School district leaders react to budget - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

School district leaders react to budget


By Colby Robertson - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

DANE COUNTY (WKOW) -- School District Administrators across the state are now taking their first look at the budget and what they're calling devastating cuts.

Still at this point, they say they're left with more questions than answers. School leaders have been expecting this, but their hands have been tied up until Tuesday when official word came.

From Brodhead to Monona Grove to Sun Prairie, the cuts are being felt across the area.

News of the cuts are still sinking in for District Administrators across the state. Wednesday, they all spent much of the day in meetings getting their first look at the budget. It's too early for specific cuts, it's unclear how extensive they will be, but across the board they say cuts to staff and programs are inevitable.

John Schmitt, a La Crosse Math Teacher, says, "There is nothing left to save our schools. Even if everything came out as he said, our business director said we'd be down $700,000 which is layoffs, so when he talks about not making layoffs that's an out landish lie."

Cuts to art programs and varsity sports are just some of the programs being talked about in the Sun Prairie School District.

Deputy District Administrator in Sun Prairie Phil Frei says, "All those things that aren't directly related to reading and writing, so librarians, things we don't want to talk about in education because we feel they're very important, but things unfortunately sports, that's something a lot of districts will look at."

Sun Prairie is unique in the fact Monday night the school board gave teachers and support staff a one year contract extension in exchange for concessions in pay freeze and heath insurance. The exact same concessions asked in Governor Walker's budget repair bill minus the collective bargaining rights.

Frei says, "At least we know big big variables that will be in the budget for next year."

In Monona Grove, Superintendent Craig Gerlach says they'll have to dip into an emergency job fund. $850,000 in stimulus funds from last year. Even with that, he says they're facing a $3-4 million deficit in two years. He says it's absolutely devastating.


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