Abigail Becker: The state’s COVID-19 Relief Bill, which Gov. Tony Evers signed into law April 15, included provisions to help counties and municipalities defer property tax payments. This allows Dane County to adopt a resolution enabling municipalities to waive interest and penalties on 2020 property tax payments due after April 1 until Oct. 1. “Many in Dane County are … Continue reading A Reprieve for Madison Property Taxpayers (taxes up substantially)
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
Dean Mosiman: In Madison, for example, the total tax bill for a $200,000 home in the Madison School District assessed at 100 percent of its fair market value was $4,632, fourth highest in the county. The highest was $4,988 for a Madison home in the Verona School District, followed by $4,850 for a Madison home … Continue reading Commentary on Madison Property Tax Growth
Bill Novak Madison property owners will soon be able to pay their taxes in four installments, beginning with the 2014 tax bill coming in December. The Mayor’s Office said on Tuesday the four-payment plan could help taxpayers avoid penalties by spreading out the taxes owed over a seven-month period. “At the height of the recession, … Continue reading Ongoing Increases in Madison Property Taxes: “Delinquencies 30% More Than We Expect” (!); Schools up 4.2% this year
City of Madison 2010 property tax bills can be viewed at the City Assessor’s office website and via Access Dane.. Taxes are up, significantly.
The increases depend, to some extent on property assessments (if the assessed value declines, tax rates generally increase more to compensate for the reduced tax base and support spending growth), but a quick look reveals City of Madison and Dane County taxes are up in the 6% range, MATC over 10% and the Madison School District in the 9% range. Much more on the Madison School District’s 2010-2011 budget, here.
Two Madison School Board seats will be on the April, 2011 spring election ballot. They are currently occupied by Ed Hughes and Marj Passman. I presume they are both seeking re-election, but I’ve not seen an announcement to that effect.
A snowflake is small. But a blizzard of snowflakes can bury a house.
You can view your looming property tax bill in similar ways.
A single tax increase by one local unit of government might seem negligible.
Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, for example, is proposing a $38 increase on the county’s portion of the average local property tax bill in Madison for 2010. That’s an increase of only a few dollars a month.
But that $38 represents a 6.5 percent increase at a time when most people’s wages are relatively flat or falling. And that $38 pushes the county’s portion of the average property tax bill in Madison to $626.
via the City of Madison Assessor’s office: “The 2008 Property Tax Base of the City of Madison (52K PDF)”. The City’s tax base continues to expand. There are 71,939 parcels in Madison, up from 40,069 in 1990. The Total 2008 assessed value is 21,496,000,000, up from $13,791,000,000 in 2002. Such growth provides great latidude in easing mill rates. Of course, as valuations flatten or decline, the mill rate may dramatically increase, depending on the magnitude of government/school spending increases.
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
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”
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
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
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
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
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: 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
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..
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
AK Thomson: Bryce Hill, research analyst at the independent Illinois Policy think-tank, says that the annual property-tax take in Cook County, which includes Chicago, increased 76 per cent more than median home values between 1996 and 2016. “Both the city and the state are wrestling with unbalanced budgets, massive amounts of pension debt, and limited … Continue reading Property Tax Explosion Stunts Chicago Real Estate Market
Peter Fisher: Why are central bankers so concerned with liquidity? Is this sympathy for the plight of the hard-working bond trader? It is more likely they wonder if the lofty asset prices they have engineered with quantitative easing can be sustained. By liquidity we mean our ability to sell an asset without material loss. In … Continue reading K-12 tax & spending climate: We borrow too much from the future at our peril
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
Nelson Schwartz & Patricia Cohen: For nearly 20 years, Darrell Eberhardt worked in an Ohio factory putting together wheelchairs, earning $18.50 an hour, enough to gain a toehold in the middle class and feel respected at work. He is still working with his hands, assembling seats for Chevrolet Cruze cars at the Camaco auto parts … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Falling Wages at Factories Squeeze the Middle Class
The Madison Metropolitan School District Board reviewed the almost $373 million budget proposed by Superintendent Dan Nerad Monday night.
If the superintendent’s budget is approved, Madison property taxes could increase more than four percent, about a $100 tax increase on the average home in Madison.
The estimate does not include a proposed $12.4 million put aside to help the achievement gap in Madison schools.
The budget already poses an estimated $12.4 million deficit.
Madison teachers wouldn’t pay anything toward their health insurance premiums next year and property taxes would decline $2 million under Superintendent Dan Nerad’s 2011-12 budget proposal.
The $359 million proposal, a 0.01 percent increase over this year, required the closing of a $24.5 million gap between district’s estimated expenses from January and the expenditures allowed under Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed state budget, Nerad said.
Nerad proposes collecting $243 million in property taxes, down from $245 million this year. Because of an estimated drop in property value, the budget would mean a $90 increase on an average Madison home, down from $170 this year. That amount may decrease once the city releases an updated average home estimate for next year.
Related taxbase articles:
- Medicare rise could mean no Social Security Cost of Living Increase.
- Madison area among weakest in U.S. for job creation over past year
- Property Assessments in a Declining Market
- City of Madison Property Tax Base Reports
- Madison School District Considers 7.64% ($18, 719.470) Property Tax Increase for 2011/2012 Budget
- The Madison School District’s 2010-2011 budget increased property taxes by about 9%
- 2010-2011 Madison School District Citizen’s Budget
- State of the Madison School District – January, 2011
- Caterpillar urges Illinois to Roll Back Tax Increases.
- The Price of Taxing the Rich: The top 1% of earners fill the coffers of states like California and New York during a boom–and leave them starved for revenue in a bust
- Mother Jones: It’s the Inequality Stupid
- The Battle over the Millionaire’s Tax
- An illustration of the chaos that is our tax system: Tax Incentives for Movies: A Losing Proposition for the States
- NY Times: G.E.: Tax Imagination at Work
- Google Questioned over Earnings in Low Tax Rate Countries
- Tax Foundation: No Country Leans on Upper-Income Households as Much as U.S.
- Senators Kohl & Feingold voted for a 5% large corporation offshore tax rate
- It’s 2026, and the Debt Is Due
- Dave Baskerville on Two Big Goals for Wisconsin
A Republican lawmaker wants to kill Madison’s fledgling 4-year-old kindergarten program before it even begins.
Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, said Wednesday the state shouldn’t encourage new 4K programs — now in 85 percent of the state’s school districts and with three times as many students as a decade ago — because taxpayers can’t afford them.
“We have a very difficult budget here,” Grothman said in an interview. “Some of it is going to have to be solved by saying some of these massive expansions of government in the last 10 years cannot stand.”
Madison Superintendent Dan Nerad called Grothman’s proposal “very troubling.”
“I don’t know what the 4-year-olds in Madison did to offend the senator,” Nerad said. “There are plenty of studies that have indicated that it’s a good idea to invest as early as possible.”
Last month the Madison School Board approved a $12.2 million 4K program for next fall with registration beginning Feb. 7. Madison’s program is projected to draw $10 million in extra state aid in 2014 when the state’s funding formula accounts for the additional students. Overall this year, school districts are projected to collect $223 million in state aid and property taxes for 4K programs, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
Much more on Madison’s planned 4K program, here.
It appears that redistributed state tax dollars for K-12 are destined to change due to a significant budget deficit, not to mention the significant growth in spending over the past two decades.
The recent 9% increase in Madison property taxes is due in part to changes in redistributed state tax funds.
I spoke with a person active in State politics recently about 4K funding. Evidently, some lawmakers view this program as a method to push more tax dollars to the Districts.
A video tape of the entire presentation and discussion with Dr. Nerad may be viewed by visiting this internet link: http://www.schoolinfosystem.org/archives/2008/09/ madison_superin_10.php
Dan Nerad opened his remarks by stating his commitment to efforts for always continuing change and improvement with the engagement of the community. He outlined four areas of focus on where we are going from here.
- Funding: must balance district needs and taxpayer needs. He mentioned the referendum to help keep current programs in place and it will not include “new” things.
- Strategic Plan: this initiative will formally begin in January 2009 and will involve a large community group process to develop as an ongoing activity.
- Meet people: going throughout the community to meet people on their own terms. He will carefully listen. He also has ideas.
- Teaching and learning mission: there are notable achievement gaps we need to face head-on. The “achievement gap” is serious. The broader mission not only includes workforce development but also helping students learn to be better people. We have a “tale of two school districts” – numbers of high achievers (including National Merit Scholars), but not doing well with a lot of other students. Low income and minority students are furtherest away from standards that must be met. Need to be more transparent with the journey to fix this problem and where we are not good. Must have the help of the community. The focus must be to improve learning for ALL kids, it is a “both/and” proposition with a need to reframe the issue to help all kids move forward from where they are. Must use best practices in contemporary assessment, curriculum, pedagogy and instructional methods.
Dr. Nerad discussed five areas about which he sees a need for community-wide conversations for how to meet needs in the district.
- Early learning opportunities: for pre-kindergarten children. A total community commitment is needed to prevent the ‘achievement gap’ from widening.
- High schools: How do we want high schools to be? Need to be more responsive. The curriculum needs to be more career oriented. Need to break down the ‘silos’ between high school, tech schools and colleges. Need to help students move through the opportunities differently. The Small Learning Communities Grant recently awarded to the district for high schools and with the help of the community will aid the processes for changes in the high schools.
- School safety: there must be an on-going commitment for changes. Nerad cited three areas for change:
a. A stronger curriculum helping people relate with other people, their differences and conflicts.
b. A response system to safety. Schools must be the safest of sanctuaries for living, learning and development.
c.Must make better use of research-based technology that makes sense.
- Math curriculum and instruction: Cited the recent Math Task Force Report
a. Good news: several recommendations for curriculum, instruction and policies for change.
b. Bad news: our students take less math than other urban schools in the state; there are notable differences in the achievement gap.
- Fine Arts: Cited recent Fine Arts Task Force Report. Fine arts curriculum and activities in the schools, once a strength, has been whittled away due to budget constraints. We must deal with the ‘hands of the clock’ going forward and develop a closer integration of the schools and community in this area.
As the cost of running the district continues to rise, and as Madison homeowners and families find it increasingly difficult to make ends meet, it is easy to think that our property taxes are also ever rising. But that’s not the case, at least as regards the portion that goes toward our schools. Over the past 15 years, the schools’ portion of Madison property taxes has declined 6%, on average. The decrease is 9% if you adjust for today’s higher enrollment figures (1993 = 23,600; 2007 = 24,200). And it plunges to a 36% decrease if you adjust for inflation; (a dollar today is worth 30% less than it was 15 years ago).
The chart below, based on local funding of MMSD and data from the city assessor’s office, shows the recent history of school mill rates, the rate that is applied to your assessed property value to determine how much you contribute towards Madison schools (10 mills = 1.0% of the assessed property value). The reported rate has dropped from 20 mills to 10, but property values have doubled thanks to the general rise in home prices (termed “revaluations” by the assessor’s office), so the rate is more appropriately captured below by the “Net of Revaluations” line. That line is then adjusted for school enrollment (the red line), and inflation (the heavier blue line).
There are three important caveats to the above statements: 1.) school taxes are lower on average, but if your home has increased in value by more than about 110% since 1993, then you will be paying more for schools; 2.) it is the schools portion of property taxes that is lower on average; the remaining portion of property taxes that pays for the city, Dane County, Wisconsin, and MATC, has risen; 3.) other sources of Madison school funding (state and federal funds, and grants and fees) have also gone up; (I have not done the much more complicated calculation of real increase in funding there).
That the infamous schools’ portion of property taxes has declined over these past 15 years is quite a surprising result, and certainly counterintuitive to what one might expect. How is this possible? First, the school finance structure put in place by the state years ago has worked, at least as far as holding down property taxes. The current structure allows about a 2% increase in expense each year, consistent with the CPI (Consumer Price Index) at the state level. (In fact, local funding of the MMSD has increased from $150 million in 1993 to $209 million in 2007, equivalent to about a 2.4% increase each year.) Of course, the problem is that same structure allows for a 3.8% wage hike for teachers if districts wish to avoid arbitration, an aspect that has essentially set an effective floor on salary increases (with salaries & benefits representing 84% of the district budget). The difference between the revenue increases and the pay increases, about 1-2% annually, is why we face these annual painful budget quandaries that can only be met by cuts in school services, or by a referendum permitting higher school costs, and taxes.
The second reason today’s property taxes are lower than they have been historically is growth, in the form of new construction (i.e. new homes & buildings, as well as remodelings). What we each pay in school property taxes is the result of a simple fraction: the numerator is the portion of school expenses that is paid through local property taxes, while the denominator is the tax base for the entire city (actually the portion of Madison and neighboring communities where kids live within the MMSD). The more the tax base grows, the larger the denominator, and the more people and places to share the property taxes with. Since 1993, new construction in Madison has consistently grown at about 3% per year. Indeed, since 1980 no year has ever seen new construction less than 2.3% nor more than 3.9%. So every year, your property taxes are reduced about 3% thanks to all the new construction in town. I leave it to the reader to speculate how much the pace of new construction and revaluations will decline if the schools here should decline in quality.
FYI, the figure below shows how new construction and revaluations have behaved in Madison since 1984, as well as total valuations (which is the sum of the two).
Download or listen to this 15MB mp3 audio file.
- $367M+ Budget notes and links
- Don Severson’s memo to the Madison School Board on the current financial situation.
- Marj Passman and Don Severson discuss school finance with Mitch Henck.
- Madison Superintendent Dan Nerad’s budget and recommendations memorandum to the School board (1MB PDF):
In 1993, three pieces of legislation were enacted by the State of Wisconsin directly affecting school districts throughout the state. These pieces of legislation created revenue limits, created the state’s commitment to two·thirds funding, and created the qualified economic offer (QEO) in Wisconsin. Since 1993 revenue limits in Wisconsin have allowed the Madison Metropolitan School District to increase revenues annually by 2.2% on average. Conversely the QEO requires school boards to offer a comprehensive salary and benefit package to certified teaching staff of not less than 3.8% annually to avoid binding arbitration. Recognizing that the Madison Metropolitan School District’s budget is comprised of 84% salary and benefits, it must be recognized that while our revenues increase annually by 2.2%, the largest portion of our budget is mandated to minimally increase by 3.8%. Due to these competing pieces of legislation, the Board of Education since 1993 has reduced program and services by over $60 million to comply with state mandated revenue limits, of which $35 million has occurred within the past five years.
Since the 1992·93 School Year the Madison Metropolitan School District has increased the total tax levy by $74,944,431 through the projected 2008·09 property tax levy. This amounts to an average annual increase of 2.56% since the 1992·93 School Year (see Attachment A). During that same time frame from 1992·93 through the projections for the 2008·09 property tax rate, the Madison Metropolitan School District has decreased the total tax rate from $20.69 to a projected rate of $9.92 for the 2008·09 School Year (see Attachment B).
Nerad also posted a 3 year financial forecast (250K PDF)
- City of Madison Assessor: 2008 Madison Property Tax base (PDF)
- A look at the growth in Madison’s tax base: In 1990, the City of Madison included 40,069 parcels, a number that grew to 64,976 in 2005. Assessment and parcel growth mitigates tax levy increases, or allows it to decline (though this of course, depends on the real estate market along with tax policies).
Please write/call legislatures ASAP – the legislature plans to take up the proposed budget this coming week, and the proposed budget for education is a disaster for our children’s future and our state’s economic health. Schultz (WI State Senator, Republican Leader in the Senate): http://www.legis.state.wi.us/senate/sen17/sen17.html Gard (WI State Representative, Wi State Assembly Speaker): http://www.legis.state.wi.us/assembly/asm89/asm89.html Doyle: … Continue reading WI State Budget Republican K-12 Proposed Funding – Bad for Children and WI’s Economic Future
School Tax Bill Increase Modest Tuesday, October 26, 2004 By Lee Sensenbrenner The Capital Times After a year of budget cutting and no referendums, Madison property taxpayers will see a modest increase in what they’ll pay for public schools next year. For the owner of the house that perfectly follows the city’s statistical averages, rising … Continue reading School Tax Bill Increase Modest / Board Votes to Go Ahead with Leopold Elementary New School Design