Clintonville board OKs deficit budget
At least $400,000 deficit projected
By Bert Lehman
The Clintonville School Board approved a budget for the 2022-23 school year that has a $400,000 to $500,000 deficit.
The board approved the budget at its Oct. 24 meeting. A budget hearing was held earlier in the evening.
At the budget hearing it was revealed that the deficit would have been more if the district didn’t have Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III (ESSER) funds available to use. The ESSER funds were approved by Congress as relief due to the impact of covid.
Lindsay Norder, district business manager, told the board that the enrollment in Clintonville has increased by 42 students this year. The number of students open enrolling into the Clintonville School District decreased by one student, and the number of students open enrolling out of the district decreased by six students.
“Overall, I’m projecting that revenue will go up for the year,” Norder said. “Something I want you to notice is that our federal grant is a very large increase, and what that is, we are planning to utilize the rest of our ESSER III funding.”
She said the district’s remaining ESSER funds will be depleted by the end of the budgeted fiscal year.
Norder said the majority of expenses are for employee salaries and benefits.
Norder said the district’s total expenses are budgeted to increase for 2023-24, adding that she has already met with District Administrator Troy Kuhn about potential budget cuts.
“Neither of us are satisfied with that number and we will do everything we can to try to get the number down to be more in line with what we feel is appropriate,” Norder said.
Norder said the district is projecting a budget deficit of $400,000 to $500,000.
“We are going to be reducing (undesignated) fund balance and our fund balance will then be equal to just under 17% of the overall expenses for the year,” Norder said.
School Board President Ben Huber asked what the deficit was in the original budget approved by the board the previous year.
“It was a deficit of $480,000,” Norder said.
Huber pointed out that the district had a budget surplus of around $100,000 at the end of the 2021-22 school year.
Norder said the main reason there was a surplus at the end of that year was because of the ESSER II funds that the district was able to use during the school year.
“Expenses did not go down, if anything they went up, but we were able to offset that with the revenue from the ESSER Covid funds,” Norder said.
“And this is the fiscal cliff that every superintendent is discussing across the state of Wisconsin,” Kuhn said.
Board member Glen Drew Lundt asked if the remaining ESSER funds would cover the budget deficit in the proposed 2022-23 budget.
Norder said the remaining ESSER funds are already included in the budget. Without the ESSER funds the deficit would have been a lot more than $500,000.
She added that the budget uses roughly $983,000 in ESSER funds.
The approved property tax rate in the budget was $10.74 per $1,000 of equalized value, which has remained the same since the 2018-19 budget, Norder said.
“We have kept it flat ever since, and through the referendum process it was promised that we would not raise that mill rate,” Norder said.
Norder added that although the mill rate will be the same as last year, the amount residents pay in property taxes may increase because of increases in the valuation of properties in the district.
“Unfortunately, because of the equalized value increase, that increases your taxes ultimately,” Norder said.
The equalized value increases for the towns, villages and cities in the school district ranged from 1.8% for the city of Clintonville to 16.9% for the town of Deer Creek and the town of Maine.
Huber said municipalities in Outagamie and Shawano counties saw significant increases in the equalized value of properties.
“We do not control what your tax is on your bill every year,” Norder said.