Maple Dale Indian Hill to decrease budget, increase levy
First use of Act 10 powers allows cost cutting
Fox Point — The Maple Dale-Indian Hill School District will run a reduced budget in the coming 2013-14 school year, paired with an increased tax levy.
The School Board, alongside one district resident, approved the budget and levy at the district's annual meeting last week.
An approximately 1 percent hike in the district levy translates to a 9-cent increase to the district tax rate over last year, for a total of $7.43 per thousand of assessed property value.
For a resident with a $300,000 home that means a $2,229 district bill, a $27 increase over last year.
The levy increase is due to a combination of the district making its last round of borrowing for referendum-approved building projects and an increase in the state-mandated revenue limit, Business Manager Gary Swalve said.
Debt payments on the referendum projects will continue through the 2023-24 school year, Swalve said. The referendum passed in the 2009-10 year which allows the district to annually exceed the state-mandated revenue limit by $800,000 runs through the 2019-20 year.
The coming year marks the expiration of the negotiated contract teachers had in place when Gov. Scott Walker passed his 2011 budget repair bill, commonly referred to as Act 10. With the lapse of the contract, Maple-Dale Indian Hills teachers are now subject to the increased leverage of the School Board and money-savings "tools" of Act 10.
With the Act 10 tools, Swalve said, the district was able to make changes to its health insurance plan — like co-pay and deductible increases — in order to rein in the cost of healthcare, and now require teachers to contribute more toward the cost of premiums.
"We didn't get to a flat level," Swalve said. "If everything had been the same, we were probably looking at an increase of eight to nine percent (in overall health insurance costs.) We were able to get that down under two percent."
The district also saved money after five teachers retired near the top of the pay scale and were replaced by newer teachers at lesser salaries, Swalve said.
Between the health insurance savings, contribution increases for employees, and turnover savings the district budget decreased by nearly 7 percent, Swalve said.
He added that the district will likely continue to make changes to its health insurance in the coming years, and may solicit bids for its coverage next year in an effort to reduce costs further.
— Michael Meidenbauer
BY THE NUMBERS
percent increase in district levy
percent decrease in district budget
district tax rate, per $1,000 of assessed property value
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