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Muskego School Board Moves Forward On Budget Assumptions

Realizing there's a lot that can happen that is out of their control, the board votes to move forward using 'conservative numbers' to anticipate state aid impact and the result on the tax levy.

Prior to the Muskego-Norway School Board discussing and making a decision on budget assumptions for the 2012-2013 year, one resident asked why the highest number for a tax increase was being used.

Scot Ecker, who had developed the preliminary budget projections explained that he hoped the numbers were "overly cautious" in projecting a 4.89 percent increase to the tax levy as the decrease in state aid would decrease by an additional 5.6 percent from the 2011-2012 school year. The assumptions allow the district to begin planning for staffing and facilities needs in the coming year, but all agreed the situation with the state required flexibility.

"We know our expenses, but because we could be on the losing side of how it gets distributed," said Supt. Dr. Joe Schroeder. "We were one of the big losers this past year (when the state cut aid), so we're hoping that these numbers will prepare us for the coming year."

Eric Schroeder expressed concern over whether the district would again be getting the short end of the stick when it came to how the state distributes or cuts aid, to which Ecker said, "could it get worse? Possibly, but the projections we have are based on the best information available to us now."

The state's Department of Public Instruction won't release its numbers until May or June, Ecker explained. He said "I would rather have higher assumptions now, and have good news later than vice versa."

Property taxes made up 64 percent of the funding for total budget in 2011-2012; 2012-2013 early estimates place that number at 67 percent. The board will not vote on the actual tax levy until late in October.

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