Citizens approve balanced budget, with minimal tax levy increase

By Bob Peryea

Correspondent

Williams Bay citizens on Monday unanimously approved a $7 million school district budget, which includes a $6.92 million tax levy.

School Board President Dianna Woss told the small turn out of voters that this is “our opportunity to question, celebrate and plan the future of the district.”

In a 17-0 vote, attendees at the school district’s annual meeting at Williams Bay High School passed the proposed budget which won’t be formally approved until October, when the state releases equalized property evaluations.

The budget includes a 3 percent Consumer Price Index salary increase for employees and adds two new full-time teaching positions to the staff. The first salary increase will be the first for district staffers in two years.

A significant increase in revenue is being realized by funding from open enrollment, according to District Administrator Vance Dalzin.

“We’re the school of choice,” he said. “But it’s a competitive world.”

Twelve percent of the district’s budget will be received from open enrollment revenues with a net gain of approximately 96 students into the district.

“We have to be careful.” Dalzin said in an interview after the meeting. “We can’t base our whole future on open enrollment. We only receive about two-thirds (of the normal revenues from the state) per child.”

The 2012-13 school district budget includes a property tax increase of .57 percent or approximately five cents per $1,000 of property value.

This increase is in contrast to the 2011-12 budget which saw a $600,000 reduction in staff and programs.

The 2012-13 budget for the Williams Bay School District is $7,019,991 – a 4.56 percent increase over the previous year.

The budget presented is balanced with projected revenues.

The annual meeting was Dalzin’s first with the district, having replaced former administrator Fred Vorlop who suddenly resigned in June of 2011.

Speaking of the proposed budget, Dalzin discussed some of the focuses that this budget contains.

“There are more resources on technology,” he said. “We are also doing progressive things with math intervention and peer intervention in the high school.”

Dalzin commended the School Board for achieving a balanced budget.

“We have a great board,” he said. “They are hard-working, student-centered and always do their homework. This year we wanted to put the focus on public engagement.”

When asked about the small turnout for the annual meeting and the tax levy vote, Dalzin said, “I see it as positive thing. We had the budget up on the district’s website for people to print out. I think lots of people were able to satisfy their questions with information we gave them.

“We should be proud of what we have done so far, but we do have some challenges,” he continued.

Still, Dalzin has confidence the community will carry the district forward.

“I feel fortunate to be working in a district that cares about the schools and the kids.”

The next annual meeting has been scheduled for July 22, 2013. Classes resume for Bay students Tuesday, Sept. 4.

 
 

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