SDMA Budget

SDMA Budget
Posted on 04/02/2015

As previously reported, current estimates resulting from the governor’s proposed state budget result in a deficit for the School District of the Menomonie Area of close to $1 million for the 2015-2016 school year. Nearly half of that budget deficit is directly related to the elimination of state per pupil aid, while the other half of the deficit comes from the revenue limit freeze that eliminates new revenue that is needed for projected inflationary increases such as salaries, benefits, consumables, etc., and other changes in school district needs and priorities. Next year’s budget in Menomonie is also impacted by the need for local funding to pick up costs for student academic interventions in buildings no longer qualifying for federal funding.

Over the past several weeks, district officials have been holding meetings and listening sessions to collaborate with staff members and get more input from the board and other stakeholders as the budget continues to be developed for consideration in the months ahead. We are hopeful that the legislative process will improve the fiscal landscape for K-12 public education before the final state budget is approved, but it is still unclear if legislators (including our local representatives and state senators) are willing to address these concerns on behalf of the public schools in our communities.

One of the greatest challenges facing school officials in setting the budget is that many difficult decisions need to be made without knowing all of the important information. It is unlikely that the final state budget will be approved by the legislature before June, yet state law requires that most employment contracts in the school district to be issued by May 15. In Menomonie, we are doing everything we can to prioritize direct student services, instructional programming, and acceptable class sizes. As we build next year’s budget, we are mindful about what is needed most in order to continue offering the personalized, rigorous and well-rounded educational experience that has made our progressive school district so attractive to a large number of students, families, employees, and prospective businesses over the years.

While the district is considering several efficiencies that include the service models currently employed in our human resources department, athletics, and school libraries, it is probable that next year’s budget will be mostly balanced by freezing compensation and benefits for all school district employees. While compensation for some employee groups might be competitive enough to better handle this type of consideration for one year, this is not the type of solution that can be relied upon in the future if we intend to maintain the quality of education that is expected in our local schools. If the state budget is not improved by the legislature, and public schools continue to receive lesser emphasis at the state level, it is likely that the school district will be forced to ask taxpayers for additional local support or face possible reductions in some of the basic services and programs for our students. 

Should school stakeholders have any questions about the budget, or anything else in our school district, I invite you to visit the Administrative Service Center on Pine Avenue or contact me at 715-232-1642. More information about our schools can be found on the school district website ( and on Twitter (