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Fox Point-Bayside prepares for more budget cuts

Projected state aid, revenue cap might fall short

Feb. 19, 2013

Fox Point - When the subject of Fox Point-Bayside's 2013-14 budget came up a month ago, administrators in the district indicated belt-tightening would be a highly likely scenario.

At the time, Director of Business Services Amy Kohl indicated she was projecting receipt of about $50 per student from the state.

But a month later, as details of Gov. Scott Walker's 2013-15 biennial budget are being released, it appears the district will be working at a zero-base dollar figure.

While Walker has indicated he supports increasing funding toward the voucher school program, his proposed budget does not include an increase in the state-imposed revenue cap. If plans move forward, it means districts will not receive additional income through the state or the property tax levy - which, in Fox Point-Bayside's case - is its largest source of revenue.

With her projected $50-per-student projection, Kohl said Fox Point-Bayside could have incurred a $15,500 gain in the district's revenue-limit authority - a scenario that still would necessitate budget cuts.

Instead, Kohl said she is expecting the district to take a $37,500 loss, based on enrollment figures from the district's three-year rolling average. The reversal in what had been projected will result in even greater challenges as specific details start dropping into the 2013-14 budget document.

"We knew, and have known, that there were going to be challenges," Kohl said. "But now we're going to have to place extra focus in certain areas."

With the majority of Fox Point-Bayside's budget going toward personnel costs - salaries and benefits - administrators in the district maintain there is not a lot of wiggle room before resorting to staff cuts and increased class sizes.

Dan Westfahl and Don Galster, principals of Stormonth Elementary and Bayside Middle schools, respectively, have each been charged with reducing their building budgets by 10 percent for the 2013-14 school year. Some of the dollars, however, will be transferred over to the district's curriculum budget.

Priorities are being examined, and some maintenance projects might be deferred - in the short-term, at least - in favor of continuing to fund curriculum and technology.

While it likely will not yield a significant cost savings, copying costs are one area of focus administrators plan to zero in on in the upcoming school year. District Administrator Rachel Boechler said Fox Point-Bayside spends about three times the amount a district of its size should be spending on copying costs.

"Other than that, there's not a whole lot else," Boechler said of easy targets in the budget cutting process. "It's already been getting pretty thin."

Other expenditures - including transportation - are outside of the district's control because of a shared arrangement with Nicolet High School, the other two K-8 feeder districts and area private and parochial schools.

But transportation is one of several examples Fox Point-Bayside has used over the years to pool resources with neighboring districts, both inside and outside the immediate Nicolet community.

"We're going to be looking further at how we can do shared services to any degree we can," Boechler said.

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