Shawano School District approves prelim budget

$600K deficit seen as easily fixable, according to consultant
By: 
Lee Pulaski
City Editor

The Shawano School Board gave approval to its preliminary budget June 10, beginning the process to refine things and have a final budget ready for approval in late October.

Student enrollment is expected to decline as it has been for several years, but expenses and revenues are expected to increase, according to financial consultant Bryan Kadlec.

“This (preliminary budget) helps to guide our operations from this point until the official budget is approved,” Kadlec said.

He noted that the district went through a zero-based budget process beginning in February. Most of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds are out of the budget except for the projects earmarked for the coming school year. according to Kadlec. The district has until Sept. 30 to prioritize those funds, and Dec. 6 is the deadline to claim that money.

“We do have a plan for those,” Kadlec said without going into specifics.

Tax rates are not expected to increase due to property values in the district already seeing a modest 2.5% hike, but they’re expected to increase taxes, because the values will rise even more.

“Based on some of the main values, we’re already starting to suggest that the property values will rise about 14%,” Kadlec said.

The preliminary budget had a deficit of $606,713 in it, but Kadlec noted other factors are still unclear, so the red ink could go away by October.

“I am not overly concerned for a couple of reasons,” Kadlec said. “There are a number of areas that we will continue to dive into and refine as we go forward. One example is our staffing, where we’ve made a lot of assumptions. We’ve made assumptions on salaries. We’ve made assumptions on benefit elections. That’s going to get refined along the way.”

Kadlec noted that the district’s budget has not fully utilized grant funding, so it’s possible some things might not be paid for directly from the local tax base.

“We’re going to dive into those areas, as well,” he said.

Kadlec noted that the district’s fund balance is in good shape at more than $11.26 million, so any deficits still remaining can easily be erased.

Budget numbers are expected to come into focus in the fall. The third Friday in September is when the district’s official student count takes place, which determines how much in state aid is received. Property values are expected to be finalized in October.

lpulaski@newmedia-wi.com