Shiocton School Board approves draft budget

By Sara Tischauser

The Shiocton School Board met on Tuesday, Sept. 4 in the Library Media Center of the Shiocton Schools.
Nichole Schweitzer, Shiocton School District superintendent, presented to the board the draft budget for the upcoming 2018-19 school year. She said the upcoming budget may seem a bit aggressive but looking at the numbers she thought it would work.
First, Schweitzer gave a review of the 2017-18 end of year financials. Initially, she said they had thought they would have a $100,000 shortfall last school year and this money would have to come from the fund balance. However, she said they ended up being able to put about $296,000 in the fund balance.
Because of responsible spending Schweitzer said they were able to save the district quite a bit of money. She said this really comes to people only asking for the amounts they need during budget time and then if they find they don’t need the full amount of money they don’t spend that approved money.
“Just because it was budgeted for, people don’t spend money just to spend it,” Schweitzer said.
Looking into the coming year, Schweitzer said her and the finance committee have looked at ways to get the budget closer to what they are actually spending.
“One of the conversations we’ve had in finance meeting is we have to try and get [budget] a little closer to that $50,000-$100,000 mark,” Schweitzer said. “We want to be very conscientious about our tax payers and good stewards and we aren’t asking for too much and constantly putting it in the fund balance where we are growing it too high.”
Finding what works best for the tax payers and school is very important.
“We want to be very conscientious of our tax payers so when you try to balance all that and still make sure you have enough money to do some of the things you want to do like grow your curriculum, grow your course offerings and grow your teachers it’s a puzzle,” Schweitzer said. “But we’ve done well to put that puzzle together in a very positive manner such that in 17-18 we were able to again add about $296,000 to the fund balance.”
Since money was added to the fund balance the past three years, Schweitzer said they are looking at a more aggressive approach to the 2018-19 budget which would require about $600,000 coming out of the fund balance.
Schweitzer presented to the board the draft budget for the upcoming school year. In the upcoming budget, she said they have some onetime expenses that they will have to pay this year which is accounts for about $307,000. These onetime expenses include weight and fitness equipment for the multipurpose facility; security and computers for multi-purpose facility; playground by the Shiocton Child Care Center; a telephone upgrade and a network overhaul.
Another increased expense Schweitzer said they hadn’t planned on was the higher insurance. She said they had initially budgeted for the predicted 10 percent increase. However, in March the insurance showed almost a 30 percent increase, which the school was able to negotiate to just under an 18 percent increase, but that is still higher than the expected cost.
In the draft budget, Schweitzer said that it would have the school drawing about $600,000 out of the fund balance, but she believed this was the right thing to do since the funds are available in the fund balance. By using money from the fund balance, Schweitzer said they wouldn’t be asking tax payers for more money than the school needed.
Another factor in the budget is that the school district will not be recipients of the hold harmless exemption and declining enrollment exemption. Schweitzer said they had thought they were going to get that money and now found out they won’t be so that is about $186,000 less money coming in.
Schweitzer said the draft budget has a number of changing circumstances that could change the budget and that it is a moving target to figure out. However, she asked the board to approve the draft budget and that if it needs to be revised before the final budget is decided the board would be able to do so. The board approved the draft budget.
Resignation and hires.
The board approved the resignation of reading teacher Laura Kraft. The board also approved the hiring of LMC specialist Veronica Woodward, NHS advisor Wendy Pfundter and dance coach Samantha Neumann.
2013 state football championship celebration
Schweitzer spoke about the celebration being planned during this year’s homecoming on Sept. 21 to celebrate the 2013 state football championship team. She said halftime will be lengthened by 15 minutes and team members and coaches from the state winning team will be recognized on the field.
”There’s also going to be a fifth quarter put on by River Rail where the highlight of fifth quarter will be a showing of the state game so that we can watch that victory again and celebrate once again,” Schweitzer said.
Homecoming will also be Wolf River Community Bank night at the stadium. WRCB is celebrating being in Shiocton for one year and will be looking to keep their name in the community. They will be giving out T-shirts and cookies at the game.
Homecoming, Schweitzer said, should be a good time for the entire community.
“Just think it’s going to be a wonderful celebration and certainly I think it’s something that the kids need, not only the kids that performed and brought home that gold ball, but the kids that are now in that aspiration to become state champions,” Schweitzer said.
2019-2020 annual meeting
In preparation for the annual meeting on Sept. 17 the board approved Schweitzer’s recommendation to move next year’s meeting a week further out. The 2019-2020 annual meeting will be Sept. 23, 2019 (the fourth Monday of September). Schweitzer said this will give them more time to prepare for the meeting especially with the beginning of school being the first part of September.
Multi-purpose facility
Schweitzer gave an update on the multi-purpose facility and said everything is coming along and the ribbon cutting should be Nov. 1 as planned.
However, Schweitzer said they are still dealing with a water issue at the new building.
“The big concern that we have right now, we still have an issue where the two roofs are joining there is just something not working right and we are getting water into the building,” Schweitzer said. “It was more a bird bath size pool than a bathtub sized pool this morning and it just seems to be when we have those heavy torrential downpours.”
Schweitzer said the contractors continue to work on the issue and trying to find the problem. She said they are sure they will resolve the problem before the building opens.
Next meeting
The next meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 17 at the Shiocton LMC. The annual meeting will be first with the regular board meeting will follow.