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GLENWOOD CITY — The Board of Education for the School District of Glenwood City listened to administrative reports including possible future budgeting concerns and accepted more donations during its November 14 regular meeting.
Budgeting has become a tightrope operation for many school districts in the State especially for those that have less than 1,000 students district-wide and are experiencing declining enrollment just like Glenwood City.
“Budgeting this year is a challenge,” said Superintendent Tim Johnson during a portion of his report to the board Monday evening.
In 2002, Johnson noted that nationally, districts spent approximately $7,700 annually per student with Wisconsin schools exceeding that amount by $1,100 which ranked the State 11th overall. But in 2020, while the national average had grown to $13,491 per pupil, Wisconsin schools had fallen behind with an annual funding average of $12,740 per student, 25th out of 50, with Glenwood City spending $11,688 on each of its students.
State-wide averages also show that districts receive state aid at a reimbursement rate of approximately 37 percent, Glenwood City is at 24 percent.
Inflation has also had a dramatic effect on the budgeting process according to Johnson. The Consumer Price Index or CPI, which is a measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services, is currently 4.7 percent and projected to soon reach 8 percent.
These factors place a budgeting burden on small, rural district like Glenwood City.
In the past six years, 313 districts in the state have held at least one referendum with approximately 70 percent passing Johnson told board members.
While he is not currently recommending it, Johnson did say that the district could investigate a possible operational referendum in the next few years.
Johnson also discussed substitute pay rates which Glenwood City recently raised to $140 for a full day and $75 for half a day in an attempt to lure more subs to the district. In a comparison with the other 38 districts that comprise CESA #11, only six school districts offered full-day sub rates that were higher and just two had better half-day rates.
“Subs are tough to come by,” stated Johnson. “But, we offer very competitive rates.”
Also during the administrative reports portion of the agenda, elementary principal Betsy Haltinner, middle school/high school principal Marcy Burch and district safety coordinator Erin McCarthy presented a detailed run down of the two professional development days that are planned for November 21 and 22 during the Thanksgiving break. The agenda includes vertical alignment discussions for staff members in grades three through 8 as well as data discussions.
Several donations secured by first-year agriculture teacher Kirsten Konder were approved by the board. Included in the list were a plasma cutter donated by Mississippi Welding Supply Company, monetary awards of $400 and $500 by Herdsman Feeds and Kwik Trip, respectively, to help covering transportation costs for the local FFA chapter’s recent trip to the national convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, a drake and hen spinner set donated by Lucky Duck Decoys of Baldwin as instructional tools for a waterfowl unit, and a $500 donation from the Topper Partnership Foundation to purchase supplies to construct four potato boxes for the school garden.
Finally, on a 4-2 vote, members approved a change to the employee handbook that will allow for an additional pay out of $25 to staff members who surrender their prep time to help cover other classes during times of staff shortages. Lisa Kaiser, Chuck Draxler, Sally Standaert and Jodi Main voted yes on the motion while Chuckie DeSmith and Nicole Miller voted against it.
The board’s next meeting is slated for Monday, December 12.