The Policy Forum report found just eight of the state’s 421 school districts account for more than a third of the $224 million increase in levies this year. Five of those districts with the largest dollar increases in taxes are the Madison, Sun Prairie, Middleton-Cross Plains, DeForest and Verona school districts.
In raw dollars, Madison ($22.1 million) and Milwaukee ($11.6 million) had the biggest increases of any district, which translated into increases of 7.2% and 4.6% respectively. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau reports general state aid to Milwaukee Public Schools is going down by 1.9% and the district’s budget shows a little less than half of the overall property tax increase is going to recreation and community programs and facilities and not to core district operations. In Madison, general school aids are falling by 15% and voters cast ballots to exceed revenue limits in 2016.
Since 1993-94, the state has limited the per pupil revenue that school districts can receive from property taxes and state general aid. Districts cannot exceed the caps without a successful referendum, but if a district’s general aid falls, the school board can increase property taxes to offset the loss.
Madison taxpayers spend far more than most K-12 school districts. Yet, we have long tolerated disastrous reading results.
Madison K-12 administrators are planning a substantial tax & spending increase referendum for 2020.
Madison School District projects loss of 1,100 students over next five years, yet 2020 referendum planning continues.
Madison School Board approves purchase of $4 million building for special ed programs