So far this school year, the approximately 100 school districts that have reached agreements with their teachers have average settlements that increase salaries and benefits by 3.75%, according to Bob Butler, staff counsel for the Wisconsin Association of School Boards. That compares with an average total compensation increase of 4.11% for teachers in the 2008-’09 school year.
Given that settlements tend to go down the longer negotiations take, Butler said the average increases for 2009-’10 and 2010-’11 are likely to be below what they have been in the past and what was considered a minimum settlement under the QEO law.
The recession, even in growing and financially stable districts, is the main reason behind the settlement drops, Butler said. Even though the Legislature removed the QEO salary restrictions, it left revenue limits in place so that any increase in teacher compensation almost certainly means staff cuts, he said.
In addition, facing pressure from taxpayers, some school districts, such as Whitnall, refused to enact a tax levy up to their state-imposed revenue limits this year.
“We have seen such a drastic reduction in the amount of money we have coming in from the state, it would have been hard to settle at 3.8% even if the QEO still stood there,” Whitnall School Board President Bill Osterndorf said.
Related, 9/25/2009: Madison School District & Madison Teachers Union Reach Tentative Agreement: 3.93% Increase Year 1, 3.99% Year 2; Base Rate $33,242 Year 1, $33,575 Year 2: Requires 50% MTI 4K Members and will “Review the content and frequency of report cards”.
Fred Risser, via a kind reader’s email:
July 30, 2009
Due to your interest in the public education, I am writing to update you on the outcome of the 2009 State Budget and how it will impact K-12 Education in Wisconsin.
Despite the financial difficulties that the state finds itself in, a number of programs in this budget will have a positive and lasting effect on public education. The high point of the budget this year is the repeal of the Qualified Economic Offer (QEO). Since the QEO was passed, teacher pay has lost more than 7% to inflation and fallen even further behind in per capita income. Wisconsin has long prided itself in having a top-notch public education system, yet we have lost countless qualified educators over this law. The elimination of the QEO removes one obstacle toward ensuring that our children have access to the best educators possible.
Other items of note in this budget include additional funding for the expansion of Four-Year-Old Kindergarten programs; increases in aid for high-poverty districts; and additional grant funding to improve school safety efforts.
Unfortunately, the reduction in available state funding resulted in some cuts in school aids. However, I was pleased that overall funding for public education was maintained at a reasonable level under current circumstances, ensuring that we are able to give Wisconsin students the best resources possible. Funding education is an investment in the future of Wisconsin.
Thank you for your continued support of public education in Wisconsin. If I can ever be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact my office.
FRED A. RISSER
Wisconsin State Senate
Wisconsin State Journal Editorial:
Wisconsin’s three-legged stool of school finance is wobbling and about to fall over.
The Legislature needs to prevent a terrible crash by rejecting the governor’s attempt to kick out the sturdiest leg of the system — the QEO, or “qualified economic offer,” which limits increases in teacher compensation.
Wisconsin’s system of paying for public schools has long been described as a three-legged stool. It’s designed to protect property taxpayers and the quality of K-12 education.
The three legs are:
Much more on the QEO and Wisconsin school revenue limits here.
Wisconsin State Journal Editorial:
Spend more with less money.
That’s the impossible demand Democrats who run the state Capitol seem anxious to make on local school boards across Wisconsin.
Democrats who control the governor’s office and the Legislature suggest they’re going to repeal a long-standing law that effectively caps annual pay raises for public school teachers. Democrats have been promising to remove the cap for more than a decade and now have the political power to do so.
But allowing higher annual raises for teachers will require more money from somewhere. And state leaders don’t have any dollars to spare. They’re staring at a record state budget shortfall.
So where will the money come from?
Not from property taxes. Gov. Jim Doyle and other Democrats suggest they’ll keep in place a state cap on local school district revenue. Revenue caps limit how much local property tax levies can increase.
That will leave school boards with higher salary expenses but no easy way to pay for them.
Dave Blaska noted that WEAC spent $2,100,000 on five Wisconsin Assembly races in 2008.
Andy Hall: The revenue caps and QEO are transforming the operations of public schools, pushing school officials and the public into a never-ending cycle of cuts, compromises and referendums. Most districts reduced the number of academic courses, laid off school support staff and reduced programs for students at the highest risk of failure, according to … Continue reading Wisconsin School Finance: QEO, Revenue Caps and Sage
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Editorial: Gov. Jim Doyle – Democrat and ally of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the state’s chief umbrella teachers union – has tried to rescind the QEO in the past. The Republican-controlled Legislature wouldn’t hear of it. Since then, one chamber, the Senate, has shifted Democratic. And rescission of the QEO is an … Continue reading Notes on the QEO
Jay Bullock: Here’s the short story on the QEO: Back in the early 1990s, when Tommy Thompson, et al., did their part to appease the anti-taxers regarding school costs and property taxes, they implemented a trio of reforms. The QEO (qualified economic offer) law allowed school districts to impose a 3.8% cap on increases in … Continue reading On the QEO (Qualified Economic Offer)
Jason Stein: To avoid arbitration, the QEO mandates that districts maintain the same increasingly costly benefits for teachers, Leistikow said. “Districts are put in a terrible box,” Leistikow said. “Repealing the QEO will give school districts more flexibility in managing their benefits cost.” The WEAC union, a staunch and powerful Doyle supporter, would like to … Continue reading QEO Politics: Politicians Discuss Wisconsin’s Qualified Economic Offer
There is some difference of opinion about what state law requires under the QEO statutes, particularly regarding the “required” 3.8% increase. For what it’s worth, this is how the statute is worded:
Ken Cole: The perennial argument that the QEO has somehow �capped� teacher salaries just doesn�t square with the numbers because most districts voluntarily settle above the 3.8 percent total package, which includes both salary and benefits. The Wisconsin Association of School Boards database shows that total-package increases averaged about 4.5 percent in 2003-04 and 4.3 … Continue reading QEO: Good or Bad?
Alan Borsuk: Let’s focus particularly on Evers’ call for using some of the money to return state support of general operating costs of public schools to two-thirds of the total bill (with the other third coming generally from property taxes). A bit of history: In the early 1990s, there was strong opinion, particularly for then-Gov. Tommy Thompson … Continue reading Will Wisconsin return to its ‘three-legged stool’ to pay for schools? Here are reasons to doubt it
Out in Left Field, via a kind Barry Garelick email: Barry Garelick, who wrote various letters under the name Huck Finn and which were published here is at work writing what will become “Conversations on the Rifle Range”. This will be a documentation of his experiences teaching math as a long-term substitute. OILF proudly presents … Continue reading Conversations on the Rifle Range, I: Not Your Mother’s Algebra 1 and the Guy Who Really Knows
Matthew DeFour: (watch the 15 minute conference here)
Madison School District Superintendent Dan Nerad discusses on Wednesday Gov. Scott Walker’s bill, teacher absences, and Madison Teachers Inc.
Dave Baskerville is right on the money: Wisconsin needs two big goals:
For Wisconsin, we only need two:
Raise our state’s per capita income to 10 percent above Minnesota’s by 2030.
In job and business creation over the next decade, Wisconsin is often predicted to be among the lowest 10 states. When I was a kid growing up in Madison, income in Wisconsin was some 10 percent higher than in Minnesota. Minnesota caught up to us in 1967, and now the average Minnesotan makes $4,500 more than the average Wisconsinite.
Lift the math, science and reading scores of all K-12, non-special education students in Wisconsin above world-class standards by 2030. (emphasis added)
Wisconsinites often believe we lose jobs because of lower wages elsewhere. In fact, it is often the abundance of skills (and subsidies and effort) that bring huge Intel research and development labs to Bangalore, Microsoft research centers to Beijing, and Advanced Micro Devices chip factories to Dresden.
Grow the economy (tax base) and significantly improve our schools….
Statewide increases in teacher compensation contracts are on track to be the lowest in more than a decade following last year’s changes in state school district financing.
Based on 160 settled contracts out of 425 school districts, the average increase in compensation packages — including salary and benefits — is 3.75 percent, according to the Wisconsin Association of School Boards.
Annual increases last dipped below 4 percent in 1999 and have averaged 4.13 percent since 1993, when the state first imposed revenue limits and introduced the so-called qualified economic offer (QEO) provision, which allowed districts to offer a 3.8 percent package increase instead of going to arbitration. The QEO was repealed in the state biennial budget approved last year, though revenue limits remain in place to keep property tax increases in check.
By another measure, the Wisconsin Educators Association Council, the state’s largest teachers union, reported teacher salaries are on pace to increase about 2 percent. That doesn’t include benefits and certain assumptions about longevity raises. The increase is slightly less than the 2.3 percent annual average since 1993 and would be the lowest since 2003.
Related: Madison School District & Madison Teachers Union Reach Tentative Agreement: 3.93% Increase Year 1, 3.99% Year 2; Base Rate $33,242 Year 1, $33,575 Year 2: Requires 50% MTI 4K Members and will “Review the content and frequency of report cards”. A searchable database of Wisconsin Teacher Salaries is available here.
Mayor Dave Cieslewicz:
Yesterday a two year contract agreement with city firefighters was ratified by the union membership. It’s a good deal for both the union and the city and its taxpayers. The agreement, which still needs to be approved by the City Council, calls for what is essentially a two year pay freeze with a modest 3% increase at the end of the contract period in 2011.
Other levels of government are using furloughs (which are essentially pay cuts) and layoffs to cut their budgets, but I think the city should take a different approach. After all, the city provides many basic direct services that will have a very noticeable impact for our customers if they are cut back. We can’t shut down the fire department or the police department for one day a month. We can’t just not pick up the garbage for a week. It’s far better for our residents if we can manage our way through these tough budget years while keeping our city staff intact to the greatest extent that we can. But if we’re going to do that, then we’ll need cooperation from our unions on wage and benefit settlements.
That kind of cooperation is exactly what we got from Local 311. The firefighters gave us a responsible start to negotiations with the other dozen unions that represent city employees. I said from the start of this recession that we need to approach our challenges with the understanding that we’re all in this together. This settlement is a very strong indication that we’re moving in that direction.
The Madison School District (Board member Johnny Winston, Jr. is a firefighter) and Madison Teachers Union are still working on a new contract. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.
There are at least two interesting challenges to an agreement this year:
- The elimination of “revenue limits and economic conditions” from collective bargaining arbitration by Wisconsin’s Democratically controlled Assembly and Senate along with Democratic Governer Jim Doyle:
To make matters more dire, the long-term legislative proposal specifically exempts school district arbitrations from the requirement that arbitrators consider and give the greatest weight to
revenue limits and local economic conditions. While arbitrators would continue to give these two factors paramount consideration when deciding cases for all other local governments, the importance of fiscal limits and local economic conditions would be specifically diminished for school district arbitration.
- The same elected officials eliminated the QEO, a 3.8% cap (in practice, a floor) on teacher salaries and wages in addition to “step” increases based on years of experience among other factors:
As the dust settles around the new state budget, partisan disagreement continues over the boost that unions – particularly education unions – got by making it easier for them to sign up thousands of new members and by repealing the 3.8% annual limit on teachers’ pay raises.
The provisions passed because Democrats, who got control of the Legislature for the first time in 14 years, partnered with Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle to advance changes the governor and unions had been pushing for years.
Unions traditionally help elect Democratic politicians. The largest teachers union, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, spent about $2.1 million before last November’s elections, with much of that backing Democrats.
Most of the labor-related provisions in the budget were added to provide people with “good, family-supporting jobs,” said Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison), co-chairman of the Legislature’s Finance Committee.
“The idea that we’re shifting back to the worker, rather than just big business and management, that’s part of what Democrats are about,” Pocan said.
It also helped that the two top Democratic legislators, Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan of Janesville and Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker of Weston, are veteran labor leaders.
24MB mp3 audio file. Mitch and Don discuss the Madison School District’s $12M budget deficit, caused by a decline in redistributed tax dollars from the State of Wisconsin and generally flat enrollment. Topics include: Fund 80, health care costs, four year old kindergarten, staffing, property taxes (which may increase to make up for the reduced state tax dollar funding).
Madison School District Board President Arlene Silveira sent this message to local Alders Saturday:
Below is an update of the MMSD budget situation.
As you know, the biennial budget was signed into law at the end of June. The budget had numerous provisions that will effect the future of public education that include:
- Repeal of the Qualified Economic Offer (QEO)
- Decrease in funding for public education by the state of approximately $14720million
- Decrease in the per pupil increase associated with revenue limits
The repeal of the QEO will potentially impact future settlements for salries and benefits. The decrease in funding for public education by the state creates the need for a tax increase conversation in order to sustain current programs. The decrease in the revenue limit formula will cause MMSD to face more reductions in programs and services for the next 2 years at a minimum.
EFFECT OF STATE BUDGET ON MMSD
- Decrease in state aid: $9.2 million
- Reduction in revenue: $2.8 million (decrease in the per pupil increase from $275 to $200/pupil)
Total decrease: projected to to be $12 million
Last May, the Madison Board of Education passed a preliminary 2009-10 budget that maintained programs and services with a modest property tax increase. The groundwork for our budget was laid last fall when the Board pledged our commitment to community partnership and the community responded by supporting a referendum that allowed us to exceed revenue caps to stabilize funding for our schools. Two months later, with programs and staff in place for next year, we find ourselves faced with State funding cuts far exceeding our worst fears.
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
We are in this position in part because Wisconsin’s school funding formulas are so complicated that the legislature and supporting agencies did not accurately predict the budget’s impact on school districts. State aid to Madison and many other districts was cut by 15%. In practical terms, coupled with additional State cuts of $2.8 million, MMSD is saddled with State budget reductions of $12 million this year.
This grim situation is a result of a poor economy, outdated information used by the legislature, and a Department of Public Instruction policy that penalizes the district for receiving one-time income (TIF closing in Madison). Federal stimulus funds will, at best, delay cuts for one year. We are left with a gaping budget deficit when many fiscal decisions for the upcoming school year cannot be reversed.
WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?
We are working on strategies and options and are looking carefully at the numbers to ensure our solutions do not create new problems. We will evaluate options for dealing with the budget in early August.
To repair our budget, we are working with legislators and the DPI to appeal decisions that have placed us in this position. We continue to look for changes in resource management to find additional cost reductions. We are seeking ways to offset the impact of school property tax increases if we need to increase our levy.
At the same time, we pledge that we will not pass the full cost of the cuts along as increased property taxes. We will not resort to massive layoffs of teachers and support staff, t he deadline having passed to legally reduce our staff under union contracts.
I will be back in touch after our August meeting when we have made decisions on our path forward.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Madison Board of Education
Related: Sparks fly over Wisconsin Budget’s Labor Related Provisions.
Superintendent Dan Nerad [184K PDF]:
Every two years the State of Wisconsin goes through a process to finalize a two year budget for all governmental programs. This biennial budget process is the source of the State’s commitment to public education here in Wisconsin, historically driven by legislative guidance to adhere to two-thirds funding.
The two-thirds funding has changed over recent years, but for the most part the State of Wisconsin was able to continue annual increases to public education in an attempt to keep up with rising costs within this sector.
The biennial budget was sigued into law near the end of June by Governor Jim Doyle after various proposals and with relatively few vetoes. This budget has numerous provisions that will effect the future of public education that include:
- Repeal of the Qualified Economic Offer (QEO)
- Decrease in funding for public education by the state of approximately $147 million
- Decrease in the per pupil increase associated with revenue limits
Each of these provisions can and Will have a very unique impact on :MMSD over the years to come. The repeal of the QEO will potentially impact future settlements for salaries and benefits. The decrease in funding for public education by the state is projected to create the need for a tax increase conversation in order to sustain current programs. The decrease in the revenue limit formula will cause MMSD to face more reductions in programs and services fur the next two years at a minimum.
Many public and private organizations are dealing with this issue. It is perhaps a time to make lemonade out of lemons. In the MMSD’s case, getting out of the curriculum creation business (teaching & learning) and placing a renewed focus on hiring the most qualified teachers and letting them run.
UW-system public educators not only have a 2 year freeze but a reduction of just over 3% via furloughs. WHY would K-12 public educators by exempt?! The QEO has been REPEALED effective IMMEDIATELY this month!
More: Freeze needs to include Janesville Education Association members:
FULL DISCLOSURE! Yes, I know some readers are going to be pointing the finger at me asserting: YOU hypocrite! YOU were a member of WEAC and JEA from 1971 through your retirement in June 2000. TRUE! I was a member of WEAC and JEA through the WI K-12 public education funding formula (QEO, State Revenue Cap, 2/3 aid) from its inception (1993-95 WI State Budget) through my retirement in June 2000. I served as the Co-chair of the Joint Legislative Committee representing the JEA from January 1998 through June 2000. I am very PROUD of the work which the Joint Legislative Committee did to study the issues of K-12 public education funding in WI and the recommendations which were issued in September 1998 with the goal of influencing the fall 1998 elections. The Joint Legislative Committee became a very effective advocate for effective reform of the K-12 public education funding formula in WI. The Committee was directly involved in the organization of the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools through co-chair, Virginia Wyss, President of the Janesville Board of Education. Virginia continues to be actively involved in the leadership of WAES. (WAES – URL: http://www.excellentschools.org)
Alan Borsuk & Amy Hetzner:
The three-legged stool is now down to one leg.
Will that leave either schools or taxpayers wobbly? Will the last leg fall, too?
In any case, Wisconsin’s old order for how to fund schools is coming to an end, and what comes next remains to be decided, perhaps two years from now when the next state budget is adopted. Pressure for an overhaul is growing, even as economic realities are providing strong pressure to hold down budgets.
When Gov. Jim Doyle signed the state budget for 2009-’11 on Monday, the leg of the stool known as the qualified economic offer fell away. The QEO meant school districts had the option of capping increases in teachers’ pay and benefits to 3.8% a year.
A second leg – the state’s commitment to fund two-thirds of general operations of public schools – has been weakening over the past six years. It looks as if it now will be the state’s commitment to fund something over 60% of school costs but not the full two-thirds.
That will leave only the third leg – revenue caps – in force. There will still be limits on how much school districts can collect in state aid and property taxes combined, a rule that will keep total spending growth restricted in general, but with widely varying impacts on property tax increases.
The three-legged stool was created in the mid-1990s, when Republican Tommy Thompson was governor. The goal was to put brakes on rapidly rising property taxes by increasing state aid, while holding down increases in overall spending through revenue caps and the threat of QEOs.
School-aid shift: Democrats added a shift in school-aid funding that would guarantee that no district loses more than 10% of state aid. The shift would give the Madison School District up to $1.8 million more, and take about that much from five Milwaukee-area suburban districts – Elmbrook, Oconomowoc, Mequon-Thiensville, Fox Point-Bayside and Nicolet.
QEO: The committee adopted a Senate-backed plan for an immediate repeal of the qualified economic offer system of limiting teachers’ pay raises. Doyle and the Assembly proposed a delay of the repeal until the 2010-’11 school year. Teachers have long complained that the QEO has unfairly kept salaries low; others say it keeps property taxes in check.
It will be interesting to see how the shift of money for Madison, at the expense of others plays out as state politics inevitably change…
The Wisconsin Taxpayer 3.4MB PDF:
Since 1994, Wisconsin school districts have operated under state-imposed revenue limits and the associated qualified economic offer (QEO) law.
- Revenue limits have helped reduce school property tax increases to less than 5% per year from more than 9% annually prior to the caps.
- The limits have had \aried impacts on school districts, with growing districts experiencing the largest revenue gains. Low-spending districts prior to the caps have seen the largest per student gains.
- The QEO law has helped school districts keep compensation costs somewhat in line with revenue limits. However, since benefits are given more weight, teacher salary increases have slowed.
Since 1994. Wisconsin school districts have operated under slate-imposed revenue limits, which arc tied to inflation and enrollments. The associated qualified economic offer (QEO) law limits staff compensation increases to about 4% annually. With declining student counts, fluctuations in stale school aid. and various concerns over teacher pay. revenue limits and the QEO have attracted increasing debate.
The governor, in his proposed 2009-11 state budget, recommends eliminating the QEO. I le has also talked about providing ways for school districts to move away from revenue limits. This report does not address these specific proposals. Rather, it seeks to help inform discussions by examining the history of revenue limits and the QEO, legislative attempts to fix various issues, and the impacts of limits on schools, educators, and taxpayers.
THE REVENUE LIMIT LAW
School districts collect revenue from a variety of sources. The two largest sources are the property tax and state general (or equalization) aid, General aid is distributed based on district property wealth and spending. Combined, these two revenue sources account for about 75% of an average district’s funding. The remainder is a combination of student fees, federal aid. and state categorical aids. such as those for special education and transportation.
The revenue limit law was implemented in 1994 (1993-94 school year) and caps the amount districts can collect from property taxes and general aid combined. It does not restrict student fees, federal aid. or state categorical aid. A district’s revenue limit is determined by its prior-year cap, an inflation factor, and enrollments. There is an exception to the limit law for districts defined as “low-revenue.” Currently, districts with per student revenues less than S9.000 are allowed to increase their revenues to that level.
While Wisconsin’s revenue limit law began in 1994. its roots date back to several teacher strikes in the early 1970s, culminating with the 1974 Hortonville strike during which 86 teachers were fired. That strike gained national attention.
Related: K-12 tax & spending climate. A number of links on local school spending and tax increases before the implementation of State limits on annual expenditure growth. The Madison School District spent $180,400,000 during the 1992-1993 school year. In 2006, the District spent $331,000,000. The 2009/2010 preliminary Citizen’s Budget proposes spending $367,912,077 [Financial Summary 2.1MB pdf], slightly down from 2008/2009’s $368,012,286.
Gov. Jim Doyle and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett warned Friday that it “defies common sense” to consider a large increase in property taxes for Milwaukee Public Schools for next year and said they will hold MPS leaders accountable if there is such an increase.
They did not spell out exactly what they meant by accountable, but their sharp statement came as the two consider supporting major changes in the way MPS is run, including a possible mayoral takeover of the system. It also came shortly before they name a commission to oversee putting into action a consultant’s report that said MPS could save millions of dollars if it operated like a well-run business.
The governor and mayor were reacting to Thursday’s release of a proposed budget for MPS by Superintendent William Andrekopoulos. The proposal did not include a projection for property taxes for next year – that won’t come for months – but it did include a statement that it was likely there would be “a significant property tax increase.” Some MPS leaders have suggested it could be 10% or more.
The reaction also came the same day incoming state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers told the state Assembly’s Education Reform Committee that he intends to appoint a “federal funds trustee” to oversee how MPS spends tens of millions of dollars of federal economic stimulus money.
Doyle and Barrett jointly issued a brief statement about the MPS property tax picture:
Somewhat related: Joel McNally on the QEO.
25.3MB mp3 audio file. The discussion begins about four minutes into the audio clip. Topics include: spending, program/curriculum assessment, reading results, the District’s strategic planning process, the QEO and possible state budget changes that could raise local property taxes.
The mood was sour at the WEAC offices in August of 2001. Republican Governor Scott McCallum had signed a budget that only increased school funding by $472 million over the biennium. These new funds, approved by McCallum while the Governor was wrestling with a budget deficit, represented increases of 3.1% and 4.2% in school aids over the 2001-03 biennium.
In a press release following the bill signing, the teachers’ union sneered at McCallum’s paltry effort, calling it a “status quo” budget. At no point in the release did they mention the half a billion in new funds they received – instead, they excoriated McCallum for vetoing a .78% increase in the property tax caps and for vetoing relaxation of the Qualified Economic Offer (QEO) law, which caps teacher salaries. They derided the Republican governor for not increasing aid enough for special education, saying the “lack” of special education funds meant “school districts will be forced to pit special education against other programs, resulting in decisions that hurt all students.” To the extent they mention the increased aids at all, they dismiss them as merely “part of a continuing effort” to hold down property taxes.
Nearly eight years later, Democratic Governor Jim Doyle stood at the podium in front of the Legislature, which was now controlled fully by members of his own party. Faced with a budget deficit of $5.9 billion (much of it his own doing) Doyle announced his intention to increase school aids by $426 million over the biennium. Even public school children in Wisconsin will recognize this as $46 million less than the increase authorized by McCallum in 2001.
Doyle’s budget also included a funding shell game that imperiled school aids in the future. Doyle cut over $500 million in general funds out of school aids and plugged in an equal amount in federal “stimulus” funds to cover the aids – federal funds which may very well not be available in the next budget. On top of that, he funds virtually the entire school aid increase with one-time federal money. When 2011 rolls around, school aids could be over $1 billion in the hole and fighting tooth and nail with other state programs for funding.
Undoubtedly, the small funding increase, coupled with the risky way funds are shifted around to patch up holes, would cause the thoughtful folks at WEAC to have some serious concerns regarding Doyle’s budget.
Surprise! The day after his budget address, WEAC wasted no time in praising the proposed Doyle school funding plan, gushing that it “stays true to Wisconsin’s priorities and values.”
Schneider correctly points out the risks of using stimulus/splurge funds to plug budget holes. Wisconsin K-12 spending has grown significantly over the years, while UW System state tax dollars have been flat.
Download or listen to this 15MB mp3 audio file.
Susan Troller: The district and Madison Teachers Inc. exchanged initial proposals Wednesday to begin negotiations on a new two-year contract that will run through June 30, 2009. The current one expires June 30. “Frankly, I was shocked and appalled by the school district’s initial proposal because it was replete with take-backs in teachers’ rights as … Continue reading MMSD / MTI Contract Negotiations Begin: Health Care Changes Proposed
Shane Samuels: There are those who like to work with numbers, and then there are those who figure school budgets. They’re not necessarily the same person. School finance consists of a labyrinth of property values, student enrollment totals, federal aid, and state aid. Only two people in Chetek claim to understand the funding formula from … Continue reading Some interesting insight into another district’s budgeting process, knowledge, and challenges.
Waukesha Taxpayer’s League: alaries and benefits are by far the largest portion of the School District budget and the increases dictate what the School Board must do with programs and corresponding reductions in programs. During the ’90’s, negotiations used to begin with presentation of proposals of both sides, the EAW (Education Association of Waukesha) and … Continue reading WEAC, the EAW & the Waukesha School Board
It will be interesting to see how voters on February 20 and April 3 view this decision by a majority of the Madison School Board: Should the Board and Administration continue to give away their ability to negotiate health care benefits ($43.5M of the 2006/2007 budge) before MTI union bargaining begins? Read the 2005 MMSD/MTI … Continue reading Concessions Made in Advance of MTI Negotiations by a Majority of the Madison School Board
Chris Lufter: We are sure that this statement will shock this community: The Waukesha Taxpayers League agrees that we have an educational funding problem in Wisconsin. While there may be widespread agreement with that statement, how we got into this predicament and, more importantly, how we resolve the funding issue is where disagreement exists. As … Continue reading How Should We Fund Education?
School spending has always been a puzzle, both from a state and federal government perspective as well as local property taxpayers. In an effort to shed some light on the vagaries of K-12 finance, I’ve summarized below a number of local, state and federal articles and links. The 2007 Statistical Abstract offers a great deal … Continue reading School Finance: K-12 Tax & Spending Climate
Steven Walters: In what could be the biggest fight yet over repealing the controversial law limiting the pay raises of Wisconsin’s teachers, Gov. Jim Doyle and Democrats who run the state Senate once again are taking aim at it. The so-called qualified economic offer law was passed in 1993 to control property taxes on homes. … Continue reading Wisconsin Governor Doyle Again Focuses on Teacher Pay
Some interesting changes in the Madison School Board’s Governance this week: Renewed administrator contracts for one year rather than the customary two years. Via Sandy Cullen: The administration had proposed a two year wage and benefit package for administrators, but School Board President Johnny Winston Jr. said board members did not want to be locked … Continue reading Change
Madison’s teachers union said Friday it will not agree to reopen its contract with the School District to renegotiate health-care benefits, dashing hopes the district could find cheaper coverage. A joint committee of district and union representatives has been studying rising health- care costs, but both sides had to agree to reopen the 2005-07 contract … Continue reading Teachers bar shift in health coverage
WisPolitics.com is hosting a lunch for Republican Gubernatorial candidates Mark Green and Scott Walker who are facing off to run against incumbent Democrat Jim Doyle this fall. Cost is $15 for Madison Club members and $19 for non-members. Call Loretta to RSVP at the Madison Club, 608-255-4861. This is perhaps one of the best local … Continue reading WisPolitics Lunch (2/3/2006): Mark Green and Scott Walker
Steve Loehrke: I have been the President of the Weyauwega-Fremont School Board for the last four years. I own a small realty and appraisal company,a small computer, and Internet website development company. I recently founded a non-profit charitable corporation to help underprivileged children in Wisconsin. I serve on the school board primarily as a concerned … Continue reading “How to Reform Your Local School Board”
This is an e-mail sent to the Madison CARES listserve. Enjoy. By DENNIS A. SHOOK – Freeman Staf (April 16, 2005) The hardest question on any test for a state legislator is what should be done to fund education? Some legislators would answer “nothing” while others would answer “whatever it takes.’” But common sense tells … Continue reading School Daze – Answers to funding questions are elusive
The inside, unsigned cover page of MMSD’s non-budget cut list that tells the public that the administration is protecting math and reading for young children. For $12,000+ per student, the administration will teach our kids to read and to do math – what happened to science and social studies? What happened to educating the whole … Continue reading Our School Board Needs a Budget: No Budget Yet We Have a Cut List that Harms Underprivileged Children’s Education and Divides Parent Groups
Parent Presentations on the District’s Budget Decisionmaking Process: Since Spring 2002, other parents and I have spoken to the School Board on a number of issues related to the District’s budget decisionmaking promise. We often presented this information in a power point presentation in an easy-to-read and understand format. I’m now in the process of … Continue reading MMSD Budget – Parents Suggestions Over Time
Lee Sensenbrenner writes about Madison Schools Superintendent Art Rainwater’s recent comments regarding three possible 2005 referendums: “Facing growing subdivisions on the city’s edges, the expiration of a maintenance fund, and state laws that annually force cuts, the Madison School Board may be looking at three referendums next year.” State laws do not directly “force cuts”. … Continue reading 2005 Referendums?