Madison School Board Revises Budget to Reduce the Upcoming Property Tax Increase

WKOW-TV, via a kind reader’s email:

Madison school board leaders are revising a budget plan that lowers their property tax increase but defers millions of dollars in maintenance.
Leaders are looking to lower the previously agreed upon property tax hike by about $50 dollars per homeowner: from $147 on a $250,000 home, to $92.83 on a $250,000 home.
To accomplish that, members took from a few funds, and decided they would not levy the remaining balance on a 2005 maintenance referendum: that equaling out to almost $3 million dollars.
School board members had to compensate for the loss of $12-million dollars in state funding.
The loss of funding for the maintenance referendum didn’t come without discussion. Board member Beth Moss hoped to levy just enough to pay for $1.4 million dollars of roof maintenance.
Moss says, “The maintenance doesn’t go away… You can put it off, but putting it off usually only makes it worse.”
On the list for repairs, a boiler at Marquette Elementary, and more efficient windows at Shorewood Elementary.

Most budget changes passed 7-0, with the exception of the deferred maintenance, which passed 5-2 with Beth Moss and Ed Hughes voting against it. Moss’s school board seat is up for election on April 6, 2010. I emailed Beth last weekend, along with Maya Cole and Johnny Winston, Jr. to see if they plan to run for re-election.
Listen to Monday evening’s Madison School Board discussion via this 1 hour, 50 minute mp3 audio file.
The budget changes were driven by reduced transfers of state tax dollars to school districts and the drop in assessed property values (via an April, 2009 memo). Interestingly, I don’t believe this significant Board (mostly 7 votes, but some big dollar 5-2 as noted above) effort to hold down the local school property tax increase would have occurred with earlier Directors.

One thought on “Madison School Board Revises Budget to Reduce the Upcoming Property Tax Increase”

  1. Building Maintenance:
    I noticed that 2 Board Members were on TV last night stating that by Reducing or Deferring Maintenance didn’t mean that their decision didn’t mean that no Maintenance would be perfomed. If you don’t have the money or have set it aside where will the money come from then?
    The Board didn’t return the entire 5 Million to the community why not? How important is updated school maintenance to the success of edcuation in our schools?
    So how is this Board going to Guarantee to the Madison Community that they will not ask for another dime from this community for Maintenance….?
    Anytime any business doesn’t follow through with a 5 year plan it either has caught up with what the plan was put in place to do,,,or,,, there was too much money set aside originally,,, or,,,that costs on average came under what was originally requested.
    Is this a mistake?
    Why go into a guaranteed account for Maintenance which until this date has been needed by the Madison Schools just so a Board doesn’t have to make those tough on going decisions. Anyone who has students in school today or those who agreed to pay extra so Maintenance can take place should be up in Arms that this Board took on the original view now over 15 years ago that put us on a path which the Madison School District never recovered from on their own!
    Safe, Clean, Heated Buildings are most important to this Districts Taxpayers but now a School Board cuts corners. No one from the School District or the School Board has shown the Community how they will recover from this short sighted decsion so All Needed upgrades take place.
    Due to this decison by the School District and the Madison School Board can the public assume all Building Maintenance has been completed and all new Maintenance will come from the yearly budgeted money for school maintenance!?

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