At the heart of a decision by Milwaukee Public Schools officials to increase property taxes for schools by 7.7% was a choice not discussed in public:
Millions of dollars that had been freed up within the $1.15 billion budget for the 2006-’07 school year could be used to hold down the tax increase. Or they could be used to increase spending by $78.90 per student across the MPS system – totaling almost $6.7 million.
Administrators and a split School Board on Tuesday went with the increased spending.
Labeled a “one-time rebate” in MPS budget documents, the payments will go to all the schools in the traditional MPS system and to charter schools staffed by MPS employees.
That will help ease a financial squeeze that is harming education in the city, MPS officials say. The money will allow schools to do such things as restore teaching or safety aide positions that were cut going into this year, MPS Superintendent William Andrekopoulos said Wednesday.
The Madison School District’s property taxes will rise 5.8% with the arrival of December’s tax bills. Local school property taxes had been relatively flat the past few years due to redistribution of income, sales taxes and fees via state aids and to some extent flat enrollment and the revenue caps.