Thursday, March 19, 2015

BASD Now on Facebook!

Hello Everyone-

Just a quick note to let you know that the Barron Area School District is now on Facebook!  Please visit the site below and "like" the page.  We plan to put information and updates regarding all of the activities and events occurring as well as great things are kids and staff are doing.

www.facebook.com/barronareaschooldistrict

Monday, March 9, 2015

Facilities and Other Things

As I write this we are set to experience temperatures in the 50’s with a shot at possibly 60 this week; it is hard to believe that the last time we saw a 60 degree reading was October; even the winters in Wisconsin come to an end eventually.  Although there is a strong possibility that we will have another snow day or two, the odds of this year being as bad as last are quickly dwindling.  As temperatures warm up, we are able to begin/ continue some construction projects that are typically on hold during the winter.  To begin, we will once again be addressing some of our aging roofs in the district and have plans to replace the rest of the roofs on Riverview Middle School (some were done this past summer) and also replace the roof at Almena Elementary.  There are certainly other roofs in the district that need to be addressed and our plans are to take care of roofs at Woodland Elementary and the High School over the next few years if we can based upon how the next biennial budget pans out, in addition to other plans within the district.  The spacing out of roof replacements is part of our plan to avoid having a “big hit” to the budget all in a short time span; in addition, it will help in future years for budgeting purposes if all of the roofs do not need to be replaced in the same time period.  We will also begin a project to remodel two science classrooms over at Riverview Middle School; this work is scheduled to begin in May and the hope is that it is finished in time to start the 15-16 school year.  If not, we do have a plan in place that will allow us to start on time with those particular classes occurring at the middle school but in different rooms.  You may ask: “why are all of these projects occurring when we are worried about the next biennial budget?”  The answer to that question is fairly simple, but with some complex background. 

When I was hired as Superintendent nearly two years ago, one of the main concerns the board had shared with me was that there was some community sentiment that the district had not followed through on some of the proposed projects and updates that were discussed when the first referendum passed around 8 years ago.  When I began as Superintendent we were in the second year of the latest referendum- as a result, my question to the board was- what did we say we were going to do?  After hearing the answers and evaluating the information we had in the district, we developed a plan to address as many as the promised renovations/ updates as possible given the approval of the referendum dollars to do just that; in short, we were going to make progress.  Since that time (and as I reported in a newsletter update last year) we have accomplished many of the items discussed and have plans to continue as long as financially feasible.  The complexities come in due to the nature of school finance and how schools are provided aid- this is called the “equalized aid formula”.  As I have reported here in the past, our revenue is made up of local tax levy (including the referendum dollars) and equalized State aid; if State aid goes down, local levy goes up in general- the opposite is also true.  The fiscal rationale behind spending nearly all of the revenue we have access to is based on how the equalization aid formula works- in short, if we do not spend all (or nearly all) of our revenue, we will lose some equalized State aid in the following year.  As I indicate above, this would have the effect of increasing the local levy based on the likely decrease in equalized State aid.  Therefore, when districts have access to referendum dollars as we do, it is even more important to spend those dollars on the projects and items we promised we would spend them on because in doing so we actually stand a better chance of not losing State aid than if we underspent.  It is also important to note that it is absolutely imperative that we take steps to ensure our facilities are updated in a responsible fashion- as all of us realize, maintenance and updates are crucial to avoid larger financial consequences in the future- we need to take care of what we have.  

As always, please feel free to contact me at any time.

Sincerely,
Craig G. Broeren
District Administrator
715-537-5612 ext. 402