June 17 MMSD Asks PTOs and Presumably Parents to Contact Legislators

For Legislative Fiscal Bureau policy papers and membership lists of relevant committees, go to: http://www.schoolinfosystem.org/mmsd/leg/
If you have already received this Update, our apologies. We are trying to inform parents about this important budget issue before the Legislature votes next week.
Dear PTO/A Leaders:
The attached information outlines changes Republican leaders made to Gov. Doyle’s budget. Please take a moment to call Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz and Assembly Speaker John Gard (contact information in news update) to express your opposition to cutting back on the allowable per pupil revenue limit increase. Gov. Doyle’s budget allows a $248 per pupil increase for next school year, the GOP plan, $120 (would require an additional $3.1 million cut to the budget BEFORE it is finalized this October); for the 06-07 school year, the Gov. allows an increase of $252 per pupil, the GOP plan $100 per pupil (would require MMSD to cut $6.9 million in 06-07).

As you know, under current law the district had to cut $8.6 million this year; the GOP proposal adds another $3.1 million. For the 2006-07 school year, again, under current law, the district estimates that the “revenue cap gap” to offer a “same services” budget will be about $7 million; the GOP plan would double that estimate and require a $14 million cut for the 06-07 school year in order to comply with state-imposed revenue limits.
In your contact, talk about what cuts you’ve ALREADY seen at your child’s school. If you have questions, or want more information, please contact me at 663-1902 or via e-mail jquick@madison.k12.wi.us.
Thanks for your interest, and help — Joe Quick, Legislative Liaison, Madison Schools.
Number 4, June 13, 2005
GOP guts Doyle’s education budget
JFC proposes revenue limit increase below inflation
Republican legislative leaders touted an “historic increase in school aids,” but they decimated Gov. Jim Doyle’s budget proposal to have the state pick up two-thirds of the total cost of K-12 education in Wisconsin, and they offered only a 1.4% increase on the per pupil revenue limit increase as the Joint Finance Committee (JFC), on an 11-5 vote, finished its work on the 2005-07 biennial budget. The bill now moves to the Assembly.
In a late-afternoon news conference Doyle said the Republican budget was one of the largest cuts to K-12 education in decades. “We are now seeing the results of making education the last priority on their agenda. By the time they got around to education, there was no money left to support our schools. Quite simply, their budget is a cruel hoax on schools and property taxpayers. I will use every power at my disposal to make sure that we get a budget that is fair to both property taxpayers and our schools.”
The reduction in the allowable per pupil revenue limit increase could be devastating to the state’s schools. The Department of Public Instruction estimates that the reduction to $120 per pupil increase for 2005-06 (from $248 per current law) and to $100 per pupil increase (from an estimated $252 per student) in 2006-07 would be a loss of $350 million in resources for Wisconsin’s schools.
For Madison, the Governor’s budget office estimated that another $3.1 million would have to be cut by October for 05-06(on top of the $8.6 million already cut) and an additional $7 million for 2006-07. The district estimates that under current law, the “revenue cap gap” in 2006-07 would be about $7 million, so the GOP proposal would translate into a $14 million cut that school year.
The allowable increase in revenue limit authority proposed by the GOP would be a 1.4% increase. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Web site, for the period of April 2004 through April 2005, the Consumer Price Index is running at about 3.5% – with energy costs up 17.1% for the same period.
Please take a moment to contact Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) at 266-0703, or via e-mail sen.schultz@legis.state.wi.us and Speaker John Gard (R-Peshtigo) 266-3387, rep.gard@legis.state.wi.us. Urge them to restore the allowable revenue limit increase to current law ($248 in 05-06 and $252 in 06-07) and to fund two-thirds of education to relieve the burden of the local property tax payers and to benefit our state’s children. Tell them about the cuts that have hurt your school and classroom.
The following is a brief outline of the key K-12 provisions in the JFC’s budget version.
State Equalization Aid – Increase state equalization aid by $141.4 million
in 2005-06 and $230.2 million in 2006-07, but reduces Governor Doyle’s proposed increase by $328.4 million.
Revenue Limits – Reduces the revenue limit per pupil adjustment to $120 in
2005-06 and $100 in 2006-07 and thereafter. Current law, proposed by the Governor, is $248 per pupil in 2005-06 and $252 in 2006-07.
Special Education Categorical Aid – Provides a $12 million increase in 2006-07. Allows guidance counselor and school nurse services to be eligible for reimbursement.
Low-incidence/High Cost Special Education Initiative – Adopts Doyle proposal to create a categorical aid program in 2006-07 to provide $3.5 million to reimburse 90 percent of costs over $30,000 per special education student – an estimated $1.4 million for MMSD.
Bilingual-Bicultural Education Aid – Increases aid by $2.4 million over the biennium, enough to keep the reimbursement ratio at its current level of 12%.
SAGE – Provides $6.14 million over the biennium to fully fund estimated SAGE
enrollments under current law. Allows participating school districts to opt-out of SAGE for grades 2, 3, or both years. Any unexpended portion of the SAGE appropriation would
lapse to the general fund at the end of each year.
Four-Year-Old Kindergarten – Maintains current level of state funding. Deletes
Doyle’s K4 $3 million start-up grant.
Declining Enrollment Districts – Deletes the Governor’s recommendation to
allow districts to set revenue limits at the greater amount determined by using either a 3-year or 5-year rolling average of pupil enrollment.
School Breakfast – Deletes the Governor’s recommended $1.3 million increase over the
biennium to increase the reimbursement from 10 to 15 cents to districts that offer breakfast (estimated loss of $25,000 for MMSD).
GOP leaders say they are on track to send the budget to the governor by late-June or early July. However, rumors swirled at the Capitol that the Senate may not have the 17 votes necessary to pass the bill. Sen. Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay), a JFC member, was the only Republican to vote against the bill. The GOP has 19 senators, so only two Republican senators could oppose the budget and allow the bill’s passage. When the bill does get to the Governor, he will have wide veto latitude to improve the bill, or delete provisions.