Menomonie School Board approves yearly budget | WisCommunity

Menomonie School Board approves yearly budget

October 12, 2023 - 12:34pm
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Menomonie School Board for Oct. 9, 2023

The School District of the Menomonie Area board meeting on Monday, Oct. 9 considered their budget. The most recent communication from Joe Zydowsky, school district superintendent, is an explanation of what is at stake in the budget and future possible referenda

Dear SDMA Families and Staff,

The month of October is always an important month for the school board and the School District of the Menomonie Area (SDMA) budget process. By the end of the month, the school board will approve the budget for the 2023-24 school year, set this year's tax levy, and begin to shift planning toward the future.

As previously shared, the school district will be facing financial challenges in future years. Everyone in the SDMA has worked hard to stretch pandemic funding as far as possible to help balance the district's budget, but since that funding is no longer available after this year, the SDMA will be facing some significant budget deficits in 2024-25 and beyond. 

Since 1993, school funding in Wisconsin has been mostly controlled by state imposed revenue limits that cap the amount of state aid and tax revenue that schools can receive each year. The state froze school revenue limits during the past two years, and the revenue limit increases in the new state budget are not enough to replace federal pandemic funding and account for historically high inflation. It is estimated that the SDMA would have $1,247 more for each student during the 2023-24 school year if the state would have indexed our local revenue limit to inflation. With approximately 3,300 students, the school district's revenue limit will be trailing inflation by $4.2 million. 

In addition to concerns about inflation, funding for our schools in the SDMA has been well below the state average for several years, and it continues to fall further behind the districts with higher per pupil revenue limits and passed referendums. A referendum allows school districts to get permission from voters to exceed the state revenue limit and generate more funding through increased state aid and the local tax levy. There have already been 877 operating referendums passed by Wisconsin school districts since 1993, which include local districts such as Eau Claire (1999, 2007, 2016), Durand (2012), Elmwood (2007), Hudson (2001), River Falls (1998), and Spring Valley (2016). It is estimated that revenue to operate schools in the SDMA would be $5.5 million higher in 2023-24 if our local per student revenue limit was at the state average.

With budget deficits on the horizon, the SDMA school board will be faced with a funding crossroads for 2024-25 that will require additional revenue or significant budget cuts. Since our schools already run on a tight budget, cuts would result in a reduction of programs, staff, services, and opportunities for kids. Some important capital purchases and maintenance projects would need to be deferred, and it is possible that the district might need to consider closing some of our schools. 

In an attempt to avoid major budget cuts, the school board has been discussing the possibility of an operating referendum in the SDMA to allow the district to exceed the state imposed revenue limit. Over the next several weeks, the school board will be reviewing budget projections and soliciting input from the community about a possible referendum in early 2024. A survey from the educational research firm, School Perceptions, Inc., will be sent to district residents during the week of October 16, and the results will be reported to the school board in November. 

For more information about funding in the SDMA and the possibility of an upcoming referendum, please refer to the  (also available on the homepage of the  in Hmong and Spanish). If you have any questions about this information, please contact me or School Board President Rachel Henderson.


Joe Zydowsky

MONDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2023, 5:45 P.M.

This meeting will be live-streamed at:



A. Call to Order

B. Roll Call and Quorum

C. Pledge of Allegiance and Reading of Mission Statement

D. Agenda Order and Approval/Revision

E. Recommendations & Commendations

F. Highlight on Youth

This month's Highlight on Youth is attached below.

G. Student Representative Communications

H. Community Communications

I. Revenue and Expenditure Reports for the Month Ended September 2023

J. Monthly Employment Report (September 2023)


A. Action to Approve Consent Agenda

1. Minutes of a Regular Meeting of September 11, 2023, Special Meeting of September 25, 2023

2. Financial Reports for September 2023

3. Donations Exceeding $1,000 for September 2023

4. Certification of Wakanda Elementary School Safety Drill

5. Certification of Downsville Elementary School Safety Drill

The consent agenda was approved unanimously


A. Action to Approve Personnel Consent Agenda

1. Resignations/Retirements

2. Requests to Hire

The personnel consent agenda was also approved unanimously.


A. Approve Final Budget Revisions for 2022-2023

Budget Revisions were approved 8-0.


A. Review Report of Translation Tools Available in the SDMA

B. Review 2023-2024 Budget Timeline C

. Discuss SDMA Referendum Guide

D. Items Related to Next Meeting Dates, Board Committees, and Reports


A. Action to move to closed session for the purpose of considering employment, promotion, compensation or performance evaluation data of any public employee over which the governmental body has jurisdiction or exercises responsibility, pursuant to Section 19.85(1)(c), Wisconsin Statutes, and for the purpose of deliberating or negotiating the purchasing of public properties, the investing of public funds, or conducting other specified public business, whenever competitive or bargaining reasons require a closed session, pursuant to Section 19.85(1)(e), Wisconsin Statutes

B. Review Health Insurance Bids


A. Action to Reconvene in Open Session for the purpose of taking action, as deemed necessary or appropriate, on any matter discussed or deliberated upon in closed session.


A. Approve Renewal of 2024 District Health Insurance


A. Action to Adjourn

The agenda as noted above was posted more than twenty-four hours prior to the meeting date. The most up-to-date agenda information is available on the district website. This agenda is posted at the Menomonie Area School District Administrative Services Center, and on the district website at under the School Board lin

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