The Madison Board of Education unanimously approved a $3.5 million increase for the Madison Metropolitan School District’s 2012 budget Monday night.
The board approved a budget adjustment that increased the original budget of $369 million by $3.5 million.
According to the 2011-12 budget update from the district, the adjustment covers costs for upgrading classroom technology, expanding reading programs, increasing supply budgets, reviewing curriculums, continuing maintenance on buildings and several other expenses.
Ken Syke, spokesperson for the district, explained the budget adjustment is only about a 1 percent increase in the overall preliminary budget that was approved in June.
Budget projections are made once a year and updated accordingly, changing based on the specific enrollment, which is counted in September, he said.
The board is unable to predict enrollment with 100 percent certainty in the spring, according to a district statement from Superintendent of Madison Schools Dan Nerad, which also included minutes from the meeting.
There are roughly 26,000 students currently enrolled in the Madison Metropolitan School District, according to a statement from the district.
“It’s not a major change to our budget. There’s basically no change to property taxes compared to last year,” Syke said.
Reallocation of funds from the projected spring budget accounted for the majority of costs in the adjusted budget. The statement said about $2.5 million of the additional funding came from previously unaccounted for sources.
Syke said variable expenses did not cost as much as the district had initially expected, resulting in unallocated funds, which went toward the budget adjustment.
Capital reserves paid for repairs and restoration on buildings, Syke said.
According to a statement, the increased budget will not adversely affect Madison taxpayers. Property taxes have decreased by .03 percent from last year, and the entire district’s spending for the 2012 school year will be $6.1 million lower than the previous year, even with the budget adjustment.
This decrease in spending does not necessarily mean huge changes will be coming to Madison classrooms, however, as class sizes remain about the same, Syke said.
The same is not true statewide, Syke said, as some districts are forced to cut significant numbers from their teaching staff to cover the shortfalls, resulting in an increase in the number of students in each classroom.
“I don’t think students or parents will see much of a cut. We try to do things more efficiently. We’re not trying to affect the classroom,” Syke said.
The majority of the budget changes come from the $20 million shortfall caused by the state legislation passed earlier this year, according to the district statement. Gov. Scott Walker’s budget cuts created a deficit in schools that had to be made up through alternative sources.
“The biggest change is that all the staff members in Madison, as well as the rest of the state, are paying for half of their contributions to their pension. That accounted for $11 million of the $20 million,” Syke said.