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Wisconsin Dells school board prepares for 2020-21 budget shortfall
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Wisconsin Dells school board prepares for 2020-21 budget shortfall


The Wisconsin Dells School Board discussed budget amendments as well as the projected 2020-21 budget deficit at its June 29 meeting, looking at possible future solutions.

According to District Administrator Terry Slack, the district will face a deficit of at least $907,028, potentially up to $1,409,030. Business Manager Deb Michel said the district expects to finish the current financial year with a surplus of more than $700,000, which will carry over into next year.

“Part of that $745,000 is for three-year facility projects that are not completely finished by the end of this year,” Michel said. “We want to be able to use the funds that were budgeted this year, we want to carry those over for next year, so that we can continue our three-year facility improvements.”

Those projects, the new high school greenhouse and the new solar power project at Spring Hill, will command a total of $145,000 and project to be finished by the end of the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Michel emphasized what the worst-case scenario for the 2020-21 deficit would be, which would see the state cut down the district’s revenue per student by $50, as well as decreasing special education aid. To cover the district’s bases, Michel said the board should approve a funding allocation of $1,554,030, in order to cover both the two improvement projects and the highest limit of district losses for the upcoming year.

With this allocation, Michel and Slack project the district’s fund balance to sit at $6,055,806, which comes out to just over a quarter of the budgeted expenditures. Slack said that the district may need to look to financial fixes should the worst-case deficit scenario come to pass.

“It may put the district in the position that it once again will need to borrow for short-term cash flow needs when the district’s cash reserves are at their lowest before tax settlements in July and January,” Slack said.

The board approved the worst-case scenario allocation, not wanting to be caught flat-footed should that happen.

In other business, the school board voted to begin a partnership with Verona-based Sports AdvantEdge, which will provide athletic training services for the district. According to an information sheet provided by Slack, staff from Sports AdvantEdge will be on school grounds every day school is in session, working with both school staff and coaches to provide training, nutrition education and strength and conditioning classes.

If the district has to provide online education due to COVID concerns, Sports AdvantEdge will offer online education for students as well.

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