposed budget
||School Board discusses proposal
||School Board finalizes budget
||Electors approve levy
||Board certifies levy
- Various forms of state aid provide about half of the district's revenue, down from recent years.
- Local property taxes provide the next-largest source of funding for the district.
Where does the money go
|Revenues: 2011-2012 General Fund Budget
- Most of your tax dollar goes into the district's general fund, its main operating budget.
- The district's biggest expense is instruction: teacher salaries, classroom materials, etc.
- The next biggest expense is support services, such as buildings and administration.
What is the impact of declining state aid?
|Expenses: 2011-2012 General Fund Budget
|2011-12 Property Tax Levy
|Fund 30: Debt
|Fund 80: Comm Ed.
|Fund 38: WRS loan
- The district made $1.34 million in changes to balance the 2009-10 budget.
- The current Fund Balance (sort of a savings account for the district) is below optimum.
What is the district doing about the situation?
|Changes to balance 2009-10 budget
|Secured federal stimulus money ||$347,000|
|Closed Cascade school ||$240,000|
|Cut salaries and benefits ||$190,000|
|Cut staffing and services ||$179,000|
|Changed transportation plan ||$150,000|
|Moved fifth-graders to Riverview ||$124,000|
|Riverview extracurriculars to Comm. Ed. ||$60,000|
|Cut salaries and benefits ||$190,000|
|Raised activity fees ||$50,000|
The district has taken the lead in developing the Sheboygan County Regional Planning Initiative, a set of recommendations to improve education in our region and hopefully the state. The recommendations were crafted over created over nine months by board members, school administrators, union representatives and legislators.
In addition, the district has taken a proactive approach to planning for its financial future. A subcommittee of the Board of Education has analyzed:
- Methods to expand enrollment by improving the educational model to attract students
- Plan B: Methods to reduce costs or otherwise improve the bottom line
|The most promising ideas for increasing enrollment include:
Adminstrators have developed implementation plans for each of these, and the district already is moving foward with the first three.
- Engaging parents more in the schools, raising expectations for all participants
- Using computers or other technology for high school students to replace textbooks
- Expanding science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) classes at all levels, including an alternative energy curriculum
- Offering more AP courses
- Expanding the Pegasus after-school program
- Bolstering already solid fine-arts programs
- Expanding the online school
|Cost-cutting measures evaluated include:
- Spending down the fund balance
- Eliminating all busing
- Selling unneeded district property
- Consolidating elementary schools
- Reducing program offerings
- Establishing a health center to help employees manage health-care costs
- Reducing support staff
- Consolidating bus stops
- Seeking a referendum to exceed revenue limits
- Consolidating with neighboring school districts
- Limiting increases in staff costs
- Pursuing grants
- Joining a consortium on funding alternatives