It wasn’t until after a recent school board meeting while listening to the views of a vote no taxpayer that “it” hit me. This opponent of the upcoming referendum will vote no due to rising taxes in his township. He said, “I can no longer afford to pay the $50 a year that it will cost me to support the Rhinelander School District’s referendum because my township continues to raise my taxes and I need this $50 to pay for those.”
It was at this moment that the “Catch 22” hit me and I realized that school districts are at such a disadvantage. Taxpayers have little say over tax increases from other governmental agencies when they need something, yet schools are required to get voter approval. The fallout of this situation is school districts so often being wrongly accused and somehow responsible for rising taxes, along with the divisions in the community. He said, “The $50 per year that it will cost me for a successful referendum is just too much to support education, students, and our community.”
Mr Wall is exactly right. I am reminded of the fact that the City of Madison is budgeting based on a 4% annual increase. School districts under the revenue caps budget for increases of about 2.5% and require referenda to issue debt over $1 million.
Thomas J. Mertz