Dave Cieslewicz: There have been no cuts, furloughs or reduced hours for municipal workers in the City-County Building or anywhere else in city government yet. It’s time for local governments in Dane County to make some cuts in response to the economic dislocations caused by the coronavirus epidemic. And, unfortunately, to be meaningful they’ll also … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Spending & Referendum Climate: Freeze property taxes Local governments must consider cuts and furloughs too
Annysa Johnson: 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 … Continue reading Property taxes would spike under Milwaukee Schools’ referendum scenarios
The Madison School District is considering another property tax increase referendum for the upcoming November election. We’ve long spent more than most districts (“plenty of resources”), despite challenging academic outcomes. I thought it might be useful to revisit the choices homeowners and parents make. I’ve compared two properties, one in Middleton (2015 assessment: $257,500.00) and … Continue reading Madison Schools 2016 Property Tax Increase Referendum – Let’s Compare: Madison and Middleton Property Taxes
Molly Beck There’s been little movement since mid-March when Madison School District Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham proposed asking voters in November for $39.5 million in borrowing to upgrade facilities and address crowding. The proposed referendum’s annual impact on property taxes on a $200,000 Madison home could range from $32 to $44, according to the district. After … Continue reading Trial Balloon on Raising Madison’s Property Taxes via another School Referendum? Homeowners compare communities…..
Voters evaluating the Madison School District’s November referendum (construct a new far west side elementary school, expand Leopold Elementary and refinance District debt) have much to consider. Phil Brinkman added to the mix Sunday noting that “total property taxes paid have grown at a faster pace than income”. A few days later, the US Census … Continue reading Fall Referendum Climate: Local Property Taxes & Income Growth
Wisconsin Policy Forum: As we noted in our first Madison budget brief last year, Wisconsin’s capital city relies heavily on a single source of revenue – local property taxes – that is limited by state law. Because of these restrictions, the proposed budget would increase 2021 property taxes on this December’s bills by one of … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: 2021 City of Madison Budget Brief
Scott Girard: The $317 million ask is among the largest in the history of the state, according to state Department of Public Instruction data. It is surpassed only by Racine’s barely approved $1 billion question in April, which won by five votes, and Milwaukee’s $366 million 1993 question that failed. [New Madison elementary school would … Continue reading Madison School District to hold Facebook Live sessions on 2020 tax & spending increase referendum beginning this week
Charlotte Edmond: Germany’s largest trade union, IG Metall, is proposing its members call for a four-day week to offset economic pressures heightened by the pandemic. The proposal has had a mixed reception, with the German labour minister open to the possibility, while others are fundamentally opposed. The idea of a reduced working week has already … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Spending, Referendum and School Climate: Germany eyes a four-day week to help prevent mass layoffs
Logan Wroge: An advocacy group of Black leaders is opposing the Madison School District’s $350 million ask of taxpayers this fall, arguing the proposals are under-developed and the district hasn’t done enough to support African American children to get their endorsement on the two November ballot referendums. In a statement sent to some media members … Continue reading Group of Black leaders opposing $350M Madison schools referendums
Jeffrey Tucker: What becomes of government credibility in the post-lockdown period? There are thousands of politicians in this country for whom this is a chilling question, even a taboo topic. The reputation of government was already at postwar lows before the lockdowns, with only 17% of the American public saying that they trusted government to … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum and spending climate: What Will Not Recover: Government
Chris Hubbach: After a spring of pandemic lockdowns and a summer of uncertainty as coronavirus infections surged, working parents with school-age children now face what could be a year of online schooling, presenting a buffet of bad options. Sacrifice earnings and career advancement to stay home. Hire a nanny, if you can afford it. Lean … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Spending & Referendum climate: Parents and closed schools
Steven Elbow: The coronavirus pandemic has a lot of people feeling boxed in. But for Michelle Possin it opened up a whole new realm of possibilities. Before the COVID-19 crisis, the 54-year-old recruiter for TASC, a Madison-based administrative services company, spent half her time at home and the other half in the office. But now … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum and Spending Climate: Freed from the office, Madison telecommuters are snapping up rural homes
Scott Girard: Options at the new school under the recommendation would include designating it as a Community School — the district has four of those now — or creating specific programming like social-emotional learning, social justice or environmental education. Other ideas could still be added to that list as the planning process continues. Teachers have … Continue reading 2020 Referendum: Commentary on adding another physical Madison School amidst flat/declining enrollment..
Oregon State University: A new study from Oregon State University found that 77% of low- to moderate-income American households fall below the asset poverty threshold, meaning that if their income were cut off they would not have the financial assets to maintain at least poverty-level status for three months. The study compared asset poverty rates … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum and Spending Climate: Most Americans don’t have enough assets to withstand 3 months without income
Daniel Greenfield: The police aren’t policing and the teachers aren’t teaching. While many vital services aren’t functioning, the useless machinery of the bureaucracy grinds on with no one to pay for it. Locked down businesses don’t generate revenues and the unemployed aren’t a tax base. Tax revenues in New York City fell 46% in June. … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: Local governments want to defund the police, shut down the schools, and raise taxes.
Mike Antonucci: Students of civics might think the California state budget is crafted by the elected representatives of the citizenry, who debate and amend proposals working their way through various committees, ultimately leading to a spending plan with majority support and the signature of the governor. All that happens, of course, but no budget makes … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum & spending climate: California’s state budget has big benefits for a Teacher unions, stifles charter schools and funds phantom students
Elle Reynolds: As the White House and House and Senate leaders continue trying to decide how to distribute more deficit spending on items tagged “coronavirus,” Democrats have come under fire for pushing a $137 billion tax break for the wealthy. The proposal, which was also part of a 1,800-page bill the Democrat-led House passed in … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: In Coronavirus Bill, Democrats Push Massive Tax Cut For The Rich
Benjamin Purvis: One of the world’s major credit-rating companies fired a warning shot regarding the U.S.’s worsening public finances on Friday, just as lawmakers in Washington contemplate spending more to combat the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Fitch Ratings revised its outlook on the country’s credit score to negative from stable, citing a “deterioration … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: U.S. Gets a Debt Warning From Fitch as Stimulus Battle Rages
Logan Wroge: The Madison School District will spend close to $500,000 out of the $8.2 million the district estimates it will receive from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to shore up its mathematics instruction for elementary and middle school students. Using CARES Act money, the district plans to: • Purchase … Continue reading Madison School District to use some federal COVID-19 relief funds for online math instruction (Fall 2020 Referendum tax & Spending increase plans continue)
Logan Wroge: The Madison School District is eligible for up to $3.9 million. It’s the only district in Dane County that is eligible for money from this specific pot in the CARES Act. Costs continue to grow for local, state and federal taxpayers in the K-12 space, as well: Let’s compare: Middleton and Madison Property … Continue reading Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 schools may receive an additional $3.9M in redistributed federal tax dollars amidst fall 2020 referendum plans
Lucia Mutukani: “The numbers also verify that many people are leaving, or planning to leave, big cities as telecommuting becomes the norm for many businesses.” Housing starts increased 17.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.186 million units last month, the Commerce Department said. The percentage gain was the largest since October 2016. Data … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: Flight to suburbs boosts U.S. homebuilding
Scott Girard: If approved, the district would be able to exceed the revenue limit by $6 million in 2020-21, an additional $8 million in 2021-22, another $9 million in 2022-23 and finally another $10 million in 2023-24. The referendum would allow the district to surpass the revenue limit by that total of $33 million in … Continue reading Madison School Board approves a substantial tax and spending hike fall 2020 referendum
Administration PDF: Proposed Question 1: Shall the Madison Metropolitan School District, Dane County, Wisconsin be authorized to exceed the revenue limit specified in Section 121.91, Wisconsin Statutes, by $6,000,000 for 2020-2021 school year; by an additional $8,000,000 (for a total $14,000,000) for 2021-2022 school year; by an additional $9,000,000 (for a total of $23,000,000) for … Continue reading 7.13.2020 Madison School District Fall Referendum Presentation Deck
Dean Mosiman: As a result, Rhodes-Conway is implementing actions including a hiring freeze on all positions with exceptions for essential services, additional review and approval for seasonal hiring, and a halt to purchasing of all nonessential supplies and services in order to reduce spending in the $341 million operating budget for this year. The revised … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: Tax base and government income decline
Dean Mosiman: More than 70% of the city’s General Fund revenues come from the property tax, and nearly two-third of property taxes have already been paid for 2020, which brings some stability, Schmiedicke said. The city already imposed a $40 wheel tax for the current budget. But preliminary projections show an overall drop of 4%, or about $13 … Continue reading 2020 Referendum Climate: Madison Tax Base Edition
Associated Press: The defeat Tuesday of the largest borrowing proposal in the history of California schools — $15 billion for repairs — has opened the question of whether Californian voters put a temporary halt to the growth of government debt because of the unsettled political scene, or because they are on the cusp of a … Continue reading 2020 Tax & Spending Referendum Climate: Had Enough? Californians Turn Down Higher Taxes, Debt
Ben Eisen and Laura Kusisto: The average property tax bill in the U.S. in 2018 was about $3,500, according to Attom Data Solutions, a real-estate data firm. But many residents in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and California had been deducting well over $10,000 a year. In Westchester County, N.Y., the average property-tax bill was … Continue reading Madison 2020 Referendum Climate: Taxpayers decide some states aren’t worth it
Documents from the January 11, 2020 taxpayer supported Madison School Board retreat: Administration slides (pdf) Hanover Research Consulting Summary (PDF) Hanover Research: duckduckgo www Illinois (!) Association of School Boards referendum summary (pdf) Much more on the planned 2020 taxpayer supported Madison School District referendum, here. 2019: Madison increased property taxes by 7.2%.
Benjamin Yount: Sen. Duey Stroebel of Wisconsin’s 20th District wants taxpayers in the state to know two things. One, property taxes in Wisconsin are actually down over the past decade. That’s thanks, he says, to Republican lawmakers and former Gov. Scott Walker. And two, Stroebel said the state legislature has protected homeowners from the skyrocketing … Continue reading Wisconsin taxpayers have been protected from high school referendum costs
Ron Vetterkind: 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. Wisconsin policy … Continue reading Madison increases property taxes by 7.2%, despite tolerating long term, disastrous reading results
Logan Wroge: If a new operating referendum is passed, the School Board could then permanently raise property taxes over the next four school years, potentially using all $36 million of authority. In 2016, voters passed a $26 million operating referendum, which similarly was phased in over four years, ending in 2019-20. Over the four years, … Continue reading Commentary on a planned 2020 Taxpayer supported Madison K-12 School referendum
The presentation included assertions on redistributed state taxpayer dollars sent to Madison (2010 – 2019 data available here). The presentation did not mention total Madison K-12 spending , nor the implications of spending increase referendums on local property taxes and redistributed state taxpayer funds. In essence, the more a local school district exceeds state revenue … Continue reading Madison K-12 Achievement Data @ LaFollette 2020 Referendum Presentation
Madison property taxes are 22% more than Middleton’s for a comparable home, based on this comparison of 2017 sales. xlsx file. Related links: Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 tax and spending history. Madison spends around 18.5 to 20K per student, depending on the district documents reviewed (some include all referendum spending). Middleton taxpayers spent $90,989,198 for … Continue reading Let’s Compare: Middleton and Madison Property Taxes
Logan Wroge: If voters were to approve a $150 million referendum, the owner of a $300,000 house — near the median-value home in the district of $294,833 — could have their property taxes increase by $93 annually, according to district estimates. A larger referendum of $280 million is estimated to raise property taxes on a … Continue reading Commentary on a proposed 2020 Madison K-12 Tax & Spending Increase Referendum
Margaret Cannon: According to Wisconsin Policy Forum report, voters approved referendum questions totaling $783 million. Total borrowing requests on school district ballots statewide reached $1.2 billion, with voters turning down some of the largest individual ballot items. Voters approved 45 of the 60 questions on this year’s ballot. The Wisconsin Policy Forum report shows a … Continue reading Commentary on Wisconsin K-12 School Tax & Spending Referendums
Bill Osmulski: Homeowners in 148 school districts across Wisconsin will be getting an unexpected tax cut next year, but many of those districts would prefer to keep that a secret – and backfill those savings with new spending. It will be decades before the savings justify the expense – which was considerable. Last year alone, … Continue reading School Districts Use Projected Tax Cuts To Hide Huge Referendum Tax Hikes
It is unfortunate two recent articles on the upcoming Madison School District tax & spending increase referendum lack data, such as: Total Spending for the current budget ($449,482,373.22 more) – about $18,000/student. Chicago spends about $14,336/student, Boston $20,707 and Long Beach $12,671/student. Historic Spending Changes (spending increases every year) Academic Outcomes vs. Spending Comparison with … Continue reading Commentary (seems to lack data…) on Madison’s K-12 Tax & Spending Increase Referendum
Matthew Albright and Saranac Hale Spencer: The success of those votes comes down to whether district officials can coax enough parents with children in public schools to go to the polls. They must outnumber those who don’t feel they have a stake in the schools or who feel districts should do more to prove they … Continue reading At what cost? School referendums splinter communities
Molly Beck: If approved, the referendum would raise property taxes about $62 on the average $237,678 Madison home for 10 years. The district is still paying off $30 million in referendum debt for the construction of Olson and Chavez elementary schools in the late 2000s, according to the district. The final payment, for the Olson … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s April 7, 2015 Maintenance Referendum; District spending data remains MIA
A variety of notes and links on the planned 2015 Madison School District Property Tax Increase referendum: Madison Schools’ PDF Slides on the proposed projects. Ironically, Madison has long supported a wide variation in low income distribution across its schools. This further expenditure sustains the substantial variation, from Hamilton’s 18% low income population to Black … Continue reading Property Tax Increase Climate: Madison’s Proposed 2015 Spending Referendum
Nick Heynen: Using data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the report’s authors examined residential property taxes in every U.S. county from 2007 to 2011, looking at how much homeowners were paying on average and how that average compared to average home sale prices over the same time period. The data contained some interesting, … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Madison/Dane County Property Taxes Highest in Wisconsin, 61st in USA
Tap the chart to view a larger version. A few slides from the School District’s fourth 2014-2015 budget presentation to the Board: I am surprised to see Physician’s Plus missing from the healthcare choices, which include: GHC, Unity or Dean. The slides mention that the “Budget Proposal Covers the First 5% of Health Insurance Premium … Continue reading Madison’s Property Taxes Per Capita 2nd Highest in WI; 25% of 2014-2015 $402,464,374 Budget Spent on Benefits
Madison Schools’ March, 2014 Facility Plan (PDF):: Shorewood Elementary: In conjunction with building an elevator tower, add a four-classroom addition. The additional classrooms are a relatively easy gain based on the building design. Shorewood’s 2013-2014 Low Income Population: 33.8%; All Madison Elementary Schools: 52.1% 2012-2013 Basic & Minimal Reading Proficiency: 34.3% Madison School District: 62.5% … Continue reading Elementary Data: Madison’s Proposed $39,500,000 Maintenance & Expansion Referendum
Department of Numbers.
City of Madison Assessor Reports
August, 2006 (Deja-vu): Property Taxes Outstrip Income.
Budget Cuts: We Won’t Be as Bold and Innovative as Oconomowoc, and That’s Okay.
Madison Schools’ 2013-2014 Budget Charts, Documents, Links, Background & Missing Numbers.
Madison’s long-term disastrous reading results.
The Hated Property Tax: Salience, Tax Rates, and Tax Revolts.
Levying the Land.
Revenue Potential and Implementation
Challenges (IMF PDF).
Tax Policy Reform and Economic Growth (OECD).
Stagnant School Governance; Tax & Spending Growth and the “NSA’s European Adventure”.
Analysis: Madison School District has resources to close achievement gap.
A Middleton home paid $4,648.16 in 2012 while a Madison home paid 16% more, or $5,408.38. Local efforts to significantly increase property taxes may grow the gap with Middleton..
The analysis comes on the heels of a 2012-13 budget for the district proposed by Nerad that would increase Madison School District property taxes by 4.1 percent. Nerad’s $379.3 million budget did not specify a funding source for his high-profile plan to raise the achievement levels of low-income and minority students, originally estimated to cost $105.6 million over the next five years.
The report outlines several options for doubling the district’s maintenance funds, such as using money already within the district’s budget, increasing the property tax levy, using current and future equity reserves, long-term borrowing, or asking voters to approve a referendum that would allow for annual increases for maintenance.
The district spends $4.5 million, or 2.77 percent of its budget, on facility maintenance, which the committee recommended increasing by $4.2 million.
That would amount to $566 per pupil, according to the report. By contrast, the Monona Grove school district spends $1,825 per pupil on facility costs; Sun Prairie schools spend $1,787; and Waunakee spends $1,443, the report said.
Related regarding the most recent Madison School District maintenance referendum: Madison School Board member may seek audit of how 2005 maintenance referendum dollars were spent.
The owner of a $235,000 home would see an average increase in their taxes of $95 a year for the next five years. Starting in 2017, property taxes would decrease because other debt will be retired, according to district officials.
The referendum, one of just three in the state on Tuesday, includes a second question asking for $150,000 a year for operating costs. The primary question asks for a long list of improvements, including $25.3 million for work at the high school and $3.2 million at the middle school.
A new fieldhouse at the high school, including new locker rooms and a fitness center, would provide space for gym classes and practices, and more seating for sporting events and graduation.
When the main gymnasium was built more than three decades ago, there were 600 students at the high school compared to 1,150 today. The project would bring the school in line with other Badger Conference facilities in Waunakee, DeForest and Stoughton.
“Parents interview us now. They just don’t move to the district,” Superintendent Brian Busler said. “This is all part of the entire puzzle that parents are looking for.”
The Madison School District is positioned to reduce property taxes next year because of proposed reductions in state funding and concessions from its employee unions, a district official said Tuesday.
Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal calls for a 5.5 percent reduction in district revenues, which the Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimated Tuesday would reduce district funding statewide by $465 million.
Madison estimates its revenues — a combination of property taxes and state aid — would drop $15 million under the governor’s proposal, assistant superintendent for business services Erik Kass said.
The district’s property taxes would be $243 million next year, or $2 million less than this year, Kass said, because of an increase in enrollment, a proposed $5 million reduction in state aid and a 2008 referendum that allows the district to exceed its revenue limit set by the state.
Are you worried that we are passing our debt on to future generations? Well, you need not worry.
Before this recession it appeared that absent action, the government’s long-term commitments would become a problem in a few decades. I believe the government response to the recession has created budgetary stress sufficient to bring about the crisis much sooner. Our generation — not our grandchildren’s — will have to deal with the consequences.
According to the Bank for International Settlements, the United States’ structural deficit — the amount of our deficit adjusted for the economic cycle — has increased from 3.1 percent of gross domestic product in 2007 to 9.2 percent in 2010. This does not take into account the very large liabilities the government has taken on by socializing losses in the housing market. We have not seen the bills for bailing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and even more so the Federal Housing Administration, which is issuing government-guaranteed loans to non-creditworthy borrowers on terms easier than anything offered during the housing bubble. Government accounting is done on a cash basis, so promises to pay in the future — whether Social Security benefits or loan guarantees — do not count in the budget until the money goes out the door.
A good percentage of the structural increase in the deficit is because last year’s “stimulus” was not stimulus in the traditional sense. Rather than a one-time injection of spending to replace a cyclical reduction in private demand, the vast majority of the stimulus has been a permanent increase in the base level of government spending — including spending on federal jobs. How different is the government today from what General Motors was a decade ago? Government employees are expensive and difficult to fire. Bloomberg News reported that from the last peak businesses have let go 8.5 million people, or 7.4 percent of the work force, while local governments have cut only 141,000 workers, or less than 1 percent.
Locally, the Madison School Board meets Tuesday evening, 6/1 to discuss the 2010-2011 budget, which looks like it will raise property taxes at least 10%. A number of issues have arisen around the District’s numbers, including expenditures from the 2005 maintenance referendum.
I’ve not seen any updates on Susan Troller’s April, 12, 2010 question: “Where did the money go?” It would seem that proper resolution of this matter would inform the public with respect to future spending and tax increases.
Anyone keeping tabs of next week’s election in the Minneapolis School District is likely aware of a $60 million levy that would raise property taxes to garner more funding for schools. But there’s also a second question on the ballot that’s not getting much attention.
Minneapolis, Minn. — The first question would raise property taxes on a $250,000 house by about $200 a year.
Supporters, like Superintendent Bill Green, say the extra money is needed because the state hasn’t kept pace with education funding, and the district will have to make deep budget cuts without the extra money.
When we ran the previous referendum, it was based on an assumption that the state and federal government would continue the allocation formula they had set out,” Green said. “That we would be able to anticipate that they would keep pace with the cost of living and other factors.
“They didn’t, and so we feel we can’t make the same assumptions (now).”
There is no formal campaign opposing the levy, but voters have expressed opposition.
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
On November 4, the Madison School Board is asking voters to vote yes on a referendum that will increase the property tax support base for Madison’s public schools by a total of $13 million after three years. For owners of a $250,000, that translates to an additional $90 in property taxes by the third year. … Continue reading Is the 2008 School Referendum Just More of the Same? No!
For years, Massachusetts was known derisively as “Taxachusetts.” But voters could help shed that label in November by completely eliminating the state’s income tax in a single stroke.
If approved, the ballot initiative would wipe out 40 percent of state revenues and give back to each taxpayer an average of $3,600.
The Massachusetts proposal is the most notable of several tax-cutting questions that will appear next month on ballots around the nation.
Others include a North Dakota initiative to cut individual income tax rates in half and trim corporate rates by 15 percent; an Arizona measure to mandate that any initiatives requiring spending or tax increases be approved by majority of all registered voters, not just those casting ballots; and a Maine plan to repeal new taxes on beer, wine and soda.
In Massachusetts, critics say there’s no way to chop $11 billion out of a $28 billion budget without decimating services, which could include closing schools and fire stations. Aid to cities and towns would also decline, placing enormous pressure on property taxes.
Massachusetts, is of course, home of the “Boston Tea Party“.
NY Times Graphics.
- Wisconsin State Tax Based K-12 Spending Growth Far Exceeds University Funding
- Referendum Climate: Charts – Enrollment; Local, State, Federal and Global Education Spending
- Property Tax Effect – Madison School District
- K-12 Tax & Spending Climate
- The subject of local property taxes, state and federal income taxes and fees vis a vis school spending was discussed at Madison Superintendent Dan Nerad’s recent appearance at the Dane County Public Affairs Council
Further proof that there is no free lunch. The ongoing calls for additional state redistributed tax dollars for K-12 public education will likely have an effect on other programs, as this information illustrates. I do think that there should be a conversation on spending priorities.
The current financial system “crisis” presents parents with an excellent opportunity to chat with our children about money, banks, politics and taxes (When you deposit the baby sitting money, where does it go? What happens if the funds are no longer in the bank?). It is a rather potent mix. Much more, here.
We are asking if you would put this in your school newsletters and share it with your members as we need your help to spread the word about the referendum to your friends and neighbors. Please feel free to share the attached with your neighborhood newsletters as well.
Jackie Woodruff firstname.lastname@example.org
Communites and Schools Together Treasurer
On November 4, 2008 voters in the Madison school district will decide on a funding referendum that is crucial to the future of our children and our community.
Good schools are the backbone of a healthy community. Our public schools are essential for expanding prosperity, creating opportunity, overcoming inequality, and assuring an informed, involved citizenry. Madison’s public schools have been highly successful and highly regarded for many years. We’ve learned that quality public education comes from well-trained teachers, the hard work of our students and teachers, and also from a steady commitment from the community at large.
After several public forums, study, and deliberation, the Board of Education has unanimously recommended that our community go to referendum, to allow the board to budget responsibly and exceed the revenue caps for the 2009-2012 school years. The referendum is a compromise proposal in that it seeks to offset only about 60% of the estimated budget shortfall in order to keep tax increases low.
The projection is that school property taxes would increase by less than 2%. Even with increased property values and a successful referendum, most property owners will still pay less school property taxes than they did in 2001.
Most importantly, this November 4th, the voters in Madison can recommit to public education and its ideals by passing a referendum for the Madison Metropolitan School District.
Thank you so much for your work and support for Madison’s Public Schools, Communities and Schools Together (CAST) – a grassroots organization devoted to educating and advocating on behalf of quality schools — needs your help in support of the November referendum. We need volunteers to help distribute literature, put up yard signs, host house parties for neighbors, write letters to the editor–but most of all we need your support by voting YES on the referendum question.
Keep our schools and communities strong by supporting the referendum. To learn more, donate to the campaign or get involved–visit Community and Schools Together (CAST) at www.madisoncast.org.
Mitch Henck discusses Monday evening’s Madison School Board 7-0 vote to proceed with a recurring referendum this November. 19 minutes into this 15mb mp3. Topics include: property taxes, uncontested elections, health care costs, concessions before negotiations and local control. Via a kind reader’s email.
On Aug. 18 Nerad will present his recommendations to the board on whether a referendum is the way to trim an $8.2 million hole in the budget, and the board likely will vote Aug. 25 to formulate referendum questions for the Nov. 4 election. In addition, the gap is expected to be $6 million in the 2010-11 school year and $5.1 million in 2011-12.
Since a state-imposed revenue formula was implemented in 1993 to control property taxes, the district has cut $60 million in programs, staffing and services. The district did not have to make budget reductions during the 2008-09 school year after it benefited from a one-time, $5.7 million tax incremental financing district windfall from the city. The district will spend approximately $367.6 million during the 2008-09 school year, an increase of about 0.75 percent over the 2007-08 school year budget.
In addition to exploring reductions, Madison officials are researching how much it would cost to begin offering kindergarten to 4-year-olds in the district — a program offered by two-thirds of the school districts in Wisconsin.
Resident William Rowe, a retired educator, urged school officials to generate excitement by offering 4K, which research has shown can help improve academic achievement.
“I believe this is the time to go for it,” said Rowe, who proposed that a 4K referendum be offered separately from a referendum that would help avert budget cuts.
Don Severson, president of Active Citizens for Education, a district watchdog group, praised district officials for making the process so open to the public. However, he urged officials to provide more information about the costs and benefits of specific programs to help the public understand what’s working and what’s not. He predicted a referendum is “going to be very difficult to pass” but said he still hasn’t decided whether one is needed.
Much more on the budget here.
The poor rating should serve as yet another warning to state and local leaders not to jack up this worst-of-all tax even higher. It also should energize groups such as The Wisconsin Way, which is brainstorming for creative and fair ways to reduce our state ‘s property tax burden while growing our high-tech economy.
If anything, the Taxpayers Alliance ranking Tuesday minimized the pinch many Wisconsin homeowners feel. That ‘s because the group looked at the burden on all properties together — homes, businesses, farms and other land.
If you single out just homes, a different study last year suggested Wisconsin property taxes rank No. 1 in the nation. The National Association of Home Builders compiled property tax rates on a median-valued home in each state. Only Wisconsin and Texas (which doesn ‘t have a state income tax) exceeded $18 per $1,000 of property value.
In its report Tuesday, the Taxpayers Alliance measured the property tax bite more broadly. It ranked states based on ability to pay. It found that Wisconsin ‘s property tax burden eats up about 4.4 percent of personal income here.
Mark Perry – “A Nation of Entitlements“:
These middle class retirement programs, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, cost more than $1 trillion annually (about the same as the entire economic output of Canada, the 13th largest ecoomy in the world, see chart above), and will cause federal spending to jump by half, from 20% of the economy to 35% by 2035. This tsunami of spending is a major threat to limited government because it runs on auto-pilot with automatic increases locked in by each program’s governing laws. While other programs are constrained through annual budgets, entitlements get first call on resources. Other goals such as defense or national security must compete for an increasingly smaller share of what’s left.
Net property taxes in Wisconsin rose 5.7% in 2008, the largest increase since 2005, the year before the recent levy limits on municipalities and counties were imposed. A new report from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX) found that while gross property taxes climbed 6.2%, state lawmakers increased the school levy credit $79.3 million to $672.4 million to lessen the impact on property taxpayers. The new study, “The Property Tax in National Context,” notes that 2006 property taxes here were ninth highest nationally and higher than those in all surrounding states.
According to the new study, school levies rose the most, 7.4%. With the recent state budget delayed until October 2007, school aids were unchanged from 2006-07. Since school property taxes are tied to state aids through state-imposed revenue limits, the budget delay resulted in higher school property taxes, WISTAX said. Now in its 76th year, WISTAX is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public-policy research organization dedicated to citizen education.
County and municipal levy increases were limited by state lawmakers to the greater of 3.86% or the increase in property values due to new construction. There were exceptions to the limits, particularly for new debt service. The WISTAX report noted that, with a slowing real estate market, statewide net new construction growth was 2.5%. However, municipal property taxes climbed 5.0%, and county levies were up 4.5%.
Among the three types of municipalities, municipal-purpose property tax levies in cities (5.3%) grew fastest, followed by villages (4.6%) and towns (4.2%). The report noted that the state’s two largest municipalities had above-average increases: Milwaukee was up 9.0%, while Madison’s municipal levy climbed 6.9%. The largest county increases were in Eau Claire (19.2%), Polk (13.5%), Door (12.4%), and Pierce (12.3%) counties.
Related: Wisconsin State Tax revenues up 2.9%.
This is the most challenging budget year I have seen in six years and it appears to be among the most challenging in two decades or more. High fuel prices combined with lagging revenues associated with the economic downturn and increases in debt service and other costs will force us to work hard just to maintain current services. Other typical cost increases in areas such as health insurance and wages will create additional pressure on our budget situation.
Based on current estimates, our “cost to continue” budget would result in an unacceptably high increase of about 10% for taxes on the average home and a levy increase of around 15%.
- Isthmus: A comparison of new Madison Superintendent Dan Nerad’s former home: Green Bay; and Madison from a staffing and budget perspective. More on the two Districts here.
- Wisconsin’s per capita property tax burden increased 17.2% between 2000 and 2005 according to the Tax Foundation.
- Education formula helps rich schools get richer
- School Finance: K-12 Tax & Spending Climate
- Montana Governer Brian Schweitzer: Economic Growth Provides Money for Education
- Wisconsin Governor Doyle tells state agencies to cut budgets
- Madison’s budget has grown from $245,131,022 in 1998 to $367,806,712 in 2008, while enrollment has declined slightly from 25,132 to 24,268 ($13,997/student). 2008 budget discussion notes.
- A local pro-referendum group: Communities and Schools Together.
One would hope that a referendum initiative would address a number of simmering issues, including math, curriculum reduction, expanded charter options, a look at the cost and effectiveness of reading recovery, perhaps a reduction in the local curriculum creation department and the elimination of the controversial report card initiative. Or, will we see the now decades old “same service approach” to MMSD spending growth?
t said that he believes Tuesday’s school referendum failed because it had “no light at the end of the tunnel”.
Terry Zander was one of three school board members opposed to holding the referendum and said that he voted against it. He doesn’t, however, rule out the possibility of another referendum being held later, perhaps next spring, WISC-TV reported.
District voters saw their total property tax bills rise 16 percent last year when adding together school and all other property taxes. They narrowly defeated Tuesday’s plan, which sought to exceed state revenue caps and increase spending by a total $800,000 to cover budget deficits during the next two years.
The measure was defeated by a mere 53 votes, but Zander said that the “people have spoken” and the amount of votes shouldn’t matter.
He said that he doesn’t believe people change a budget deficit situation overnight. He said that past cuts are still being implemented and that voters want the board to work together to find a long-term solution to the situation. When that is done, Zander said that if a deficit remains, he could see holding another referendum.
This is the second referendum in two years that has failed to get approved, WISC-TV reported.
Ruth Robarts, who supports Maya Cole and Rick Thomas for School Board, wrote the following letter to the editor: I voted no on Carol Carstensen’s proposed three-year referendum for several reasons. First, a referendum requires careful planning. Two weeks’ notice did not allow the School Board to do the necessary analysis or planning. Second, the … Continue reading Ruth Robarts: Let’s take school closings off the table, start the planning needed for another referendum
On March 26, I voted no on Carol Carstensen’s proposed three-year referendum for several reasons. First, a referendum requires careful planning. Two weeks notice did not allow the Madison School Board to do the necessary analysis or planning. Ms. Carstensen—not the administration—provided the only budget analysis for her proposal. The board has not set priorities … Continue reading Yes to strategic planning, no to last minute referendums and school closings
Bonnie Jenko: What’s needed now in terms of facilities wasn’t even an illusion 50 years ago. How many of us would like to have heart surgery in a hospital built in 1950 but never upgraded? How about taking the car to a repair shop that looks just like it did in 1955? Comparatively, schools built … Continue reading The School Referendum Season Commences
Steven Walters: Gov. Jim Doyle will ask the Legislature to let local governments raise their fall property tax levies by 4% – double the limit of the past two years, but a rate the governor said would still control local taxes. He also said his plan would impose tight limits to protect homeowners, who now … Continue reading Wisconsin Governor Doyle Proposes a 4% Increase in Property Taxes
On November 7th, voters will be asked to approve a referendum allowing the Madison Metropolitan School District to build a new school and exceed its revenue cap. After very careful consideration, the Board of Education unanimously decided to ask the question. I fully support this referendum and urge you to vote yes. Our community is … Continue reading THOROUGH ANALYSIS SUPPORTS “YES” VOTE ON SCHOOL REFERENDUM
There were some interesting items in today’s conversation between Don Severson and Vicki Mckenna [13.7MB mp3 audio file]: A caller (29 minutes): “Why does the rest of the media have such complacency with the Schools?” Don noted the lack of negative aids discussion in Monday’s “very long” Wisconsin State Journal article. The caller raised a … Continue reading Severson / McKenna on Negative Aid, Local Media Coverage of Schools and the Referendum
Timing is everything. Timing is the reason that I believe a one-year operating referendum has a better chance of passage than a two or three year referendum. Since being elected to the Madison school board last year, it has been very clear to me that many people in our community are educated in school board … Continue reading Timing Of The One-Year Operating Referendum
I received this message from Brian Grau, a teacher from LaFollette who recently visited his hometown of Racine, who like Madison is going to referendum. Enjoy! The Journal Times, Racine, WI, 3/24/05 Referendum means it’s time for finger pointing By Jeff Ruggaber Hey Racine! It’s that time again. Time to complain about money spent on … Continue reading Referendum means it’s time for finger pointing
Lee Sensenbrenner on the 119M in planned May 24 referendums: If the voters approve a referendum May 24 to prevent classroom and extracurricular cuts for three years, along with two other referendums to ensure adequate maintenance for five years and to expand Leopold Elementary School on the south side, the five-year property tax impact of … Continue reading 119M in Referendums – Lee Sensenbrenner
On March 28, the Madison School Board will vote to place three referendums on the ballot in a special election on May 24. The total bill for the referendums will be $85.1M if the operating budget referendum is for three years, as proposed by Finance Chair Carol Carstensen.
I realize that many people in this community arent happy about the recent decision made by the Madison School Board to go to referendum for the operational budget shortfall. This will indeed raise property taxes. I am more than sympathetic to senior citizens (or others) on fixed incomes and how this decision affects them. I … Continue reading Referendum Racism
Wall Street Journal: Education will get a whopping $82 billion, about $54 billion of which will go to K-12 schools though many are closed and employ fewer staff. That’s about as much as the federal government spends on K-12 in a normal year. Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district recently raised spending (and property taxes) … Continue reading A K-12 Windfall
Craig Torres: The concentration of market power in a handful of companies lies behind several disturbing trends in the U.S. economy, like the deepening of inequality and financial instability, two Federal Reserve Board economists say in a new paper. Isabel Cairo and Jae Sim identify a decline in competition, with large firms controlling more of … Continue reading Monopoly Power Lies Behind Worst Trends in U.S., Fed Study Says
Chris Stewart discusses our long term, disastrous reading results with Kaleem Caire. mp3 audio transcript 2011: A majority of the Madison School Board aborted the proposed Madison Preparatory IB Charter school. Kaleem Caire notes and links. Let’s compare: Middleton and Madison Property taxes Madison property taxes are 22% more than Middleton’s for a comparable home, … Continue reading “The Shame of Progressive Cities, Madison edition”
Scott Girard: Records released by the Madison Metropolitan School District show feedback from staff and community members included plenty of praise and criticism for the two finalists for the district’s superintendent position this summer. Both Carlton Jenkins and Carol Kelley received positive feedback from many who filled out the forms, which asked respondents to answer … Continue reading A summary of community feedback (website) on Madison’s recent Superintendent candidates
Dahlia Bazzaz: The district and the union have been discussing work expectations for this fall, sparring over the prospect of some instructors providing in-person services. This marks the third straight summer when bargaining talks have cast doubt over the first day of school. Robinson denied that the idea of a delayed start was being explored … Continue reading “That is all tied up in the bargaining so there’s nothing I can say about it,” Robinson wrote in an email.
Cathy Ruse & Tony Perkins: There is no better time to make a change than right now, when public education is in chaos. What’s that popping sound? Could it be a million figurative lightbulbs clicking on above public-school parents’ heads? The vast majority of American families send their children to public schools. Only 11 percent … Continue reading Rather Than Reopen, It’s Time to Rethink Government Education
Gloria Reyes: We must prepare and implement a plan of action to prevent violence and to stop this horrific rise in violence.” David Blaska: Our word of the day is ‘Chutzpah’ (Yiddish for “what nerve!”) This is the school board president who kicked cops out of Madison’s troubled high schools NEWS ALERT: Detectives from the … Continue reading Madison School Board President’s Rhetoric on growing gun violence
Scott Girard: More than twice as many Wisconsin families as a year ago have told the state they plan to homeschool for the 2020-21 school year. According to data from the state Department of Public Instruction, 1,661 families filed forms to homeschool between July 1 and Aug. 6, up from 727 during the same period … Continue reading Wisconsin Homeschooling requests more than double last year
Scott Girard: Jane Belmore retired in 2005 after nearly three decades as a Madison teacher and principal. That wasn’t the end of her career with the Madison Metropolitan School District: She’s since been asked twice to lead when the district found itself between superintendents. Both turned out to be pivotal moments for the district. Cap … Continue reading A chat with Jane Belmore
Brittney Martin: Though Lee struggled with her online classes last semester, Garcia plans to keep her home again this fall. Lee has asthma, as does her nineteen-year-old sister, who contracted COVID-19 in June and narrowly avoided having to be admitted to the hospital as she struggled to breathe. Garcia has once again requested a hot … Continue reading Texas Education Association online education Commentary
Scott Girard: The new Madison Metropolitan School District superintendent stressed the importance of community buy-in during his introductory press conferenceWednesday. Carlton Jenkins, hired in early July, began in the role Aug. 4. He said he will focus on improving reading abilities, improving student mental health and rebuilding trust during his first year on the job, stressing the … Continue reading New taxpayer supported Madison K-12 superintendent to prioritize students’ mental, emotional health
WKOW-TV: The Waunakee Community School District Board of Education voted to reverse its decision on an all-virtual start to the school year. During a meeting Monday night [video], members of the board talked about recent coronavirus numbers and learning options that would best fit the community. In a 4-3 vote, the board was in favor … Continue reading Waunakee school board reverses decision on all-virtual start to school year
Tamia Fowlkes: Protesters from four of Wisconsin’s largest cities gathered Monday in a National Day of Resistance caravan to demand that legislators and superintendents make the fall 2020 academic semester completely virtual. Educator unions, community organizations and advocates from Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee and Racine traveled to the Capitol, the state Department of Public Instruction and … Continue reading School teachers from across the state protest for a virtual fall semester
Scott Girard: District administrators outlined the latest updates to the “Instructional Continuity Plan” Monday night for the School Board’s Instruction Work Group. Board members expressed appreciation to staff for their efforts and asked questions about engaging students and ensuring they get some social experiences despite the restrictions of the virtual environment. The district announced July 17 it … Continue reading Madison’s Taxpayer Supported K-12 Schools’ fall plan includes Sept. 8 virtual start, MSCR child care for up to 1,000 kids
Scott Girard: As the 2020-21 school year approaches, private schools are taking advantage of smaller enrollments and fewer buildings to plan in-person learning while area public schools are focusing on virtual learning. And since the Madison Metropolitan School District announced July 17 it would start the year entirely virtually, some private schools are seeing an increase in … Continue reading Many (Madison) area private schools offering in-person learning this fall
Emily Shetler: Almost immediately after the Madison School District joined other districts across the country in announcing a return to online instruction instead of bringing students back to the classroom for the fall semester, posts started popping up on Facebook groups, Craigslist, Reddit and the University of Wisconsin-Madison student job board seeking in-home academic help. Parents … Continue reading Commentary on The taxpayer supported Madison School District’s online Teacher Effectiveness
Joy Pullman: When schools shut down this spring, Congress sent them $31 billion — nearly half its annual schools outlay — for sanitation and online learning, even though students weren’t in schools to theoretically contaminate them and online learning barely happened for millions of children. The vast majority of this money has not even reached schools yet. Nevertheless, … Continue reading La La Land Congress Wants To Give Billions To Public Schools To Stay Closed
Hope Mahood: University life is going to look very different this fall, and as faculty scramble to work social distancing into their “campus culture,” students will be left paying the price for a half-baked education. With exceptions for science labs, fine arts studios and a few small tutorials — Ontario’s university courses will run online … Continue reading Online classes are not worth cost of full tuition
Kati Pohjanpalo and Hanna Hoikkala: Scientists behind a Nordic study have found that keeping primary schools open during the coronavirus pandemic may not have had much bearing on contagion rates. There was no measurable difference in the number of coronavirus cases among children in Sweden, where schools were left open, compared with neighboring Finland, where … Continue reading Nordic Study Suggests Open Schools Don’t Spread Virus Much
Emily Hamer: Breaking away from Madison’s recent decision to remove police officers from its schools, the Middleton-Cross Plains School Board on Monday voted to extend its contract for school resource officers. Citing the need for relationship building between officers and students and protection from school shootings, the board voted unanimously to re-approve the contract with … Continue reading Middleton-Cross Plains School District extends contract for police in schools
Wisconsin State Journal: Unfortunately, the Madison School District announced Friday it will offer online classes only this fall — despite six or seven weeks to go before the fall semester begins. By then, a lot could change with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Dane County recently and wisely implemented a mask requirementfor inside … Continue reading Commentary on 2020 K-12 Governance and opening this fall
Carlos Avenancio-Leo ́n and Troup Howard: We use panel data covering 118 million homes in the United States, merged with geolocation detail for 75,000 taxing entities, to document a nationwide “assessment gap” which leads local governments to place a disproportionate fiscal burden on racial and ethnic minorities. We show that holding jurisdictions and property tax … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: The Assessment Gap: Racial Inequalities in Property Taxation
Maddie Hanna and Kristen A. Graham,: Budget forecasters have predicted states could take big hits in revenue as a result of the coronavirus slowdown — possibly upward of 15%, said Mike Griffith, senior school finance researcher and policy analyst at the Learning Policy Institute. Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office has projected a revenue shortfall of up … Continue reading Schools brace for budget cuts as the coronavirus wreaks havoc on the economy
Sarah Darmanjian: “When enough people who can afford to leave New York State are gone, who will be left to pay for the infrastructure, health care, schools and other necessities?” said Sen. Tedisco. “This is a bi-partisan effort to shine the light on this problem that’s causing people to leave our Upstate communities and to … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: State lawmakers will ask New Yorkers for input regarding state’s population decrease
Joe Tarr: City property taxes for their home are about $5,000 a year. “That’s a whole chunk of our total income, because our only income is Social Security,” he says. But then they discovered a little-known city program for people in their situation. The “property tax assistance for seniors reverse mortgage loan program” allows seniors … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Property Tax Assistance
Mark Sommerhauser: The increased tax bills are driven largely by Evers’ plan to boost by 2% the amount counties and municipalities could collect through local property tax levies. But a countervailing effect comes from Evers’ plan to give a $1.4 billion infusion of state aid to school districts in the next two years. That would … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Proposed property tax increases
Bethany Blankely: “Will massive increases in spending actually improve student outcomes?” WILL asks. According to an analysis of education spending and outcomes, WILL says, “probably not.” WILL’s Truth in Spending: An Analysis of K-12 Spending in Wisconsin compares K-12 spending on Wisconsin public schools and student outcomes. Based on the most recent available data, Wisconsin’s … Continue reading Wisconsin Governor Proposes 10% K-12 Tax & Spending increase over the next two years
Bethany Blankley: Slinger and Hartford school districts spend significantly less than the state average on education but their students’ Forward Exam performances are significantly higher than other districts, the report found. By comparison, White Lake and Bayfield districts have “woeful proficiency rates despite spending far more than the average district,” the report states. In Evers’ … Continue reading Commentary on proposed Wisconsin K-12 Tax and spending increases and effectiveness
Madison’s property tax levy growth: Details, here. Jessie Opoien: Wisconsin voters approved record levels of additional spending on K-12 schools by passing 90 percent of the referendum questions on ballots throughout the state in 2018. More than $2 billion worth of referendum initiatives were approved over the course of the year, according to a report … Continue reading K-12 Tax and spending growth commentary amidst a time of local assessment growth