Providing Milwaukee Public Schools students with a top-of-the-line education could cost as much as $640 million more a year in operating costs alone, more than doubling local property tax bills, district officials and their financial advisers told members of MPS’ referendum task force.
The figure appeared to shock at least some members of the ad hoc panel during a meeting Monday evening. And they cautioned against asking taxpayers for too much, saying a defeat at the polls could hinder MPS’ prospects for a referendum for years.
“The last time you had a referendum was 25 years ago,” said Alan Shoho, dean of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Education, who suggested the task force not recommend a figure at all, but leave that up to the school board.
Madison is planning a substantial 2020 referendum.