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August 14, 2007

Madison School Board Considers An Operating Budget Referendum, to increase it's $340M Budget Authority

The Madison Metropolitan School District's Board of Education began discussing the possibility of a referendum for the 2008-2009 school year on Monday night.

Although there was no final decision, the workshop means a referendum is officially on the table for discussion, WISC-TV reported.

During the meeting, a grim forecast of future budget deficits was released by the Superintendent Art Rainwater. He told board members to expect to face more than $4 million worth of cuts for the 2008-2009 operating budget.

Earlier this year, the board dealt with community uproar as it was forced to cut nearly $8 million from the budget, which included closing one elementary school.

Now, the board must decide whether to ask voters to fill that budget gap with a referendum.

School officials have blamed the state-mandated revenue caps as the reason many districts like Madison are facing tough decisions in recent years.

Brittany Schoepp:

A possible referendum to close a projected budget gap of more than $4 million for the 2008-09 school year was discussed by the Madison School Board for the first time Monday night.

School District Superintendent Art Rainwater said the budget gap between what will be needed to maintain existing services and what would be allowed under state revenue caps is based on projections -- not actual enrollments and staffing -- but is "in the general ballpark."

In addition to the gap in 2008-09, shortfalls for the following four school years are predicted to range between $5.6 million and $6.8 million, Rainwater said.

School Board President Arlene Silveira emphasized that the board hasn 't decided whether to submit a referendum to voters this spring.

A few factors that may be on voter's minds:

Posted by Jim Zellmer at August 14, 2007 7:00 PM
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