Green Bay area public schools face projected $36 million budget shortfall

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — School districts statewide and nationwide are facing tight budgets.

But the Green Bay area public school district‘s projected deficit stands out — at about $36 million.

The question Green Bay school district leaders say they are asking: How do they deal with a $36 million deficit over the next few years?

“We want the least impact on student learning,” said Angela Roble, chief financial officer of GBAPS.

Roble says inflation, the state’s K-12 school funding freeze, increased staffing and declining enrollment are all contributing causes to his projected deficit.

“When you deny registrations, right, that equates to less revenue coming into the district,” Roble said.

The district receives $10,000 per student.

But Roble says over the past few years he’s lost about 2,300 students.

“Families just don’t have as many kids as they used to,” Roble said.

Based on projections through 2024-25, the school district will receive less money while spending more each year.

Tyler’s job

A closer look at the projected GBAPS budget deficit through 2024-25.

“We have to start doing the work,” Roble said. “And we have to start planning and cutting back.”

Executive Director of Finance Sara Noah says the district has already cut some administrative positions.

“It’s not just the spending cuts that are happening in schools,” Noah said. “It’s also happening at the district office.”

The district received about $72 million in ESSER funds — or elementary and secondary school emergency relief funds — to help fill the gaps.

Roble says the district has about $50 million in ESSER funds set aside.

“Which we placed strategically because we knew what was coming,” Roble said.

However, these ESSER dollars must be used by September 2024.

Roble says it would help if the state provided more special education assistance costs.

But according to a Wisconsin Policy Forum report, state reimbursement for special education has been falling for decades.

“We spend nearly $33 million on special education,” Roble said.

It’s no secret that schools across the state are facing budget issues.

“Our problem is just amplified a bit more,” Roble said.

An issue worth $36 million.

In May, the Wisconsin Policy Forum released a report outlining the financial outlook for Milwaukee Public Schools and the Madison Metropolitan School District. More information can be found here.

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