At the Jan. 22 regular meeting of the Milaca Public Schools board, I presented recommendations on the budget for this coming year. As a result of the bond and operating referendum failing in May 2018, adjustments are needed. The district asked the community for an operating levy due to decreased enrollment, net loss of open enrollment, special education cross subsidy increases, and the increase in the general cost of doing business. Due to all these factors, the district expenditures had exceed its revenue and the district was asking for a $750,000 operating levy.
However, since May 2018, kindergarten enrollment projection decreased by 23 students (-$150,000); the district needs to reserve funds for roof repairs (-$150,000/year); special education cross subsidy increased (average -$200,000/year), and the year-end district fund balance was at 8.5 percemt (anticipated 11 percent) due to a special education cross subsidy and declining enrollment. Based on these shortfalls, the Finance Committee and superintendent arerecommending $1.2 million in adjustments for budgetary alignment.
At the Dec. 17, 2018 board meeting, the board approved a $2,000,000 donation. The Finance Committee is recommending the board direct administration, with final review by the
Building and Grounds Committee, to utilize up to $400,000 for safety modifications to the facilities, as requested by the donor. The Finance Committee is also recommending administration look for areas that are currently subsidized by the district, due to family’s inability to pay for various activities and/or educational opportunities. That subsidized amount will be paid for through the donation dollars to offset the revenue loss while still allowing the student to attend preschool. This approach was created based on the donors request to help offset expenses and support underprivileged children at Milaca. These dollars will offset some general fund expenses, which will have an effect on the total reduction amount ($1.2 million). The remaining donated funds will be invested.
Unfortunately, the budgetary adjustments will affect staff, students, families, and the community.
The district had hoped to avoid these necessary adjustments, but can not. It is our fiscal responsibility to create a balanced budget and these adjustments will allow that to happen.
If you have suggestions and ideas for areas the district could reduce, please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. or share them with a board member. The $1.2 million is a large number. It will take all of us being creative in finding ways to find efficiencies.