One month after the 2011-13 state budget was signed into law, tangible results from the reforms put in place by Governor Walker and the Legislature are being realized. According to media reports, local units of government and school districts have already saved more than $220 million, with millions more in potential savings not yet reported.
The state is also adding jobs. Between December 2007 and December 2010, Wisconsin lost over 153,600 private sector jobs. The state has netted over 39,000 new private sector jobs since the Governor called a special session to open Wisconsin for business. The state has seen 14,100 manufacturing jobs created since January. In June Wisconsin had a net job creation of 9,500 new jobs, including nearly 13,000 private sector jobs. Only four states created more private sector jobs than Wisconsin did in the last month.
Below is a sampling of local units of governments being able to balance their budget and improve services due to the reforms contained in the 2011-13 state budget and the budget repair bill:
Ashland School District
A health insurance provider switch saved Ashland School District nearly $378,000.
Kimberly School District
The district saved $821,000 by dropping WEA Trust.
Edgerton School District
The district will drop the union's current health insurance carrier, the WEA Trust. The district is gathering bids to change to a different health insurance provider, which Pauli said could save at least $500,000 over the next year.
Baraboo School District
The Baraboo School Board expects to save about $660,000 next year after deciding to change insurance providers Monday evening.
Dodgeland School District
The Dodgeland School Board made the decision to change insurance companies.
Administrator Annette Thompson said the change will help the board deal with the expected $640,000 budget deficit from reduced state aid and expiration of some federal and AARA funds. The change in providers is expected to save the district $260,000 next year.
Elmbrook School District
The district originally had planned for $780,000 in savings through the health-care changes, but Brightman said the actual savings are estimated at $878,000. He said some of that money likely will be needed to pay for staffing - probably a half-time equivalent clerical position - to administer the new plan.
Mequon-Thiensville School District
Delta Dental's quotes also came in lower than those provided by WEA Trust. Beaudry said the district will save $49,000 in the 2011-12 budget cycle by switching to Delta Dental.
Marshfield School District
Marshfield will balance its budget despite the cuts. "Given the cost savings with health insurance and the turnover with staff and new hires, we will be able to preserve our programs and come up with a balanced budget," said Peg Geegan, the district's director of instruction who will assume the superintendent's position Aug. 1. The district will save $850,000 by switching health insurance carriers…
Fond du Lac School District
District leaders believe when school starts in the fall they'll be operating with a balanced budget. They say the savings under the bill will offset their 4.4 million dollar budget shortfall. Class sizes and programs will also remain in tact.
http://www.nbc26.com/news/local/126364503.html and http://www.fdlreporter.com/article/20110728/FON0101/110727143/FdL-School-District-expects-balanced-budget
City of Sheboygan and Sheboygan County
City of Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan and Sheboygan County Administrator Adam Payne said the collective bargaining reforms will provide enough savings to make up for the reductions in state aid. "We were able to lock in savings and certainty due to the discussions going on in Madison," Payne said.
Wauwatosa School District
The tax levy is projected to decrease, no programs will be cut, and class sizes won’t increase by any significant measure. School board member Phil Kroner: "When students come to school in the fall, they're going to see the same things, have the same teachers, and they're going to see new things as well.
Laid-off city workers may get their jobs back after the city moves forward with the wage and benefit reforms contained in the budget. And Overtime rules have changed saving the county $100,000.
References: http://www.htrnews.com/article/20110706/MAN0101/107060474/Some-laid-off-city-workers-rehired-month?odyssey=tab|topnews|img|FRONTPAGE and http://www.htrnews.com/article/20110720/MAN0101/107200527/Overtime-rules-changed-Manitowoc-County-employees?odyssey=tab|topnews|img|FRONTPAGE
They will see up to a 9% decrease in the school portion of their property tax levy. "It will be wonderful for our taxpayers, who have been extremely committed to our schools," School Board President Julie Strenn said, noting three years ago, voters approved a three-year revenue cap override that cost taxpayers an additional $175,000 each year… "This is the first year we have not needed to short-term borrow.”
Paul Hauffe, director of business services said, “administrators are poised to introduce a balanced budget in mid-July… We're very close right now, there's nothing monumental that we have to overcome."
Appleton Area School District
They will save $3.1 million just in health insurance costs alone due to competition among health insurance providers. Financial advisors for the school district said:
· Discussions at the state level over collective bargaining and budgeting issues have been beneficial to school districts from the rate perspective.
· It forced a lot of competition. I do think the landscape in the school marketplace has changed significantly over the last year that's put significant pressure on WEA Trust. Previously to this year, they didn't have a lot of competition. Historically, it's very difficult for other carriers to match them.
· The $3.1 million in savings for next school year is just in health insurance premium costs.
So, school districts are saving money. Employees are getting better deals for their dollars...and it sounds like some teachers may keep their jobs and some may get rehired. Gee, doesn't that sound wonderful? It could happen here in Ohio, too, if people would stop believing the OEA/NEA hype and just sprinkle in some common sense.