Thursday, January 18, 2018

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Eau Claire school board OKs ‘trim’ $127M budget

District still below state average in funding per student, board president says

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The Eau Claire school board voted unanimously to approve the 2017-18 budget at its Monday night meeting and will hold a public hearing Wednesday.

“It’s a very trim budget this year because we did put such a big emphasis on our staff and promoting that high quality staff piece of our strategic plan,” business director Abby Johnson said.

According to online materials from the district, the district’s 2018 operating budget is $126,855,261. 

The budget includes about $5 million more in salaries and benefits. It also includes $200 more in aid per student from the state budget. The district will receive $816,786 less in federal funding for its operating budget and will operate with a roughly $1.5 million smaller revenue limit.

Revenue limits are based on property taxes and equalized aid.

Despite the increase in funding per student, board President Chris Hambuch-Boyle noted the district is still below the state average per pupil.

“Funding in the state of Wisconsin is still broken,” Hambuch-Boyle said. “I want that to be said in the way that our community understands, this conversation of our budget within the big picture.”

Community members can speak to the board about the budget at its public hearing.

The public hearing will be at 5 p.m. Wednesday in Room 137 at the Administration Building, 500 Main St.

Memorial project

The board heard a report from Larry Sommerfeld, director of buildings and grounds, on additional costs associated with a secure entryway project at Memorial High School.

The district originally budgeted roughly $1.7 million for work that will create a more secure entrance near the school’s main parking lot and renovations to the east of the gym.

When the project was bid, the district didn’t receive any general contractor bids, according to a report to the board. No masonry contractors were available.

Officials later learned the project’s cost wasn’t within the allocated budget, Sommerfeld said. The project will cost an additional $480,000. despite a 2,000 square-foot reduction of the project. However, Sommerfeld said low oil prices yielded significant savings in roofing and paving projects over the summer.

“What I’m projecting right now is that the savings that we have from the summer of 2017 are more than what the additional costs are expected for Memorial,” Sommerfeld said.

Contact: 715-830-5828, lauren.french@ecpc.com, @LaurenKFrench on Twitter


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