Green Bay Schools budget includes additional $5M for special education, school bus aides

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- The Green Bay Area Public School District (GBAPSD) is looking at a $279 million budget for this school year (2019-2020).

On Monday, school board members had their first look at the budget and a chance to ask questions.

Taxpayers can expect to see a slight increase on their property taxes.

“If you are an average home [owner] in Green Bay at $150,000, you will pay an additional or an increase of $60 a year; which equates to about $5 a month in increased taxes,” said Angie Roble, executive director of finance for the GBAPSD.

The increase is due to property values in the Green Bay area going up slightly.

The district emphasizes the mill rate is even lower than it was last year.

“We have the lowest mill rate over the last several years rate of $9.97,” said Roble.

One area the district is investing more in this year is special education, with an additional $5 million, bring the total to $35 million.

“A lot of those increases come from the addition of $1.5 million in bus aides to ride on the special ed. bus routes,” said Roble.

We first introduced you to Lillian Waldron in May, who was bitten by another student while riding the bus home from school.

District leaders say this school year they've increased bus aide staff to about 70 and are working to make sure all special ed bus routes have an aide.

Board President Brenda Warren also brought up declining enrollment and how that could impact the budget in the future.

Superintendent Michelle Langenfeld says declining enrollment is a trend districts are seeing across the state.

“I know that the education committees, especially the chairs in both the Assembly and the Senate, are looking for ways to provide relief and also ensure communities who have one school, one elementary, one middle and one high school are not put in a position where they may have to not continue provide education to the children,” said Langenfeld.

The community will have a chance to weigh in on the school budget on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 6 p.m.

The board is expected to adopt the budget at its meeting on Monday, Oct. 21.