Mequon-Thiensville School District

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Mequon-Thiensville School District Board of Education Approves School Year Budget

The Mequon-Thiensville School District (MTSD) Board of Education voted to certify the tax levy and with it, approved the final 2023-24 school year budget during their regular business meeting on Monday, October 30, 2023. Per Wis. Statutes 120.12(3)(a) and (c), a school board must determine if the tax approved at the District’s Annual Meeting is sufficient to operate and maintain schools for the upcoming school year on or before November 1. Taxes must be certified to municipalities on or before November 10 each year.

The Mequon-Thiensville School District (MTSD) Board of Education voted to certify the tax levy and with it, approved the final 2023-24 school year budget during their regular business meeting on Monday, October 30, 2023. Per Wis. Statutes 120.12(3)(a) and (c), a school board must determine if the tax approved at the District’s Annual Meeting is sufficient to operate and maintain schools for the upcoming school year on or before November 1. Taxes must be certified to municipalities on or before November 10 each year.

Included in the recommendation put forth during Monday’s meeting by Sarah Viera, MTSD’s Executive Director of Business Services and Operations, was an additional levy amount of $1,717,828 into Fund 39, the District’s Debt Service Fund, utilizing an increase in School Levy Tax Credits from the state budget to impose little to no additional tax impact on taxpayers, smoothing tax volatility now and in the future. This amount was proposed in addition to the Debt Service tax levy in the amount of $4,444,310, which was approved during the District’s Annual Meeting on Monday, July 24, 2023. 

During the Annual Meeting in July 2023, the Mequon-Thiensville community voted to approve a tax in the amount of $44,067,757 for the 2023-24 school year. This total tax included a General Fund levy in the amount of $39,395,867, Debt Service tax levy in the amount of $4,444,310, and Community Service tax levy in the amount of $227,580. With the increased levy approved on Monday evening, the total tax levy for the 2023-24 school year comes to $45,981,159. The resulting mill rate is $6.81/1,000 of equalized value, a decrease of $.27/1,000 from the prior year. 

“While our tax levy will increase from what was discussed in July, in our work to be fiscally responsible, it is prudent for us to utilize all available tools to minimize tax impacts for our community,” said Viera. “Having the flexibility in Fund 39 to either avoid interest, reduce the amount of debt payments, or reduce the amount needed to levy in the next fiscal year, puts the District and taxpayers in the best position possible given our budget challenges this year, and into the future.”

The approval of the 2023-24 school year budget comes with a deficit of $1.4 million, which the MTSD is mitigating through use of Fund Balance and Fund 46, or the District’s “cash on hand.” In order to address future projected budget shortfalls of between $2 to $4 million in 2024-25 and beyond, the MTSD recently announced the launch of the 2023 Community Task Force, the latest in a history of the District’s use of ad-hoc committees to engage the community in important initiatives. The task force will work to assess and explore solutions for the school district’s projected budget deficits.

“Despite what was described as a historic year for funding public schools, the MTSD, as a property-rich community rebounding from declining student enrollment, will not receive significant spendable dollars from the state. Years of little to no increase in adequate state funding has led us into what we can only describe as a budget crisis,” said Dr. Matthew Joynt, Superintendent of Schools. “Unfortunately, we have reached a point where we can no longer just ‘make it work’ in balancing our budget. We are now forced to go even further in finding ways to increase our revenue or be faced with the reality of making some very tough decisions to reduce operating costs going forward.”

On Tuesday, October 24, the 2023 Community Task Force held the first of four scheduled meetings to engage in its review with the goal of presenting recommendations to the Board of Education and administration by early December. All task force meetings will take place in the Range Line Community Center Conference Room at 11040 N. Range Line Rd., and are open to the public. To learn more about the work of the task force, see a schedule of task force meetings, learn more about the budget development process, and access frequently asked questions, please visit: www.mtsd.k12.wi.us/task-force