The Madison School Board adopted a $433.6 million budget for the 2013-14 school year Monday night.

In two separate votes, the board passed the budget and tax levy 6-1, with member Mary Burke casting the no votes.

The $433.6 million budget includes a $260.4 million tax levy. The levy means homeowners will pay $12.03 per $1,000 of assessed value, up 51 cents from last year. That translates to a $119 increase over last year on the average $231,000 Madison home.

The 4.47 percent increase over last year’s $249.3 million levy is smaller than what district officials originally expected to seek from the school board. After losing $8.8 million in general state aid, the levy was expected to increase 7.38 percent according to Mike Barry, assistant superintendent for business services.

General state aid is based on a complicated funding formula that takes into account student population, property wealth and district spending. Madison’s aid was hit hard because its spending per pupil grew 9.9 percent last year, compared with a statewide average increase of 2.8 percent, said assistant state superintendent Brian Pahnke.

District officials were able to reduce the levy by using $4.1 million in reserve funds and reducing general fund expenditures 1 percent for the next school year. About $2.5 million of that will come from a debt service fund and another $1.6 million will come from a surplus in a community recreation fund, Barry said.

Barry said using surpluses is not a good long-term practice for the district but said it was a suitable short-term solution to mitigate the impact the district’s taxpayers feel resulting from the loss in state aid.

“Any time that you use a surplus you need to recognize that it’s not a recurring source of revenue. … Recognizing that we were dealing with a substantial loss in state equalization aid and a tax levy (increase) threatening to be higher than 5 percent — these are short-term strategies that were used to bring the levy down to what the board thought was an acceptable level,” Barry said.

Barry said he expects the district to receive more state aid next year.

“We have been now through a peak-and-valley cycle with equalization aid,” he said. “Going forward we expect the equalization aid to rebound next year partially. Beyond that it’s too early to say because we’d be outside of a two-year state budget.”

Monday’s adopted budget also includes 1.5 percent raises for special education assistants, food service employees and security staff. Other district employees will see a 1 percent increase.

Jeff Glaze covers county and suburban government for the State Journal. He joined the newspaper in 2011 after earning degrees in journalism and political science from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

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(40) comments

GOOD DOG HAPPY MAN
GOOD DOG HAPPY MAN


Kind of strange, brave new world in which the proggy paleo-libs must find themselves. But because they are intellectually uncurious, they're blinded by their own ideology and don't see how the rest of Wisconsin sees them. They're so stridently marching in lockstep with the rest of low-information liberal lemmings, no one has bothered to ask Mary Burke, "Why did you vote against this budget?"

It would be committing a blatant act of investigative journalism. Especially since Burke favors school choice, vouchers and opportunity for advancement for the poorest among us. She has, however, generously put her money where her mouth was, and has walked the walk. Thank you, Mary, for your kindness and compassion.

She might even be in favor of Act 10. She probably wouldn't rescind or change any of the reform measures that Governor Walker has put into place.

And if that's the case, she will be a formidable statewide gubernatorial candidate, indeed. I'd love her to death.

How odd and ironic is it, that some of the same folks that stood in the schoolhouse doorways fifty years ago, holding those doors open for educational opportunities and integration, are now standing in those same doorways, this time blocking the exits for poor minority students and their families seeking educational choice and equal opportunity ? !!!

Care about the children? Not so much.

It shows me, too.

"We'll care about the students, just as soon as the students start paying their union dues." has become the new unintended slogan for the self-serving public sector teacher's union and wholly-owned Democrat subsidiaries, WEAC, MTI and NEA.

Woofda!

Cornelius Gotchberg
Cornelius Gotchberg

Perhaps the 4.47 % increase is the wrong answer, let's just channel the brilliant "Common Core" axiom. The School Board then just has to inform the taxpayers how they 'arrived' at the wrong answer. (this approach will

Then:
* Lefty winks and nods (and giggles a tad),
*the School Board gets a trophy and a hug,
*the students get more easy A, pass-fail, self-esteem promoting, feel-good curricula (maybe a 'texting proficiency' class),
*the parents tell us how important it is for us ALL to pay to educate their ADD/MTV addled spawn (our future leaders),
*the taxpayers get bent over.
*Cue the Talking Heads "Once in a Lifetime' refrain: "Same as it ever was, etc."

Sound about right?

The Gotch

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

I thought Republicans were all about performance based economics?

So if the Dane county schools are producing the smartest kids then based on performance the teachers need to be paid proportionately.... or have the Republicans abandoned that theory as well.

Or do Republicans only apply it to Republicans districts?

Republican strategy;
Cut 1 billion in State aid to schools
Then blame Democrats in school districts for raising taxes to fund schools

You never did answer the question Gotch.... just how much do you get paid to post here?

Cornelius Gotchberg
Cornelius Gotchberg

@Wis_taxpayer;

So do you walk to school or do you carry your lunch?

The Gotch

Austin J
Austin J

"Dane County schools are producing the smartest kids"??? Since When? The ACT tests show them getting their butts kicked by quite a few school districts in this state.

Oh, and BTW, Dane County schools might be receiving some of the "smartest kids" but the schools don't make smart kids - they make well educated kids. Or, in the case of the MMSD, not so much so.

scorp
scorp

Did anyone expect anything Less? Place any lefties on the board and you will ALWAYS receive higher taxes and less performance. Elections have consequences and a vote for the left has raising taxes as a consequence. Of course most dems DON"T pay higher taxes because the uneducated and freeloaders don't own property with any value.

array1
array1

*yawn*

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

So the "State" guts education funding, Forcing the local districts to make up the difference by raising taxes and it's the districts fault?

Right wingers will of course blame, blame, blame, the districts for increasing taxes, but it's really the fault of the State for making such draconian cuts to education.

Yes, it's Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans fault your taxes are going up as much as they are.

Just another example of Republicans complaining about having to actually pay for something.... besides private corporations or church schools, which they have no trouble throwing public money at, buy the bushel full.

Now Republicans, please tell me who's fault it is that Walker cut 1 billion from education, causing this increase in taxes?

Mad-son
Mad-son

Most of them are willing to ignore the root causes, as long as the ideological social agenda remains on track. They will find a way to blame teachers and public employees for it, because they are trained to do so.

And they also like to say one party rule in other states where Dems are in control is the root of all evil. Except when it applies to their own intellectual inbreeding. Where are the jobs and living wages to support this?

If I were the Dems, this would be a major campaign issue next election. Not saying the Dems would be that much better, but the GOP has certainly run it's course in WI.

ginrummy
ginrummy

It's certainly the school boards fault for raising property taxes. I don't blame teachers for that. The school board needed to look for ways to cut excessive programs or needless services rather than making people who own property pay for their inability to make "hard" decisions. If your pay is cut do you keep Showtime and HBO or do you cut things you like but are not necessary and you can't afford?

Naturally, people with kids in school are happy to pay more in taxes considering they are paying much less than it costs to send their kids to school on the backs of everyone else. We hear them complain when fees are increased to help pay for the services and programs that THEIR kids are using. But if everyone else pays for their demands then all is good.

This is not a Dem vs Republican issue. Many Dems I know are just as sick of paying the excessive amount in schools taxes.

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

Really? It's the school boards fault?

So gutting 1 billion from the schools via State aid and then requiring the school boards to make that up is the school boards fault?

What planet are you living on?

Mad-son
Mad-son

It "excessive" because the state is not meeting it's obligations. What are those "excessive" programs and services vs. basic services?

Are sports excessive? Arts education? Is anything fully funded anymore?

When it comes to the hard questions and priorites, it's easier to be the armchair quarterback than the one who makes the decsions with many considerations in mind. Nobody likes to see an increase, especially one like this that would be unnecesary if the State were meeting it's obligations.

toobad
toobad

Property owners are milking cows.

ginrummy
ginrummy

I didn't see in the article what programs and/or services were being cut to keep taxes down. What I also didn't see what if we have fully implemented Act 10. How much are the teachers and staff contributing to their own health insurance and pension? The board should have started with looking at what to cut in extra programs that don't apply to core education needs rather than starting with how much they can take from property taxpayers.

I could just see the boards eyes light up like Aaron Rogers getting a free play when it was announced Madison would get less in state aid. Rather than looking at significant cuts, and Act 10 if it's not fully implemented, they realize they can keep the same unacceptable spending and maybe even add programs then just blame the increase on the state. If I know I'm going to get a pay cut, I don't subscribe to a higher cable package then tell my neighbor they will be paying for it. Yes, they made cuts to some things but I suspect those were things that next year they can come back with a referendum because "we need to keep the schools running and not crumbling on our poor children".

Even if the state comes back in the end with more money for Madison you know the board has the mentality to just stick with the unacceptable tax increase and spend more.

smithy
smithy

Our district fully implemented Act10. Net result is the highest turnover of staff we're ever seen. And it's not the bad teachers and the old teachers moving on. We're losing our best YOUNG teachers. So we hire an aspiring, GOOD, young teacher, spend taxpayer money to help develop them, and off they go to another district or another state. Great waste of our time and your taxpayer money. Net result, we now are trying (within the confines of ACT 10) to increase our pay and benefit package because we know that in the long run, it will be more cost effective. So be careful what you wish for.

JohnGalt2016
JohnGalt2016

BS Smithy

ginrummy
ginrummy

Where can I find information about how much the teachers and staff are paying in on their own insurance and pensions? Unfortunately, ACT 10 didn't go far enough in protecting the property taxpayer. It should've made it so schools had to make cuts rather than jacking the property taxpayer for more. The caps are way too high.

Fur94
Fur94

smithy is correct about Madison implementing Act 10. While the Madison School Board did renew a contract with the teachers, that same contract included requiring the teachers pay for health and retirement, as Act 10 intended. Here's the WSJ article about it from 2011:

http://host.madison.com/news/local/education/local_schools/madison-teachers-union-agrees-to-wage-benefit-concessions-in-new/article_08e4dde4-4ce5-11e0-83f1-001cc4c03286.html

Madison property taxes are going up because state aid is going down. The blame falls on the local districts, because it's their name on the bill, but it's the state that's using the money, not the school district. The total state budget is now about $4 billion dollars more then Doyle's biggest one, but education spending is still down almost a billion.

To see if the schools are spending more, the place to look isn't your property tax bill, the place to look is in the actual budget. It's not interesting, but it is available:

https://www.madison.k12.wi.us/files/7.15.13%20MMSD%202013-14%20Budget.pdf

At the very end, it lists the past few budgets:
2011 Actual - $439.6 million
2012 Revised- $435.5 million
2013 Adopted- $433.6 million (what they adopted yesterday)

So the district is spending less and taxes still go up. The only remaining answer is that the state is cutting aid meaning property taxpayers have to pay more.

Austin J
Austin J

@smithy: Total union propaganda from the first word to the last. Complete nonsense.

NicksAunt
NicksAunt

Well at least we're getting a good return on our investment in the future. Oh wait...

thinkfirstplease
thinkfirstplease

Oh wait? Maybe you keep missing the articles about ACT scores which are not just strong in Wisconsin overall, but also locally.

196ski
196ski

Go read the actual report on those ACT scores, the headline sounded great but the details tell a different story.

The ACT College Readiness Benchmarks are scores on the ACT subject area tests that represent the level of achievement required for students to have a 50% chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75% chance of obtaining a C or higher in corresponding credit-bearing first-year college courses.

Based on those Benchmarks only 33% of Wisconsin high school graduates who took the ACT passed all four Benchmarks in English, Reading, Science and Math. We have a lot of work to do.

Norwood44
Norwood44

Mary Burke. A fiscally responsible Dem. That is tremendous.

madcity
madcity

This along with a 22% water utility rate increase will be a real burden on seniors living on fixed incomes. I believe the school board is trying to do the right thing, but like area businesses that face restrictions due to revenue shortages you have to look for ways to reduce cost.
If the board continues to believe that spend and tax with little regard to looking at ways to save and cut cost is the right thing to do, then maybe the city should look at a 1/2 % city sales tax to offset the impact the school board has on seniors and those on tight budgets. I am not sure if 1/2 % is the right number, but it is a way to start a discussion.

Orvis
Orvis

You haould have planned and saved better for your retirement. Quit whining.

Orvis
Orvis

that's "should have"

Badgerman
Badgerman

Way to insult someone Orvis without having even a remote idea who the person is or what they have gone through. Grow up.

thinkfirstplease
thinkfirstplease

First of all, it's just inaccurate to suggest that no one is looking at how to cut costs in the district. The ever increasing list of school supplies (copy paper was on one of our lists this year) is just one example of what is happening in bits and pieces throughout the schools. I'm not sure that a sales tax helps seniors. My understanding is that sales taxes disproportionately affect people on fixed incomes. Perhaps the "tax relief" the state just passed could have been targeted property tax relief for people on fixed incomes at/below a certain level instead of a handout to people who don't need it.....

Lexus Peterson
Lexus Peterson

Burke has consistently vocalized opposition to the tax increase. Thank you Mary for reason and sanity.

MadisonCitizen
MadisonCitizen

HOW DO WE INCREASE SPENDING 9.9% MORE PER STUDENT WHEN THE REST OF THE STATE INCREASES SPENDING 2.8% PER STUDENT???? YES, I MEANT TO DO THIS IN ALL CAPS!!! MY PROPERTY TAXES HAVE DOUBLED SINCE I MOVED HERE 10 YEARS AGO!

Hmm, maybe because our school board extended contracts and raises while the unions pretended to agree with Act 10?

Orvis
Orvis

Because the sate budget unevenly provided its share of education revenue to each district. Some got large increases, some got large decreases. And state law (Act 10) sets the rules for how revenue can be generated. The board is following the law. If you don't like it, call the governor and his GOP followers and demand change. (Good luck with that!!!)

thinkfirstplease
thinkfirstplease

If your property taxes have actually doubled, then one can only assume your home value has taken a nice jump. Sounds like you got a great deal on your house when you bought it. If you haven't seen that kind of an equity jump, then it sounds like your property has been incorrectly assessed. There's a process for dealing with that that has nothing to do with the schools.

JohnGalt2016
JohnGalt2016

MadisonCitizen It will only get worse. If you can leave you should.

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

You must be the only Republican living in Dane county..... didn't you know the county taxes Republicans twice as much as Democrats?

Cornelius Gotchberg
Cornelius Gotchberg

@Wis_taxpayer;

Can you come up with a better formula to correct for all the Dhimmicrat tax cheats (72 % to 28 %)?

Democrats don't pay taxes, they just raise them!

The Gotch

Fur94
Fur94

The "spending per student" statistic is a bit deceptive. People think that means the whole budget went up 10%, but this is not the case. Reports show spending decreased 4 million last year. The "spending per student" could mean that enrollment decreased, or that some things aren't counted in the calculation.

The contracts didn't have anything to do with it. In the contracts, the teachers basically got the same deal all other teachers got, the district saved $15 million under the agreement. Your taxes have increased because state aid has decreased. Save the $100 the state is giving you in a tax cut, to pay the $100 the state is cutting to your school district.

River
River

Burke is just posturing now.

toobad
toobad

To get more widespread use of vouchers?

eclectic
eclectic

Well Madisonians, how does it feel to pay more each year for a progressively (no pun intended) worse school system?

11B-OEFX
11B-OEFX

Security staff? What? Follow the NRA's advice finally?

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