School districts across the state are dealing with big budget deficits for next year, and teacher wages and salaries could take a hit.
Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators executive director Miles Turner says the two year budget signed by Governor Walker last summer eased the pain for the current school year. However, he warns the next year will be a much different story because districts have fewer places to cut.
Turner says districts will be unable to make the same kinds of cuts to benefits they did last year, stimulus funding is drying up, and most districts will not see the large number of retirements that helped cut salary costs in their last budgets. He says many people “bailed out” because of the uncertain budget situation, which school officials cannot count on at the end of this school year.
AUDIO: Miles Turner (:22)
The Appleton school district is facing a $2 million deficit. Administrators want to save $1.5 million by freezing wages and increasing health insurance deductibles. Turner says he hopes cuts like that are used as a last resort because it could force people to pay up to 40-percent of their health benefits. Those benefits packages are often designed to make up for lower salaries, and Turner warns that cutting wages and benefits could turn quality educators away from the profession.
Rick Schuh, WHBY