Annual Meeting

This month’s article will focus on the District’s Annual Meeting which took place on October 21, 2019.  The information is taken from the notes of Mrs. Monika Knapp, Director of Business Services for the WCSD.  I will provide a synopsis. As always if you wish for more information, please contact me at (920) 582-5802 or [email protected].

The school district is required to operate with many different funds, the segregation is based on the purpose of each fund.  The first fund I will review is Fund 10.

Total budgeted revenue is equal to $19,023,324.  Many times, you’ll hear the district talk about our revenue limit.  The state of Wisconsin limits the amount of money we can raise per student (we raise money through a combination of state aid and taxes).  In 2018-2019 the revenue limit per student for Winneconne was $9,400. In 2019-2020, the maximum we can collect per student is at $9,700. Our overall revenue limit in 2019-2020 is $15,032,600 (up from 18-19 of $14,490,937).   This means $19 million is the total amount of revenue we can collect through state aid, taxes, open enrollment transfers, grants and other sources. The state informs us of the amount we will receive in state equalization aid and the difference is the amount we can collect in taxes.  Also to be noted, there is another component in the revenue limit calculation to accommodate the school voucher program. We just received the data on October 15th and therefore, it is not reflected in our published numbers, our revenue limit will be increased by $113,936 due to this program.

The majority of the $19 million revenue budget is made up of state aid and taxes. Breaking things out on a percentage basis shows us that 44% of our total 2019-2020 revenue is from state sources; most of this is state equalization aid (otherwise known as property tax relief).  This is a slight decrease from 2018-2019 when the state supported 46% of our budget. Please remember, when you hear the district is receiving less state aid it does not mean the district will see a decrease in the total budget.  What it does mean is in 2019-2020 the percent of dollars contributed to the district budget by taxpayers will increase and the State’s percentage of support to the district will decrease.  The total funds the district receives won’t change; it is just a matter of who is paying what percentage. In other words, the State is paying a smaller portion of our school bill than they did last year.  The taxpayers are paying a bigger portion of the school bill than they did previously. But again, our overall dollars to the school district do not change.

Moving on to the expenses in Fund 10, our general operations fund.  Total expense budget is $19,634,152. 

This is a people intensive business, so the majority of our expenses are in the staffing area (about 71%).  This includes the salary, benefits, and the “transfers.” We include the transfers, because it is a transfer to subsidize our special education fund where the expenses mostly include salaries & benefits.  

Approximately 16% of our expenses are purchased services; this includes utilities, busing, phone service, legal fees, maintenance projects; any service the district pays for.

About 4% of our budget is for supplies – textbooks, classroom supplies, paper, library materials, software, cleaning supplies, etc.

That leaves about 5% of our budget to be allocated to a variety of items – capital equipment like computers, tables/chairs & computer/copier leases; property, liability & workers comp insurance; dues and fees.

When we look at the totals, the draft of the budget shows expenses exceeding revenues by about $610,828.  Part of this is a planned expenditure of fund balance by approximately $398,000 to pay off fund 38 debt early which will save the taxpayer $50,000 in interest.

We always continue to seek efficiencies and enhance revenue;  – A few examples, we renegotiated health insurance; we self-fund our dental insurance; we changed copier leases and reduced the overall number of copiers.  We also are moving to a “greener” environment by making the majority of recurring forms and student reports available online rather than in paper form. We continue to look for available grants to augment our revenue.  We continue to lease the Winchester building which reduces our utility expense and actually generated a little lease income. And we continue to promote our district in an effort to attract more open enrollment students.    

Overall, even after dipping into fund balance for the shortfall, the budget shows a projected fund balance of about $5 million which is still adequate to accomplish the primary use of fund balance - meet our cash flow needs.  

A quick highlight of Fund 27.

This fund accounts for our special education program and must balance (revenues and expenditures must equal).  This year, the total budget in special education is $2.9 million. 30% of the program is supported through state aid, federal grants, and payments from other districts.  The remaining 70% is funded by our district with a transfer made from Fund 10. 

The majority of expenses include salaries, benefits, transportation and special education services.  

Fund 30 is designated for payments of principal and interest on debt.  

Two debt issues involve voter approved bonds or notes.  One is for the most recent building STEAM and Auditorium addition at the high school and the other for upgrade to the infrastructure (boiler/plumbing) at the elementary which will be paid in full in the spring of 2022.

We also have a fund that allows us to divert money from fund 10 to save for future capital projects.  We have set aside/saved $100,000 for the last several years and plan to continue to do so in order to address future roofing needs.  This is fund 46.

So what does this all mean to the taxpayer?

All of these numbers translate into a mill rate.  Our mill rate will be set at $8.28 per $1000 of property value.  In other words if you have a $100,000 your school taxes equate to $828.  This rate has increased by $.04 (4 cents) from last year

Overall, we have a favorable mill rate. 

Below is a chart that shows some comparisons to other local districts and we have one of the lowest mill rates in the area. 

I realize this is a lot to digest.  I still get confused when it comes to how schools are funded!  Again, for more information, please do not hesitate to contact me at (920) 582-5802 ext 3141 or [email protected] .  The Annual Meeting booklet can be found on our district website under the financial information section. This booklet will explain in detail what I attempted to explain in this article.

Thank you for your continued support of education in our communities!