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August 17, 2008

Transcript: Madison School Board 7/28/2008 Referendum Discussion

Meeting Transcript:

We begin the presentation by focusing on why is there a problem. And we wanna first and foremost point out that the issues affecting this school district are issues that are also occurring in other school districts in the state. While there may be some circumstances, and there are circumstances that are unique to one place or another, we know that this funding dilemma and the gap that exists between what the current state funding formula provides and how expenses are being dealt with in school district is not unique to this school district. Although we have our story here that is certainly unique. And again I want to emphasize that it really lies at the heart of it is the constraint between the current formula that was put into place in 1993 which basically asserted that the state provide more resources to schools through the two thirds funding if, in turn, school districts would control their costs in two ways. One was through the revenue cap and the second was through the qualified economic offer. And so that was the kind of exchange or the quid pro quo that was made at that time in public policy; to be able to provide more state funding for schools at the same time to place limitations on how much a school district could spend.

In the document we point out examples of this dilemma as it is affecting some of the top ten school districts in the state. Ranging in, for example Waukesha school district of 2.6 million dollar program and service reduction for the 08/09 school year. The district that I am most recently familiar with, Greenbay with a 6.5 million program and service reduction. And just to point out the difference we mentioned we seen there, we use a wording increase revenue authority that represents their gap but that's also, its described that way because of having more authority through a successfully passed referendum to exceed the revenue cap within that community. So that is what's meant by an increase revenue of authority.

Now the funding formula is one that school districts across the state are wrestling with. You know the history that this school district has had in terms of the types of decisions that have been made which we are going to underscore in just a minute to accommodate that funding formula but as I turn this over to Eric for the bulk of the rest of the presentation, I'll conclude its all with the idea yes there is a need to have school funded but its around the assertion that our kids have to have a high quality education to be successful in the world that they are growing into. And yes we do have a fiscal responsibility to use community resources in the most cost effective manner and the reality of it is there are constraints in meeting that proposition. So with that, and I will return for the conclusion, I'll turn it to Eric who will provide us with more detail of the nature of the problem.


Posted by Jim Zellmer at August 17, 2008 6:33 AM
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