SDMA Budget Update 4-12-24

SDMA Budget Update 4-12-24
Posted on 04/12/2024
Dear SDMA Families and Staff,

As you know, the School District of the Menomonie Area is approaching a difficult budget situation. Expenses in the SDMA are projected to exceed revenues allowed by the state, so beginning with next school year, the school district will be operating with a budget deficit. The chart below illustrates a projected operating budget deficit that begins next year at $3.4 million and grows to $5.3 million by 2029. Without additional revenue or reductions to the budget, the district's operating fund balance is projected to drop from $16.4 million to -$5.3 million during that time. The depletion of the district's fund balance is a major concern, with the district needing about $11 million in order to manage expenses through the year.

SDMA Projected Deficits & Ending Fund Balance

Thankfully, the SDMA enters this challenge with an unassigned fund balance of $16.4 million, which will provide the school board with some flexibility as difficult decisions need to be made. It is estimated that the district could spend down about $5.4 million of this fund balance without needing to take out short-term loans.

On April 8, the school board directed administration to develop a preliminary budget for the 2024-25 school year that includes $1.8 million in budget cuts (Level 1 in the attached list). These cuts will defer long term capital maintenance funding and reduce several budgeting areas that were typically kept at a higher level to protect the district from unanticipated changes in the economy. Cuts are never easy, but the Board is working hard to protect mandated services and provide a great educational experience for ALL students and staff. District staffing levels will mostly stay status quo for next year, but French instruction at MHS will be discontinued and there will no longer be building-level technology positions to support technology integration in our schools. 

Over the next several weeks, the administrative team will be further collaborating with district staff and inviting the community to participate in the development of additional budget solutions. The attached list of potential budget reductions will continue to change as input is received and more information becomes known. Due to the negative impact on SDMA students, staff, schools, and community, Board members have indicated that they prefer not to make reductions beyond the Level 1 cuts until some of the fund balance is spent down and the possibility of another referendum is more thoroughly explored.

SDMA families and community members are welcome and encouraged to provide input on the district's budget decisions. Questions, concerns, and ideas may be sent to District Administrator Joe Zydowsky ([email protected]) and/or School Board President Rachel Henderson ([email protected].us). Communications will be collected and distributed to all school board members for their consideration throughout the budgeting process. 

Thank you for your continued support of the School District of the Menomonie Area. By working together, we can best align our school district's resources with the needs and expectations of the students, staff, families, and community that we serve.

Best regards,

Joe Zydowsky
Joseph E. Zydowsky, PhD
District Administrator
School District of the Menomonie Area
215 Pine Avenue NE
Menomonie, WI 54751
Phone: (715) 232-1642
"The School District of the Menomonie Area, by embracing the unique needs and using the strengths of our diverse community, is dedicated to preparing ALL students to become lifelong learners, caring individuals, and responsible citizens."