The Waunakee school board was presented budget requests from members of its administrative team last week as part of the district’s annual budget planning process.
But requests presented at the May 26 meeting differed from those of years past in a major way.
Executive Director of Operations Steve Summers explained that the requests included items that buildings and departments anticipate needing within the next two to five years.
“We asked the members of the administrative team to create budget requests beyond just a single budget year,” Summers said. “Now that’s different than what we’ve done in the past, where we asked our admin team to be more singular-year-focused in most requests.”
Summers said the purpose of having managers submit requests spanning multiple years was to help the district plan for upcoming budget years, as well as an operational referendum question.
That question would likely appear alongside a bond question in April, he said.
“The requests were developed to align with both the 2020-21 budget planning process and the November 2020 referendum planning process,” Summers said. “Since we are no longer moving ahead with a November 2020 referendum process, the majority of requests will now be evaluated for the April 2021 referendum planning process.”
Requests included staffing increases at each of the schools, contract extensions, increased funding for instructional and developmental resources, and a wage increase for all employee groups.
Superintendent Randy Guttenberg said the board would need to consider the timing of each.
“Not everything in the presentation is meant to be a year-one request,” Guttenberg said. “We realize the budgetary constraints that we’re going to have. So our next step is to come back and see what may fit into our priorities, and if we have dollars available.”
Arboretum Elementary principal Sheila Weihert presented the request for an associate-principal position at her school, which she projected the facility needing within the next two years.
She pointed to the benefits collaborative leadership would provide students and staff.
“It is priceless what collaboration can do,” Weihert said. “At the same time, I think that position could also serve our district well by having some joint responsibilities. For example, it could be support for 4-year-old kindergarten or the mentoring program. Those are just some examples.”
Heritage Elementary principal Dan Carter presented the request for both an associate principal and a reading interventionist — positions he projected the school needing within two years as well.
He cited growth at the facility, whose population has increased nearly 50 percent since 2015.
“We had 330 students (that year),” Carter said. “Now we’re probably close to 500 students… So it’s just looking at sheer numbers alone. We’re at the point where another reading interventionist would be very helpful for the students there.”
Prairie Elementary principal Dean Kaminski presented the request for a contract extension for his associate principal, to make it consistent with other AP contracts in the district.
“Right now,” Kaminski said, “our associate principal is at 200 days. Due to other responsibilities that come up throughout the summer, we would really love to see that become a 238-day contract…There’s extra days that she usually ends up giving, on top of what she’s already doing.”
The principal requested an increase of 0.5 FTE for his school’s math interventionist as well.
High-school requests included a testing/online coordinator to organize state and AP testing, an evening student-supervisor position and an administrative assistant to help with attendance.
Principal Brian Borowski presented the request, stressing the need for a testing coordinator.
“That would be the most important position that I’d be putting forward,” Borowski said. “Currently, our counselors organize all the state tests – ACT, Apsire, Forward – and AP testing. All those are a pretty massive undertaking…So we would rather one person do that.”
Curriculum requests for the next two years included a 0.5 FTE middle-school interventionist, a 20-day contract extension for Pathways coordinator and funding for Infinite Campus registration.
IT, Student Services, Facilities and administration submitted multiyear budget requests as well.