Layoffs in Menomonee Falls School District forecast to be fewer than expected

Layoffs could drop from 52 to 5.5 teachers

April 24, 2012

Menomonee Falls - Although nothing will be finalized until May, Menomonee Falls School District officials are anticipating no more than 5.5 full-time equivalent employee layoffs at the end of the school year.

The announcement was made during the Menomonee Falls School Board meeting Monday night while Superintendent Patricia Greco lead the final discussion on the 2012-2013 preliminary budget. When the budget was first looked at months ago, the district was projecting between seven to 12 layoffs, however, as numbers become more finalized that number was reduced.

There were 52 preliminary layoff notices sent out to teachers in the first week of April.

"We have a little bit of time before we have to declare final layoffs so we will continue to watch that," Greco said.

The district will have a balanced budget for the upcoming year and is anticipating a 0.5 percent levy reduction in fall, which equals a 5-cent reduction per $1,000 of property value. The tax rate would be $11.42 per $1,000 of property value in 2012-13 compared to $11.47 for the current school year.

The preliminary budget is necessary for the district to begin the staffing cycle early. Currently, the district is anticipating openings in high school math. They are also in the process of reviewing applicants for both the high school principal and assistant principal positions.

"We are requesting the preliminary budget approval based on the facts that are known and that's to allow us to complete the hiring and staffing decision to ensure we are competitive in the hiring process," Greco said.

The district initially anticipated a decrease in the revenue limit of 0.5 percent. Greco said the decrease in the revenue limit is now 0.8 percent, which is the allowable revenue limit set by state law.

State aid down, energy costs up

The district also faces a 15 percent decrease in state funding, which is a known amount since it's the second year of the biennium budget. The state funding decrease equals $100 per pupil. The district is also anticipating a 7.5 percent increase in energy costs. To mitigate this, Greco said they are planning energy-saving projects within the district, specifically at North Middle School by implementing energy-efficient lighting.

"We anticipate energy rates will go up. That's not a known quantity, it's what we're budgeting around," she said.

Shifting to self-insured health plan

To maintain a balanced budget, the district plans a number of cost saving measures, including a shift to self-funded insurance in January 2013.

"We're anticipating reduced transportation costs and reduced post-retirement benefits at a total of a 7 percent decrease with the impact hitting the 2013-14 planning," Greco said.

The district continues to research insurance plans.

The district is also reducing the cost of out-of-district placement for special education students by implementing programs within Menomonee Falls to cut costs of transportation and tuition payments at schools outside of the district. Greco said they are now anticipating a savings of $100,000 through this reduction, which is more than the $75,000 savings that was initially projected.

The preliminary balanced budget being proposed for the 2012-2013 school year that factors in the state and federal aide reductions and tax rate reduction is $47,401,254, which also includes the energy saving measures. The budget was $47,853,684 for the 2011-2012 school year and $49,200,216 in 2010-2011.

The actual budget will not be voted on until fall, once the district knows specific enrollment numbers. The board votes on the preliminary budget May 14.

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