(Update 3/11/14: At last night’s committee meetings the Board acknowledged the large amount of surplus revenue that comes from a district wide 4K program. A majority of board members now appear set to approve the implementation of 4K here in WGSD. The 4K community meeting is now even more relevant than before – hope to see you there!)
It is my opinion that the former WGSD district administrator and Board Member Dan Jensen have dragged their feet long enough on producing a meaningful budget projection that shows the financial impact of starting a district wide four-year-old-kindergarten (4k) program in WGSD.
As a result, I will be accepting Dan Jensen’s Facebook challenge and giving a presentation to the community regarding 4K next Thursday, March 13th, at 6 pm in the Waterford Library. I attempted to do a similar presentation at the February 17th Board meeting, but was not permitted to use a projector and screen. Please attend for an overview of 4K and the potential benefits to the WGSD community.
Because Dan Jensen is chair of the WGSD Finance Committee I have put him on notice that he should do the right thing and present a properly documented budget projection for 4K on Monday, March 10th, during his Finance Committee meeting. He has already planned to do this, but his email summary to me was riddled with errors and completely unacceptable.
You can view the full email exchange to better understand my concerns. There will be more information and supporting documentation posted later this week.
from: Matt Kranich email@example.com
to: Dan Jensen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
cc: WGSD Board and Administration
date: Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 10:28 AM
subject: Re: Review of 4K
With all due respect, you have a very elementary understanding of state aid and revenue limits. The information I previously provided answers all of your questions related to my state aid calculations for WGSD. What I did is what business managers all over the state do when trying to determine future state aid amounts. Please take the time to review it and then let me know if you have any questions. You might also consider talking to Superintendent Joch.
Regarding revenue limits, your simple math does not apply here in WGSD because we are a very wealthy district with declining enrollment. This information was also provided to you at the February 17th Board meeting. Mr. Robert Soldner at DPI is a very knowledgeable man. My confidence in him tells me that you are either taking liberties with your portrayal of his assessment of your knowledge, or you simply forgot to tell him some very important details about WGSD.
In reality, state aid and revenue limits are not educated guesses, but are instead dictated by state law. Your “look at it this way” approach is an insult to my hard work and the entire WGSD community. To think that because of your lack of due diligence WGSD would continue to be one of the last districts in the state to not offer four year old kindergarten is a shame. To think that because of your lack of due diligence WGSD home owners will continue to pay several hundred thousand dollars more per year in local property taxes is a shame.
The manner in which you, several members of the Board, and the Superintendent are behaving is very suspect and unfortunate. Why will you not allow me to speak at your upcoming Finance Committee meeting where 4K will be a topic? Why have you directed Superintendent Joch not to meet with me regarding the potential cost savings associated with 4K? Why after 7 full days has there been no response to my inquiry for a 4K presentation to the community using a district facility? What are you and Superintendent Joch trying to hide?
If you really want to “work together” then let’s schedule a meeting with Superintendent Joch and one other board member (Schwartz, Bleimehl or Kastengren) before your March committee meeting. Having a discussion over email about 4K budget projections seems silly when Superintendent Joch just created a 5 year budget projection. Do you remember? This was done at the December 2013 meetings. He used the Baird SBS program that we taxpayers purchased for him. Why not use it again to reflect the impact of a 4K program and compare the two? There are only a handful of variables, such as enrollment and shared cost, that need be changed. (Note to readers: This is what Superintendent Joch did for the March 10th meeting and the results were exactly as I had predicted).Could it really take more than an hour to enter this data into the program and print out comparisons for everyone to see? If you like this idea, be sure to share the data sets for both scenarios, “with 4K” and “without 4K”.
If you prefer, there is another, and more exact method for determining the budgetary impact of a 4K program here in WGSD. By using what I call a “past years” projection we would start back 5 years with the 2009-10 school year and project forward to present time. We would simply start with the “Final” revenue limit and state aid worksheets that were used to determine the actual revenue limit and state aid for WGSD during the past 5 years. For each of these past years we would then use the DPI provided blank and executable worksheets to make a “with 4K” comparison. We would then enter all of the same data, but make changes for enrollment, state aid, shared cost and carry over (this is a majority of the variables that would change). We could then very accurately see the budgetary impact of a 4K program for the last 5 years. In fact, this is the method that Mr. Robert Soldner of DPI advises districts to use. This method would also pinpoint exactly how much extra money (5 year budget surplus) the WGSD community could have saved by having a 4K program already in place.
For your information I have been working on this exact method myself and the results are very encouraging. I intend to present the results to the community later next week in response to your Facebook challenge (see below). I am sharing this with you ahead of time out of courtesy and because you are Chair of the WGSD Finance Committee. I thought you might want to present this information to the community yourself at your Monday, March 10th Finance Committee meeting. It will take a little bit of work, but if you and Superintendent Joch do a good job with it on Monday I could either cancel my community presentation or present on a different aspect of 4K. What do you say?
Before concluding, I want to remind you, Mr. Jensen, that you are not the school board. You do not possess the authority to control the discussion on this issue. You do not possess the authority to control the superintendent, your fellow board members and the community. As Chair of the Personnel and Finance committee your job is to gather the facts using the tools available to the district and then present them without bias. If you will not do this, I can only hope that Superintendent Joch and/or other members of the board will insist that it be done. While you may not appreciate open and transparent government, I believe the WGSD community does.
I still look forward to a meeting with you, Superintendent Joch or his designee, and one other WGSD Board member prior to your March 10th Finance Committee meeting.
On Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 12:22 PM, Dan Jensen <email@example.com> wrote:
from: Dan Jensen firstname.lastname@example.org
to: Matt Kranich <email@example.com>
cc: WGSD Boad and Mr. Joch
date: Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 12:22 PM
subject: RE: Review of 4K
I have reviewed the document link and have questions. I thought maybe we could work together to try to figure out how you came up with your summaries. I would like to discuss the real accurate numbers at the next WGSD Board Committee meeting so there are no confusions. I believe the issue is you are misstating the “state aid” by substituting the State Revenue Limit number. The local tax payers need accurate numbers when determining if they want to pay the bill for 4K program.
The first Item that jumps out is your statement of $900K yearly “State Aid Increase”. I am assuming you are using the 72 FTE and an adjusted state revenue limit of $12,500 per FTE to get the $900K. Is this correct?
Where in your numbers do you take into account that WGSD does not “tax to the max” but only taxes for $11K per FTE and receives only 38% funding? The 2013-14 SY budget is $16,048,981 and the state aid is only $6,184,206 of the budget. That is a 38.5% state aid funding. The other +$10M is from local property taxes. Think of it this way. WGSD had roughly 1450 students and we receive state aid of $6.18M. You want to add 72 FTE more and are saying WGSD will receive $900K more state aid.
I spoke in depth with Mr. Robert Soldner the Director of School Financial Services for the State of Wisconsin. He stated my understanding of the costs, revenue limits and State aid is completely correct.
Mr. Soldner and I did cover the possible existence of a grant for 4K start-up that is not guaranteed but probable. The grant will need to be reauthorized in the next biennium State budget. If it is then WGSD stands to do better with the grant than the other districts that have already started 4K. This is due to having waited to institute 4K and now having a smaller group of districts remaining that will split the grant money. As it stands now WGSD could only receive a maximum of $1500 per year per FTE (72) or $108K for a two year period. However the maximum grant has not been achievable due to the number of districts splitting the money. The average has been $500-800 grant money per FTE ($36,000-$57,600).
So to be clear, the start-up cost of a 4K program is $330-$400K for the 1st year at best guess by the District Administrator. This is 100% on the local taxpayers. WGSD will receive a 1/3 revenue limit increase for the 72 FTE for the second year and state aid funding increase of less than $100,000. This means the second year the local tax payers will again pay the difference which is about $200K-$300K more. This scenario continues over the 3 year averaging period. By the end of the 3 year period the local tax payers will have paid roughly ($300K + $200K + $100K = $600,000). Also, at the end of the 3 years the local tax payers will be stuck with an additional $266K per year ($350K x 62%) local tax levy for a 4K program. If we are lucky we may receive $100K-$200K from the state to cover some of the startup costs but this is not guaranteed.
The numbers I have stated are accurate and were discussed in past committee meetings. Other than the possible partial grant funding nothing has changed.
Your slide show with the incorrect numbers and statements that WGSD will see lower property taxes because of adding 4K is 100% FALSE. Quite the contrary will happen. Local property taxes will increase by 6-8% over the 3 years of start up just to cover the 4K program costs ($600,000). Property taxes will stabilize at an increase of 2.5% to cover the ongoing 4K program cost.
Please let me know if I can get you any more information.
WGSD Finance Committee Chairman
From: Matt Kranich [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 12:18 AM
To: Robert Kastengren
Cc: email@example.com; Paul Beyerl; Dawn Bleimehl; Chris Joch; Doug Schwartz
Subject: Re: Review of 4K
Hi Bob and Board,
Thank you for your kind response. I am attaching a link with the details on how I came up with the dollar amounts stated on the presentation slides. There have been a few changes, but they are all minor.
I am happy to answer questions that any of you may have regarding the DPI worksheets contained in the above link or the slide presentation. For those that did not get a copy see here:
Please let me know if I will be permitted to ask questions and share my understanding of the 4K budget process at the March 10th meeting.
from: Robert Kastengren firstname.lastname@example.org
to: Matt Kranich, WGSD Board, Superintendent Joch
date: Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 10:14 PM
subject: Review of 4K
Hi Matt. As discussed in tonight’s Board meeting, we have placed a review of 4K (& our Title 1 program) on the agenda for the Finance Committee meeting on 3/10. The Board has instructed Mr. Joch that he should not meet independently with you prior to that date. His plate is very full and any/all discussions should be in open Committee session. We appreciate the information you submitted and it will form part of our discussion on the 10th. I am on vacation until 3/10 and intend to stay out-of-the-loop until that date.