- The Ashwaubenon school board voted unanimously Wednesday night to approve the proposed 2023-24 budget: $41.5 million in Fund 10 money and nearly $4 million in Fund 27 money
- Of that revenue, the budget levied $18.4 million in taxes
- The district says it promised to levy less than the maximum based on the state budget, after the community passed an operational referendum in April — so this budget left out $256,952 in unused levy authority
- District staff and the board expressed displeasure about a state budget increase of private school vouchers, which levied $658,069 in Ashwaubenon, up over 50% from last year
- Video shows the board vote and students working at Valley View Elementary
(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)
The school board voted with a unanimous yes to approve a total budget of around $45.5 million — about $700,000 more than initially anticipated at the annual meeting this summer. I'm Karl Winter, your Ashwaubenon neighborhood reporter, and around 18 million of that budget will come in a levy from local taxpayers.
The board voted yes on the budget, which includes the $3.9 million in referendum money voters approved this year. It did not include about $250,000 the district did not ask the taxpayers for — holding true to its promise from the referendum in April.
"We have the authority to levy a larger levy than what we're going to because of this referendum, but we're not going to use it,"Assistant Superintendent Keith Lucius said. "So we're never going to ask the taxpayers for that."
That tax levy includes over $600,000 in vouchers for private schools — which Ashwaubenon School District is not pleased about.
"That does not show up on the tax bill," Superintendent Kurt Weyers said. "The tax bill shows it as 'Ashwaubenon public schools.' it doesn't show anything about private school vouchers."
Like any school district budget, a majority of the money goes toward staffing. Weyers said one of the district's priorities is maintaining small class sizes.
"If we weren't able to pass our current referendum last April, we were looking at about 31 teachers out of 270 that we would've been laying off," Weyers said.
Valley View Elementary principal Doug Pieschek says another district goal this year is improving reading and math test scores.
"The more exciting we can make reading, the better they're going to do," Pieschek said.
Weyers and Lucius said they anticipate the district will need another operational referendum in five years, so they welcome community questions to build trust and transparency.