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Nicolet Faces 15% Cut in State Aid

The DPI released state funding numbers for the 2012-13 school year and Nicolet will take the largest cut. Fox Point-Bayside and Maple Dale-Indian Hill also face cuts, but less than one-fifth of what Nicolet will see.

Following the Wisconsin trend, Nicolet, Fox Point-Bayside and Maple Dale-Indian Hill School Districts are all going to see cuts in state funding for the 2012-13 school year.

In a report released Monday, 64 percent of the Department of Public Instructions' school districts are facing cuts to state funding for the coming school year. 

Nicolet High School District will take the deepest cut among local districts, at 15.1 percent, a drop of $243,210. Fox Point-Bayside and Maple Dale-Indian Hill School Districts will take less drastic cuts in state aid, at 3.11 and 0.85 percent respectively. 

Patrick Gasper is a communications officer with the DPI and said there's a wide variety of reasons Nicolet was hit so much harder than the other two districts. And while Gasper said the state aid funding formula is quite complicated, there are three key items to consider: membership, local property values and shared cost. 

"If their percent student membership dropped and their property values went up compared to the others, that's sort of a double hit against them (Nicolet)," Gasper said. "In general terms, the increase in number of students means increased aid."

But the other possible hit against Nicolet is the inverse relationship between local property values and state aid. Gasper said if property values go up, the district receives less aid. 

Nicolet District Administrator Rick Monroe said this cut comes without surprise to him, but good planning means the district's budget is right on track. 

"Nicolet High School District was expecting this reduction, and it has already been factored into our budget, therefore, our budget is right on target," Monroe said. 

Here's a breakdown of the cuts coming to each district. You can compare all 424 school districts here.

School District 2012-13 Gen. Aid 2011-12 Gen. Aid Dollar Change % Change Nicolet High School $1,367,249 $1,610,459 $243,210 -15.10 Fox Point-Bayside School $1,528,307 $1,577,336 $49,029 -3.11 Maple Dale-Indian Hill $443,580 $447,369 $3,789 -0.85

Despite the majority of Wisconsin schools experiencing a drop this coming year in funding, overall school funding has increased to $4.293 billion, up 0.7 percent, the release said. These numbers are still down 7 percent from two years ago however, when Gov. Scott Walker cut $834 million from schools in his 2011-13 biennial budget.  

The DPI has to share an estimate of these numbers in July so schools have a chance to prepare for the changes, modeling budgets around prospective cuts or increases. Gary Swalve, business administrator for the Maple Dale-Indian Hill School District, also said these are numbers the district was budgeting for so there won't be any impact on the district. 

Aid return still leaves FPBS in the hole

For the 2011-12, the Fox Point-Bayside School District was one of a very small percentage in Wisconsin who actually received aid instead of additional cuts. But even with essentially seeing a return of roughly $50 per student, District Administrator Rachel Boechler said the district is still in the hole and considering a referendum.

"We lost $750 per student in 2011-12, and now this year, (the state) gave us $50 back," Boechler said in an earlier interview with Patch. "But basically, we’re $700 down per student and that’s our operational income."

However, she said there are will plenty of factors to consider that could impact the 2012-13 budget.

"We are still looking at a number of issues that will impact our final budget including state aid, student enrollment, and property valuations before making any adjustments," Boechler said Monday. "The final budget will go to the (School) Board on October 22 and we will know with certainty about any needed adjustments by then."

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