Nerad told school board members on Monday night that he’s recommending a three-year recurring referendum.
It’s part of what he called a partnership plan to address the budget shortfall.
The plan would put a referendum on the November ballot for $5 million and would ask voters for $4 million in the two following years.
Nerad said to make up the remaining $3 million gap the district would move $2 million from the district’s fund balance, eliminate $600,000 in unallocated staff, which are positions set aside in case of additional enrollment, and make up the remaining $400,000 through other reductions, which he has not yet named.
“We’re working both sides of this and in the end our kids need things from us, our taxpayers need us to be sensitive and all I can say is we tried every step of putting these recommendations together to be responsive on both fronts,” said Nerad.
The measure, a “recurring referendum,” would give the district permission to build on the previous year’s spending limit increase by additional amounts of $4 million in 2010-11 and another $4 million in 2011-12. The measure would permit a total increase of $13 million — a change that would be permanent, unlike the impact of some other referendums that end after a specified period.
Approval of the referendum would cost the owner of a home with an assessed value of $250,000 an estimated $27.50 in additional taxes in the 2009-10 school year. That represents an increase of 1.1 percent of the School District’s portion of the tax bill.
But for at least the next two years, the schools’ portion of that homeowner’s tax bill would decline even if the referendum is approved, under the plan developed by Nerad and Erik Kass, assistant superintendent for business services.
They estimate the tax bill for 2010-11 would be $27.50 lower than it is now, and the bill the following year would be about $100 below its current level if voters back the referendum and the School Board implements proposed changes in accounting measures.
In the first year, the referendum would add an additional $27.50 onto the tax bill of a $250,000 home. Another initiative in Nerad’s recommendation, drawn up along with Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Erik Kass, is to enact changes to help mitigate the tax impact of the referendum. Nerad and Kass said these changes would decrease taxes for homeowners in the second and third year of the referendum.
One aspect of the proposal would return $2 million of an equity to the taxpayers in the form of a reduced levy in the Community Services Fund (Fund 80) for the 2009-10 school year. The second part of the tax impact referendum would be implementation of a Capital Expansion Fund, called Fund 41, in an effort to levy a property tax under revenue limits to spread the costs of facility maintenance projects over a longer period.
Nerad said the referendum process has been a deliberative process, and he’s been cognizant of weighing board members and community questions.
- Proposed 2008-2009 $367,806,712 budget
- 2007-2008 $339,685,844 Citizen’s Budget
- 2006-2007 $333,101,865 Citizen’s Budget
- Transcript: 7/28/2008 Madison School Board Referendum Discussion
- Don Severson: Memo to the Madison School Board on the District’s Financial Situation
- Capital Times Editorial advocating a November, 2008 referendum vote.
- Madison Cast: Supporting a referendum
- Wisconsin’s per student K-12 spending ranks 17th nationwide.