Monona Grove School District is looking at a potential seven figure hole in its 2021-22 budget, Business Services Director Jerrud Rossing reported June 9.
“We are looking at close to a $1 million deficit,” Rossing said. “We are definitely in a very unique and undesirable situation.”
The news comes after Wisconsin’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) approved a motion to give a zero dollar increase per pupil to k-12 schools. As the district lost 62 students last school year, Rossing said Monona Grove schools will need to see an influx of new students in order to fain more revenue next year.
“The district lost 62 students this past year, which means that in order for MGSD to receive additional funding to go towards inflation for health insurance, staffing costs, and wage increases, the district would have to receive over 80 new students to even start to see some increases in revenue,” he said.
In an average year, 75% of the district’s budget is reserved for staffing. To keep up with inflation, Rossing said the district would need $200 per pupil.
On top of a zero dollar increase per pupil for k-12, the JFC motion also accounts for a 0% increase to special education funding, though Gov. Tony Evers recommended a 45% increase. If the JFC had backed Evers’ 45% increase, MGSD would be looking at an additional $1.2 million in funding next school year.
Rossing said he’s doubtful Evers will have much leeway in making changes to the budget.
“As we continue to monitor the situation at the state capitol, it looks like some of these things are some uphill battles for even the governor to make changes to the state budget, if it’s passed as is,” said Rossing.
The JFC budgetary motion is currently making its way to the full state legislature. If passed, the motion will then go to Evers, who could decide to enact an entire budget veto.
Rossing said that although the fiscal year begins July 1, the district likely won’t know it’s final budget until four to five months after that. The school board will vote on a preliminary budget at its June 23 meeting.
If the JFC budgetary motion is passed as is, Rossing confirmed the district will be forced to look at some “serious cuts.”
“We, for a long time, have been underfunded as school districts, especially in public education, and we continue to see that moving into the next budget,” he said. “We continue to go up against a pretty large wall that’s being built for us on school funding.”