Dissecting the Dollars: MMSD Referendum Nears


The five-minute video, available on MMSD’s Web site, explains why there is a referendum, and how a yes-vote impacts taxpayers’ wallets. Board member Carol Carstensen said it’s intended to be shown at various meetings. “In parent groups, neighborhood groups, service organizations, anyone who wants to find out the facts about the referendum question,” she said.
Since tax dollars produced it, Carstensen said the video is simply factual, not promotional. In places, she said the numbers are quite exact. For instance, Carstensen said when it shows the impact on the average home, the dollar amounts include an extra 60-percent the district has pay to help fund poor school districts in the state. “That includes the negative aid, the way in which the state finances work,” she said.
Watching the district’s finances, and the video closely, will be Don Severson. He heads the group Active Citizens for Education, which doesn’t take a position on the referendum, but seeks to clarify information for voters. Severson will questions other dollar amounts, like the lump sum $23 million being advertised on the district’s Web site. “What they aren’t saying is the other extra 60-percent which amounts then to $37 million,” he said.
Severson said he’ll spend the next six weeks dissecting similar numbers in this video. “Trying to make sure it’s as complete as possible and as accurate as possible.” He said voters should still watch out for the district’s official enrollement numbers for the year, which were taken last Friday. Severson said voters will need that information, since two of the three parts of the question concern overcrowding.

Much more here.

One thought on “Dissecting the Dollars: MMSD Referendum Nears”

  1. It isn’t a lie to say the referendum raises $23 million. If they say it costs $23 million, that’s another matter. It seems that the advertised cost per average house is also truthful. They are being obfuscatory, but flat out dishonest, well, I don’t know. It is a bit difficult. Drawing attention to the monkey on one’s back and explaining it to people who don’t know about or understand it is a lot of work and a vote-loser. It doesn’t change my vote, but it does stick a bit in one’s craw. This need to raise so much extra just to get what you need. I admit that I hadn’t given it any thought before, that even extra money from referendums is subject to this give-back. I felt queasy for a moment, contemplating it. But the feeling passed. I am sure that extra money will be put to good use in Milwaukee and other poor districts much more hard-pressed than Madison. MMSD doesn’t control the funding formula. They have to abide by the rules. It is too bad that now that this ‘detail’ is being publicized, it appears as if they were trying to conceal it. I am naive, goodness knows how or why, but I do have faith that the money will be put to good use.

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