'No doubt' students would feel pinch from Walker's budget cuts, Tosa superintendent says

Published on: 3/2/2011

Wauwatosa School District Superintendent Phil Ertl was blunt with his reaction to the governor’s biennial budget proposal, which reduces state aid to schools by $835 million and calls for a 5.5 percent reduction in per-pupil revenue caps.
“It’s worse than we expected,” he said. “The cuts are more than we expected.”
Ertl said some of the impact could be mitigated if the state passes Walker’s budget-repair bill, which would require union employees to pay more for their health-care and retirement benefits, but cuts are inevitable even if that measure goes through.
The district still has to process the budget proposal further and get answers to a host of questions, but there is “absolutely no doubt” students in Wauwatosa will feel the effects of the cuts, he said.
Municipal leaders also have a lot of questions about exactly how Walker’s proposal would affect city operations.
City Administrator James Archambo had little time to delve into the proposed budget before talking to the Employee Relations Committee on Tuesday night about its possible impact on Wauwatosa.
Wauwatosa could receive up to $1 million less in state aid.
The city’s expenditure restraint payments could also be at risk. In the past, Wauwatosa received $900,000 annually for keeping spending increases to less than 2 percent. The governor wants to see that number decreased to zero.
“It will get more difficult to qualify,” Archambo said.
To keep taxes down, the state budget bill only allows for tax levy increases based on new construction.
Archambo estimated Wauwatosa might be able to increase its levy by about half a percent.