Madison School Board member Mary Burke, who also is running for governor, offered further thoughts Tuesday on her votes Monday night against the $392 million Madison School District 2013-14 amended budget and the $257.7 million property tax levy, both approved 6-1 by the School Board on Monday.
Among other things, Burke noted Monday that some of the budget's current expenditures should be reallocated to increase teachers' pay.
She said before her vote that last year’s unexpected “windfall” of state aid used to make subsequent one-time purchases that she said have since been incorporated into the district’s budget should have been reconfigured to also give raises to district teachers.
“My concern is very little of it went into increasing pay for teachers,” she said.
Here's the statement Burke, a Democrat, sent to the State Journal today:
"I am fully committed to excellence in public education in Madison and supporting our teachers and staff while ensuring that government lives within the means of its citizens at a time when so many Madison families are struggling. This budget increases spending by $16 million over the last 2 years with only a small portion going to increases in teacher pay. Last year's budget included many one-time investments in maintenance, IT and curriculum because of a one-time, unexpected increase in state aid. My opposition to this year's budget is rooted in the fact that it takes that $16 million from last year's budget and makes it part of our regular operations going forward. The mill rate has gone up substantially over the last 5 years and this additional increase on top of a property tax burden is too much for many taxpayers to bear. I believe we could have done more to limit this increase by negotiating tougher with vendors, cutting down on travel, holding off on implementing new programs rather than asking Madison citizens to cut their budgets when they are already struggling."