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July 15, 2008

Referendum Climate: Madison Mayor Orders 5% Cut in 2009 City Budget

A possible Fall 2008 Madison School District Referendum may occur amid changes in City spending (and property taxes). Mayor Dave Cieslewicz's Memo to City Managers includes this [PDF]:

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%.
Via Isthmus.


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?

Posted by Jim Zellmer at July 15, 2008 3:33 AM
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