Prescott School District, 1220 St. Croix St., Prescott, WI 54021, 715.262.5389
School Finance - The Three Legged Stool: The Story of School Finance in Wisconsin
Budget Cuts Planned if Referendum Fails
If this referendum fails, the school board and school administration will need to establish cuts of $1.46 million to compensate for the reduced revenue, plus additional cuts to compensate for the future funding gaps in state aid. Student academics are the first priority, so adjustments will be made in other areas including:
Q: Why the need for an increase?...What about state aid?
A: Schools are funded through a combination of state aid and local property tax.
In 1993, Wisconsin imposed a revenue limit, or a cap, on how much revenue a district can collect through property taxes. If the state increases aid, it may decrease the impact on local property taxes, but it does not increase the amount a district can receive. A district can only receive additional funding through property tax by approval of voters.
Budget vs. Revenue Chart
Assumptions: Budget increase 2% per year with State Aid Revenue at 1%.
The red line represents the average annual increase in the district’s expenses. The blue line represents the average annual revenue the district receives from the state. The gap between the two is the amount being requested through the levy cap override.
Q: How was the amount of the levy cap override determined?
A: A finance committee - of citizens, school board members, parents, and school staff - critically reviewed financial information to determine if a replacement levy cap override was needed.
This is common when a levy cap override is set to expire. The school board and administration also review school finances regularly. With an already frugal budget and a projected continuing gap in state funding, the finance committee recommended the amount and timing of the levy cap override. The school board accepted the recommendation.
Q: Are levy cap override elections common?
A: Yes. With the state funding decreasing on average from 66% to just over 50% of the revenue to fund school operations, communities frequently consider levy cap override referendums.
On February 16, 2016 Prescott School District residents will vote on a replacement levy cap override referendum to help address projected increased operating expenses for the next four school years.
Renewal and Increase of Operating Levy
The current 4-year levy cap override will expire at the end of this school year (2016). A finance committee reviewed budget information to determine future district revenue needs. Their recommendation is to renew the current levy (approved by voters in 2011) with an increase of $410,000 each year for the next four years. The increase is due to a gap in state funding that does not keep up with normal cost of living increases.
NOTE: This is an operating levy budget for the school district and is not related to the new high school or auditorium. A levy cap override for school district operations is common throughout Wisconsin and has been approved by Prescott voters in each operating referendum since 1999.
What is being asked of tax payers?
To RENEW the current levy cap override that is in place at $215 per year per $100,000 of home value, with an REQUESTED INCREASE of $46 per year per $100,000 of home value for the next four school years.
Teacher Salary Comparrison: A comparative average salary of Prescott Teachers compared to our CESA-Regional Consortium geographically representing West up to Turtle Lake. The Middle Border is highlighted and we are 5th of 7 with regard to salary.
Q: How much will this cost?
A: The chart below is a breakdown of the cost for the renewal, the increase, and what the total cost of the levy would be.
Q: How are school revenues used?
A: Local operating dollars provide a basic, well-rounded educational program in Prescott:
Q: What budget cuts have the district already implemented?
A: The district has realized substantial cost savings in the following areas:
The school board is committed to being proactive in undertaking cost containment steps whenever possible to reduce health care costs, utility costs, programming costs, etc. In addition, the school district has developed a continuous improvement plan at all buildings that can also apply to assessing the effectiveness of other district programs.
Q: Is this increase related to the new high school and auditorium?
A: No - this is an operating referendum that has been approved by voters multiple times since 1999. It is based on the three current buildings for the purpose of operating costs including employee wages, insurance, utilities, supplies, and maintenance.
Q: Why wasn't this request included in the recent referendum election?
A: The recent referendums were for building bonds and could only include the cost of construction.
Q: Why is the election in February?
A: February 16 is the earliest scheduled election date for our state. It was important to select the earliest possible election date to assure funding for May employment contracts, retention of highly qualified staff, and efficient budgeting for the 2016-2017 school year.
Below are video presentations with information about the upcoming vote on the excess levy override referendum February 16th.
Watch Community Information presentation online and have your questions answered!
If you missed Feb. 29th Special Board Meeting on PSD budget cuts, click here to download the presentation.