State aid estimate for Janesville School District up 3.75%
JANESVILLE Now that Janesville School Board members have received a state aid estimate, they can start fleshing out the budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year.
The district expects to receive roughly $64.98 million of state aid. That’s up 3.75 percent from last year’s figure of $62.63 million.
The increase will be partially offset because the state lowered the maximum property tax that the district can levy.
The school board will discuss the budget at Tuesday’s meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Educational Services Center, 527 S. Franklin St.
Last week, the district estimated that its operating budget would total about $115 million if it continued staffing and services at current levels. On Friday, Chief Financial Officer Keith Pennington said revenues likely would fall short of that by $8 million.
School Board President Bill Sodemann said, according to his calculations, the lowered tax rate combined with the increased state aid means that the district will receive about $1 million more than last year, an increase of about 2.4 percent.
“Even if we tax to the max, so to speak, it’ll be a tax reduction,” Sodemann said. “The local taxpayer should see a bit of relief, and we’ll make up the difference with cuts to services or compensation and insurance, or we could also use Fund 10.”
Fund 10 is an accumulation of “plusses and minuses of past years’ operating fund,” otherwise known as a rainy day fund, Pennington said.
The district also received notice Friday that the federal government approved Wisconsin’s proposal to waive certain provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act. To receive confirmation, the state had to demonstrate how it would use the increased flexibility to improve school performance.
Superintendent Karen Schulte said one major change would be lowering of “cell size” from 40 to 20 students.
A lowered cell size means it will be easier to track the performance of traditionally high-needs student groups such as English-language learners and impoverished students, even in schools where their numbers are minimal.
“It might be hard to adjust to, but it’s the right thing to do,” Superintendent Karen Schulte said.
If you go
The Janesville School Board meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Educational Services center, 527 S. Franklin St.
Agenda items include:
-- Discussion about the repeal of a state law mandating high schools keep a registrar on staff to facilitate voter registration.
-- An update on the 2012-13 budget
-- Discussion about non-mandatory 2012-13 capital improvement items.
The meeting will be carried live on Janesville cable channels 96 and 993. The meeting will be shown again at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and at 9 a.m. Wednesday through Friday of the next week.