Janesville70°

Clinton must cut $400,000 from school budget

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ANN MARIE AMES
May 14, 2008
— The Clinton School District needs to cut about $300,000 from its budget for next year but will add $75,000 in programming.

The district will cut three teaching positions, although the teachers will stay in the district in different positions because of attrition or staffing changes.


The district also will cut a part-time vocational consultant position. Building principals also are being asked to cut $8,000 from each school budget and 1.5 teacher aide positions.


The changes will go into effect over the next few months, Business Administrator Kathy Zwirgzdas said. The budget is an estimate at this point. The community in September will approve the final budget and changes to the tax levy.


Why are the cuts necessary?


-- State-imposed revenue caps have forced the district to cut about $200,000 from its budget every year. That’s because the state allows a 3 percent revenue increase while salaries, utilities and fuel go up about 4.5 percent every year, she said.


But the district lost an additional $112,000 in state money because of how the state calculates resident and non-resident student numbers, Zwirgzdas said. That leaves the district with a 1.7 percent increase instead of the usual 3 percent, she said.


While the district only lost a half percent of its students last year, the way they are counted for budgeting purposes makes it look like the district lost 4 percent, Zwirgzdas said.


-- The district is adding $75,000 in programming. That includes making the agriculture teacher full-time again next year.


The position was cut from full- to part-time in 2007—a move opposed by many district parents and alumni.


The other addition will turn a long-term substitute in the English-as-a-second language program into a full-time teaching position.


-- The district will not spend $135,000 in one-time expenses it had last year. The money came into Clinton when more students open-enrolled into the district than expected last year.


The state gives a district money when children open-enroll into a district. Clinton spent about $135,000 on textbooks, property, architectural fees and a geothermal study at the elementary school.


While the district isn’t losing that money, it looks like a loss when it is not included in next year’s budget, Zwirgzdas said.


Planning the budget was tough because of the unusually high amount of money lost, Zwirgzdas said. It was a relief not to have to cut programming like the district did last year, she said.


“It’s a chess game every year,” District Administrator Pam Kiefert said.


Cullen chosen to manage construction

The Clinton Community School District has hired Janesville contractor J.P. Cullen and Sons to manage construction work if the district passes a fall referendum.


The district will host an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 27, at Clinton Elementary School, 301 East St., to give district residents a chance to meet Cullen representatives and see the school’s construction needs.


Cullen will soon meet and tour the district with Bray Architects. Once Cullen finalizes a construction budget, the school board will be able to write resolutions to go to referendum in November, Business Administrator Kathy Zwirgzdas said.


Of Bray’s building options, the board’s working favorite costs $8.1 million. That includes $6.3 million in construction and upgrades at Clinton Elementary School and security upgrades to the middle and high schools.


By the numbers

A look at the tentative 2008-2009 budget for the Clinton School District:


Highlights: State-imposed revenue caps are forcing the district to cut $300,000 of staff and operating costs. The district will eliminate three positions through attrition or staffing changes. The district will add programming.


What’s next?: Administration will enact the changes over the summer. In September, district residents will approve the budget and tax levy changes during the annual meeting.


Operating budget

Next year: $13.2 million


This year: $13 million


Increase: 1.7%


Tax levy

Next year: Not available


This year: $4.05 million


Tax rate

(Per of equalized $1,000 values)


Next year: Not available


This year: $10.07


Note: Percent changes calculated on whole numbers.



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