The Waunakee Board of Education approved a third draft of the school district’s 2019-2020 budget last week. Estimated expenditures have dropped nearly $775,000 from last month’s version of the budget.

The 4.7 percent increase in the tax levy has yet to change.

However, the draft did not take into account an additional $63 increase in per-pupil categorical aid expected to come from Gov. Tony Evers’ partial veto of the state budget earlier this month.

Seeing that the Waunakee Community School District is comprised of more than 4100 students, it would receive an additional $260,000 in per-pupil aid payments from the state, as a result. Along with higher property value, that increase in state aid could dramatically affect the levy.

Business manager Steve Summers said the governor’s veto has therefore rendered the third draft inaccurate, considering the district will now receive a larger portion of its revenue from the state.

He said a new version of the budget will need to be developed.

“Typically,” Summers said, “we ask the school board to approve the third draft of the budget in July and then bring that forward to the annual meeting and budget hearing in October. After discussion, the committee’s recommendation is that we adopt a fourth version of the budget.”

The business manager said the goal is to provide taxpayers with the most up-to-date information when they present the final version of the budget, so they can discuss any of their concerns.

“The intent behind the fourth draft will be to take a look at what the governor’s approval was,” Summers said, “make all appropriate changes for the fourth draft to bring forward to the annual meeting…to make sure we have the most current information available to the public in October.”

A fourth draft should be presented to the school board next month, he said.

“The fourth draft of the budget will come forward in August,” Summers said. “In September, we have our third-Friday-in-September student count. And then in October, the state of Wisconsin releases the property values for our community and the final equalization-aid information.”

Summers said that information will be shared at the school district’s Oct. 21 annual meeting, before the final budget is approved by the school board on Oct. 28.

He recommended that community members visit the district website for further information.

“You are able to see all of the budget documents going back to earlier this spring and winter,” Summers said. “The public is welcome to take a look at that information, and view all the documents that we’ve been using so far in the process.”

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