K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Madison School Board’s Reyes expects ‘robust conversations’ on referenda in April

Scott Girard:

The referenda, as discussed earlier in March by the board, would ask voters to approve $317 million in capital expenses and $33 million for operating costs, phased in over four years.

The capital referendum would fund renovations for the four comprehensive high schools, help the district build a new elementary school on the city’s south side and consolidate Capital High School into the Hoyt School building.

The operating referendum would give the board additional taxing authority, with $6 million in year one, $8 million in year two, $9 million in year three and $10 million in the fourth year. It would be cumulative each year, meaning by the end the board would be able to tax up to $33 million above state levy limits.

District chief financial officer Kelly Ruppel said Friday staff are “still in the process” of determining the financial impact of closures on the district.

She said good news included timing. It is the last quarter of the year, and the state has agreed to grant waivers to school districts that don’t meet statutory requirements for hours of instruction for students.

“We’ve collected most of our revenue for the year already,” Ruppel said.

However, there have been “some unforeseen expenses,” including extra funding for custodial work and keeping buildings clean (if, or when, students return). Additionally, some virtual learning preparation has added expenses, despite being near a one-to-one device-to-student ratio.

Notes, links and commentary on Madison’s planned 2020 tax and spending increase referendum plans.

“The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”.

Madison has long spent far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 school districts.