Huge Cuts (and/or Big Taxes) for MMSD ?

At last night’s Madison Board of Education meeting (preview here) more details were given about the 2010-11 Budget situation.  There was some small good news and some large bad news.  The small good news is that because of savings and efficiencies, the gap between allowed revenues and projected costs has been reduced from about $2.8 milli0n  to about $1.2 million and that the search for savings continues.  The bad news is that due to the interaction between a broken school finance system and cuts in state aid to schools, Madison will be facing property tax hikes in the range of $312 on the average home if they tax to the max and more likely a combination of huge cuts and large property tax increases.

This is an difficult and unfortunate balancing act the Board must do because our state officials have not done the difficult work of reforming state school finance or finding better revenue sources.  To learn more and help push the state officials to do the job they promised to do (both in their campaigns and when they took their oaths of office), check these links: Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools, Penny for Kids, School Finance Network and the AMPS “Take Action” page.

Here are the ugly details:

For example, limiting the property tax increase of $157.50 per average home is projected to require $14.3 million in cuts to programs and services.

Some quick points:

Next Monday, February 8, the process and time-line for choosing from among bad choices will be on the Board agenda.  If you have any ideas or thoughts, be sure to let them know:  board@madison.k12.wi.us.

I was unable to attend the meeting and would be remiss if I didn’t thank those MMSD staff people who very helpfully sent me copies of the documents linked here (after I requested them).  Thank you!

I’d also be remiss if I did not offer those links one more time: Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools, Penny for Kids, School Finance Network and the AMPS “Take Action” page. .  The problem is at the state level and the answers have to happen at the state level.  Every indication is that state officials will not act unless pressured.

Thomas J. Mertz

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Filed under "education finance", Budget, education, finance, Local News, Pennies for Kids, School Finance, Take Action

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