In Support of the November, 2008 Madison Schools’ Referendum

In just a few days we have the opportunity and the responsibility to show our continuing support for Madison Public Schools by voting yes for the school district referendum. Please remember to vote for the referendum as you do your balloting and please talk with friends and family and urge their support for the referendum also.
In case you didn?t see the Wisconsin State Journal endorsement of the referendum, please click on the following link. For the Cap Times endorsement, click on this link. Then, read my guest column which appeared in the State Journal on October 10 and the Cap Times on October 22; here is the link to that letter. Cumulatively, these three pieces help explain the educational importance of the district initiative and the responsibility of Madison residents to support it.
If Madison residents need help understanding the property tax implications of the referendum, the following paragraphs may help some.
Passage of the referendum will permanently increase the revenue cap for operating costs by $5 million in 2009-2010, and by $4 million in both 2010-11 and 2011-12 for a total request of $13 million over the three-year period.
The average Madison homeowner would see their tax bill increase by $27.50 in 2009; $43.10 in 2010; and $20.90 in 2011. However, in 2008, school property taxes on the average home will decrease about $40. Therefore, in 2011, average homeowners will pay $51.50 more in school taxes than they paid in 2007. That means many of us will still pay less school tax in 2011 than we paid in 1994. Unbelievable, but true.
In 1993-94 Madison’s mil rate for its schools was 19.15; in 2007 it was 10.08, almost half of what it was. Unless your home assessment has doubled in that period of time (which it may have), your school property tax has gone down. If your home assessment doubled, your school property tax would be about the same now as it was in 1993-94. Again, even with passage of the referendum, many Madison taxpayers will be paying less in school taxes in 2011 than they did in 1994.
Thank you for your continued support of Madison Schools and Madison kids. Together we make the community a stronger, more vibrant place for all of us to live.
Barbara Arnold, member of GRUMPS (Grandparents United For Madison Public Schools) Steering Committee and a former President of the Madison Board of Education