Mequon-Thiensville School District

School Finance & Budget Crisis Resources

Despite what was was described as a “historic” year in funding for public school districts across the state of Wisconsin after Governor Evers signed the biennial budget in July 2023, MTSD does not stand to benefit substantially from state funding as a lower-spending, property-rich community. Instead, we are projecting historic budget shortfalls upwards of $4 million beginning in the 2024-25 school year and into the foreseeable future. To address this financial crisis, MTSD must find ways to increase revenue streams while reducing operating expenses. 

We are projecting deficits upwards of $4 million beginning in the 2024-2025 school year. This budget crisis is the result of decades of inadequate funding from the state of Wisconsin, the lingering effects of historic inflation and rising costs of goods and services, implementation of unfunded mandates, and a low percentage of reimbursements on costs associated with providing required special education services to students who qualify.

Wisconsin’s public schools are funded using a combination of state aid and revenue from the local tax base. MTSD receives approximately 2.6% of revenue limit authority from state aid, and 97.4% from local taxes. This is because MTSD is considered “property-rich,” which means that the state sees our school district as having a greater-than-average ability to access funding from the local tax base.

The Mequon-Thiensville School District has a long history of maintaining financial prudence and responsibility, even in challenging times. We are proud of our ability to budget conservatively, spend wisely, and ensure that we are getting the most out of every dollar. This status has been reaffirmed for more than a decade through our consistent Aaa bond rating from Moody’s. Most recently, MTSD has taken several steps to balance our budget and close the gap created by increasing costs. (See the "Managing Budget Deficits" image below)

No. Financial challenges are increasingly common among Wisconsin’s public school districts. Since revenue limits were established by the state of Wisconsin in 1994, public school districts have been funded primarily with a combination of state aid and local property taxes. Unfortunately, revenue limits have not kept pace with inflation and since then, 80% of public school districts across the state of Wisconsin have approved operating referenda to maintain adequate programming. 

If the MTSD Board of Education and administration fail to secure an adequate and sustainable source of funding to meet our budgetary needs going forward, the District will be forced to make extremely challenging decisions regarding ways to cut operating expenses. Some of those options include cutting co-curriculars or programming, increasing class sizes, reducing or eliminating administrative/other staff positions, and more.


It is our goal to equip our school community and stakeholders with the knowledge and information necessary to address this critical situation and find a solution through shared understanding. 

To learn more about the budget crisis and how it is affecting MTSD, please click on the images below.


 

Budget Presentations

WI DPI Public School Explainer

State of School Finance 2024


Click on the images above to view the corresponding presentation. Questions? Please feel free to contact Sarah Viera, Executive Director of Business Services & Operations, at sviera@mtsd.k12.wi.us.