With a projected budget deficit of $485,000 and the additional $56,000 cost of the East Troy School District’s “impact needs” the School Board was faced with cutting $540,000 from the 2019-20 budget at Monday night’s meeting.

Business Manager Kathy Zwirgzdas presented the budget proposal and outlined the difficulties the district is facing with making ends meet.

One of the big issues is the 16 percent increase in the district’s employee health insurance. Zwirgzdas said administration’s initial projections for this year included an 8 percent increase, but because of some serious health problems in some employees families, the increase came in at double their projections.

“Our hearts go out to the employees and their families through this,” Zwirgzdas said.

She added that the district put the health insurance out to bid to see if they could find better rates, but that they had no takers.

“No one wanted us,” she said.

The impact needs include creating another fifth-grade class to keep class sizes down to reasonable levels. Prairie View Elementary School will internally reconfigure and move a part-time teacher to full time to create the class, Zwirgzdas said.

Zwirgzdas and District Administrator Chris Hibner both said one thing the district would not do for the next school year was cut teachers.

“We don’t believe a reduction can occur anymore without significant increases in class sizes,” Hibner said. “There will be no FTE (full-time employee) reductions in the district.”

Zwirgzdas said that none of the potential reductions the district was looking at were ideal or painless.

“I think we all agreed they weren’t pretty,” she said. “We’re looking at the least amount of evil now.”

Faced with more than a half a million in cuts, Zwirgzdas said the first place they looked was at the cost of the employee health insurance and came to the conclusion that the plans the district offers would have to be changed and employee contribution would have to be increased and the district will cover 8 percent of the increase.

For the full story, see this week’s edition of the East Troy Times/News.


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