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Public input sought in budgeting

Feb. 13, 2013

Shorewood - Shorewood residents will have the opportunity to weigh in on the school district's 2013-14 budget planning twice this month through community input sessions.

In a budget update to the School Board on Tuesday, Business Services Director Mark Boehlke said the projected budget shortfall has been significantly reduced, from what was originally projected at $435,000 to about $39,400.

Several factors are contributing to this change, Boehlke said, including turnover savings resulting from teacher retirements, the elimination of a sixth-grade section at Atwater Elementary due to enrollment changes, a lower anticipated health insurance rate increase of 4 percent, versus 7 percent, and the conversion of additional employees to paying 12.6 percent of their health insurance premiums, up from 5 percent.

Teacher salary increases currently are being set at 2 percent for the purposes of planning, Boehlke said, but that amount could change.

Other factors still need to be considered in planning, Boehlke said, such as a potential need for additional staff support for English Language Learners and students with cognitive and learning disabilities, implementation of alternative high school programming, the filling of vacant positions, and whether to budget for Health Reimbursement Arrangement contributions in lieu of defined teacher benefits.

The district's goal is to develop a balanced budget that supports the district's five-year financial plan.

The board will be asked to consider approving a preliminary 2013-14 budget recommendation in March, Superintendent Martin Lexmond said. This is earlier than usual, he said, primarily to give administration the ability to hire new teachers sooner, in order to recruit the best.

At a glance

WHAT: community input sessions for Shorewood School District 2013-14 budgeting

WHEN: 8:30 a.m. Thursday WHERE: Atwater Early Elementary Center, 2100 E. Capitol Drive

WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: library of Shorewood High School, 1701 E. Capitol Drive

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