MMSD Referendum Info

The attached document is copied from Vicki McKenna’s web site. Her comments are accurate from the conversations she and I have had and information she has reviewed. There still is a lot more critical information, questions and concerns about the referendum that needs exploration, analysis and ‘airing.’
Here is what I think is some significant additional data:
The District continues to refuse to tell the public (taxpayers) about the TRUE costs of the referendum. The District is only telling us to consider a $23.1 million referendum without telling us the FULL tax burden that includes the approximate 60% (Sixty) additional cost to taxpayers to satisfy the State Equalization (negative aids) obligation. That $23.1 million actually becomes an estimated $37.67 million. The three parts to the referendum question break out as follows:

  1. Linden Park Elementary: Basic of $17.7 million, plus 60% or $10.6 million equals $28.3 million total actual tax burden
  2. Leopold Elementary School Addition: Basic of $2.76 million, plus 60% or $1.65 million equals $4.41 million total actual tax burden
  3. Debt Refinance: Basic of $3.1 million, plus 60% or $1.86 million equals $4.96 million total actual tax burden

Items 2 and 3 are, in effect (back door approach), a referendum to raise the revenue cap by releasing over $800,000 per year from debt obligations in the operations budget to spend in whatever ways the Board of Education chooses. The Board has done no planning as to if, let alone how, this money will be spent on priorities for classroom, instruction and programs and services toward directly affecting student achievement.
I encourage you to share your insights, questions and suggestions.
An Active Citizens for Education (ACE) meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 5, 7:00 pm, Oakwood Village West. More details to follow. McKenna’s website.

5 thoughts on “MMSD Referendum Info”

  1. I’m pretty sure that the MMSD is required, by law, to present the referendum question the way that it has, without the total payoff (interest etc.) and only for the amount borrowed- unlike retail installment sales contracts. I guess what I wonder is, does anyone doubt the need for a Leopold addition or a new elementary school in Linden Park? If you think that we NEED these new additions/buildings, then you should vote yes. If you think we don’t, you should vote no. But your decision shouldn’t hinge on whether or not you think the MMSD is being forthright- they have no choice but to present the question in this manner. It’s like buying your home: unless you pay cash in full, obviously your finance costs will increase the total price.
    I’d prefer to see folks who oppose the referendum argue on the merits of the NEED TO BUILD and not the statutory requirements for the wording.

  2. I thought the district’s numbers for the tax levy (and average home cost) did include the effect of increased local funds lowering the state fund contribution to maintain a “leveler financial playing field” across the state. If not, the total cost to an average home owner numbers need to be included.
    If I grasp some of the state’s convoluted financing formula, property rich districts get less generalized state aid. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is balanced adequately with the needs of different district student demographics.
    I feel it’s important a) to develop and to make the points for the need for Madison’s children for this referendum and b) to inform the voters what the total average homeowner’s cost will be to them. If people understand the need, and know all costs, we have a better chance getting voters to invest in Madison’s schools and Madison’s children.
    In this instance I do not agree with maligning the district administrators, but I do feel the School Board needs to oversee and to direct the administration to prepare complete need (benefit) AND cost information. Based upon today’s twisted rules that’s the cost of doing business, AND the need is there for a new school.

  3. Ah yes… Vicki Mickenna. A woman who has never met a referendum she didn’t like. Why should we take her commentary on anything outside successful marketing of a dogmatic right-wing talk show seriously?
    Answer: we shouldn’t.
    As for our pal Don: When are you going to run for school board? Or are you afraid you’ll get toasted by those who actually care about schools and not just a few nickles more on their property taxes?

  4. Barb and Dave have it right – the referendum question must state the amount being borrowed. The cost figure, $29.21 on the average priced home in Madison,$239,400, is the full impact on the taxpayer including negative aids, principal and interest.

  5. This would be the same Vikki McEnema who so brazenly stated:
    “Now, how about we get busy debating whether it’s not high time to ARM THE SCHOOL TEACHERS. Anyone up for it?”
    Yeah Vikki, let’s ALLOW weapons in schools!

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