School Board gets first peek at early budget

By Bob Peryea


The Big Foot High School Board got its first look at the 2012-13 preliminary school budget last Monday, which will be ready for citizen approval at the Annual Meeting at the end of October.

District Administrator Dorothy Kaufmann, who presented the preliminary budget to the School Board Aug. 6, noted expenditures on the preliminary budget were “way over budget.”

Staff at the school was already beginning to pare down the budget by eliminating some “wish list” items, she said.

State aid estimates, which were released in July by the Department of Public Instruction, reflect a 15.14 percent decrease for Big Foot High School from last year’s aid.

State aid for the school dropped $16,450 to $92,178 for this year, according to the district administrator.

“State aid is such a small portion of our budget that the effects won’t be real remarkable,” she noted.

The total preliminary budget stands at $10,479.000.

Administrative assistant Deb Way said that it might reflect a decrease in the tax levy for the coming year.

“We had the energy efficiency levy in the budget last year. We don’t have that this year,” she explained

Kaufmann clarified the current preliminary budget by saying, “This is very preliminary. A lot can change between now and the end of October, so we can’t make any promises at this point.”

Kaufmann also stated that revenue from property taxes is being estimated lower than last year. The lower property tax revenues were due at least in part to the reduced value of properties within the school district, she told the Board. She noted however that the certified equalized values would not be available until Aug. 15.

Kaufmann said staffers would continue to look at creative ways to get the budget in line.

Employing some of the school’s special education students in the foodservice department, she said, has been an effective way to reduce expenses.

The students get life experience and are paid for their work. The school is able to avoid hiring full-time staff, thus saving on the expense of benefits.

Board members listened intently as Kaufmann detailed various parts of the budget, asking some questions and   working with Kaufmann to find more ways to trim the budget.

Certain discretionary items were eliminated from the budget for the year. A pole vault kit valued at $12,000 was mentioned. There was also conversation about the purchase or lease of a new grounds tractor, as the current tractor is no longer usable.

The School Board will have discussions of the budget at each of its upcoming  meetings until the final budget is passed.

Between now and then, the Board is expected to approve a preliminary budget for citizen approval at the Annual Meeting, which is not yet scheduled. Kauffman expects it to take place in late October.


Board approves staff changes

The Board approved the resignations of three Big Foot staffers, and welcomed a new assistant football coach for the upcoming school year.

Stephanie Schauer, who has taught math for the past two years, gave her resignation so she can return to her hometown in Green Bay.

Anna Schmidt, an English teacher at Big Foot for the past three years, resigned for a post at McNeel Middle School in Beloit, where she lives.

The night time face of the custodial staff, Bob Lee, is moving on to the Sharon school district. Kaufmann, who delivered the resignations, called him “always pleasant” and “great with the public.”

The Board wished all three staff members well while also expressing their regrets in seeing them go.

Grade School teacher Brian Ryczkowski will be the newest coach to join the Chiefs’ athletic staff.

The Board approved hiring him as the assistant football coach. A teacher at Walworth Elementary School, he has been volunteering with the football staff for about a year.

In other business, the Board also approved hiring two part-time receptionists to cover the position of a staff member who has gone on to long-term disability. The positions will allow the school to save money, according to officials. The positions would be for while school is in session.


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