The Waunakee school board has approved the third draft of its budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year, with a projected tax levy of $34.7 million.

It would equate to a 3.3 percent increase from the year prior.

“At the July school-board meeting,” Executive Director of Operations Steve Summers said, “we request school-board approval of the third draft of the budget to allow us to proceed with our planning process for the annual meeting and the opening of schools in the fall.”

Expenditures for ‘20-21 have been estimated at $76,189,766. Salaries and benefits would account for more than $37 million, representing a six-percent increase from the previous fiscal year.

Additional staffing would amount to 11.91 FTE.

The district’s tax base has been projected to increase slightly less than its levy, resulting in a tax-rate increase of eight cents to $10.94. School tax on a $360,000 home would equate to $3,938.

“Administration has been directed to prepare a fourth draft of the budget,” Summers said, “to reallocate funds and to create resources for school-reopening-related expenses… It may take us to the August board meeting to actually come up with a complete reallocation plan.”

Director Jack Heinemann reported that the district’s COVID response is estimated to result in additional 2020-21 expenses of up to $500,000.

Budget-committee members have directed administration to explore funding options for the cost.

“Even though we’re looking to bring back where we would find the funds,” administrator Randy Guttenberg said, “we also need to start expending dollars on some of these expenses as soon as possible. So some of that was part of the motion as well, so that we could continue to move forward.”

Budget requests related to the reopening of schools could be presented as early as July 27.

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