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MMSD referendum?

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MMSD referendum?

Postby Arlene Silveira » Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:25 pm

All - as you will read in The Cap Times today, the discussion of a 3 year school referendum came up at the board meeting last night as a way to prevent the continual cutting into our programs. Details are at:

http://www.madison.com/tct/mad/topstori ... 33&ntpid=1


I am interested in your thoughts on this proposal.

Arlene Silveira
Note: I am not advocating - just looking for feedback.
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Postby Michael Patrick » Tue Mar 13, 2007 3:10 pm

Because the world should revolve around me and my wants and needs...

I was ticked off when I found out that SAGE was going to be cut at Crestwood for one year. Which, of course, is the one year when my daughter will be attending kindergarten at Crestwood.

How much would an average taxpayer have to fork over in each of the three years?
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Postby pulsewidth modulation » Tue Mar 13, 2007 3:28 pm

Why is the school board peddling more propaganda and scares? The world isn't ending and Isthmus dwellers sure as hell are not yielding more kids these days... What's the problem again?

So, who will be the first to post fake government produced population trends in order to support higher taxes? Face it, families are moving to family friendly areas outside of Madison. Lean how to budget what you have and stop the scare referendums.
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Postby gargantua » Tue Mar 13, 2007 4:27 pm

I'm not crazy about having to pay higher taxes because of a problem created by the state legislature. I would rather that we hold their feet to the fire than fight among ourselves, which serves no one except the culprits.

All that said, I'm not an automatic no vote by any means. But I would be more likely to support a leaner proposal. My understanding of this one is that it restores everything. I have to say no to Carol Carstensen on that, sorry.
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Postby Donald » Tue Mar 13, 2007 4:52 pm

The total budget is going up; lots of cuts to programs for kids are being made. Huh?

I have to wonder when do the adults employed at MMSD make any sacrifices? At MMSD it's "throw the kids overboard first."

I'd be for a referendum if it was an honest one: put the raises for teachers and administrators up for a public vote, and save the programs for kids.
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Postby Henry Vilas » Tue Mar 13, 2007 5:04 pm

Donald wrote:I'd be for a referendum if it was an honest one: put the raises for teachers and administrators up for a public vote, and save the programs for kids.

Nice polemics, but even I think you know about collective bargaining laws (although management, i.e. administators, probably aren't covered). The raises are already capped by state law. Unfortunately, district spending is also limited and has been for years. So has revisions in state property tax, when the burden was radically shifted from corporations to home owners. Then the teachers got blamed.

Cuts are going to be painful for all. The only remedy is a change in state funding.
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Postby cristobal » Tue Mar 13, 2007 5:16 pm

So, I'm 100% for increasing school funding by increasing taxes.

Maybe back in 1993 the MMSD had a porky budget but it really seems that they've cut a lot:

http://www.madison.k12.wi.us/cuts.htm

I agree the state funding is screwed up but it really seems that the cuts are too much and something needs to be done now whilst the state diddles around and does nothing.

If I were you, I would be more concerned by a decline in livability and housing values than by a $100 (or $200 or whatever) tax increase.

As I've pointed out in another post, if schools are not fully funded or perceived as declining, families (a big part of housing demand) will move their demand elsewhere. This directly affects the potential sale value of your Madison home which, eventually, hits you in the pocket.

Imagine a tiny decrease - say the demand reduction by fleeing families decreases your potential sale price by .5%. Your $200k house is now worth $199 and you've saved $100/year but lost $1000.

What I'm saying is that paying more for schools is a long-term investment whose returns are both qualitative and quantitative.

- Don't you think an important Madison is (was?) a desirable place to live is (was?) the high quality of the school system?

- Do you really want to encourage families with the means to move out?

And, yes, I do have kids :)

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Postby Nick Berigan » Tue Mar 13, 2007 7:54 pm

I'm trying to imagine a scenario where the legislature and governor act on school funding when we are NOT continuing to try to move this on a local level.

I think of the state minimum wage movement and have to say that without activity on the municipal level (NOT just in Madison, I know, I know) we'd still be sitting at $5.15.

If significant numbers of districts stop pursuing SOME kind of local movement on school funding (and please suggest something beside a referendum, if you can) these guys aren't going to do something just because they should.
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Postby Nick Berigan » Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:07 pm

Donald wrote:...I have to wonder when do the adults employed at MMSD make any sacrifices? At MMSD it's "throw the kids overboard first."....


My partner works 60% for the district as a language teacher. I drop her off at 6:45 in the morning and she often leaves after 5 having never left the building. She spends a significant portion of her evening working on lessons.

Last weekend she spent Saturday running a fund raiser to take students on a trip abroad during her spring break. She works with students one-on-one through her lunch. Some of the work she does used to be done by additional personnel. Her first year class is incredibly large and it's harder to teach a language in that setting.

I really object to this generalization that "adults at MMSD are not making any sacrifices." I've met a lot of seriously caring people who've made personal investments in this school district and they don't deserve to be characterized like that. I think it detracts from your credibility in this conversation that you are so far off base on this.
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Postby Arlene Silveira » Tue Mar 13, 2007 9:30 pm

In response to Michael's question on tax cost, the ROUGH ESTIMATE I was provided is slightly over $100 each year on a $250,000 home. This would be a continuing cost. (The concept of the referendum was just introduced on Monday night so this number is an estimate. An official analysis has not yet been provided).

Arlene
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Postby Donald » Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:09 pm

Carstenson wants a $36 million referendum. How would that referendum affect the state dollars? My understanding is that a good chunk of that money is offset by less state money.
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Postby Donald » Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:52 pm

Nick Berigan wrote:
Donald wrote:...I have to wonder when do the adults employed at MMSD make any sacrifices? At MMSD it's "throw the kids overboard first."....


My partner works 60% for the district as a language teacher. I drop her off at 6:45 in the morning and she often leaves after 5 having never left the building. She spends a significant portion of her evening working on lessons....I really object to this generalization that "adults at MMSD are not making any sacrifices." I've met a lot of seriously caring people who've made personal investments in this school district and they don't deserve to be characterized like that. I think it detracts from your credibility in this conversation that you are so far off base on this.


I have incredible respect for teachers, and your partner appears to be especially motivated. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to be honest about the budgeting. (By the way, my kid works for the US Agricultural Trade office in Beijing, where she translates and writes reports, so I have even more respect for language teachers.)

Given the particular revenue caps the district is under, the cuts to educational programs are "necessary" in order to provide teachers and administrators with what they claim to be their rightful "benefits." I'm sure everyone deserves more money, but what is being done in this district is that we strip mine educational programming for kids in order to provide raises to teachers. Then we go to voters and ask them to backfill the hole in educational programs created by the teachers' and administrators' raises. All I'm asking is that we be honest about it.

Now we can lament the revenue caps, but these, or similar property tax limiting mechanisms, are in place in many states. They are a fairly well accepted mechanism, because most school funding formulas before revenue caps were expense-driven and uncontrolled, leading to taxpayer revolts. There are quibbles in most states about what those caps should be. Certainly in Wisconsin, there is a real problem with how the QEO and revenue caps interact. Further, with the state attempting to pick up two-thirds of the cost of K-12 education, you are not likely to see these caps liberalized unless there is unexpected growth in the economy, or a fairly dramatic change in tax structure. I'm all for broadening the sales tax and an increase in the corporate income tax, and funnelling that money into education, but it's not going to happen any time soon.
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Re: MMSD referendum?

Postby Igor » Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:45 pm

Arlene Silveira wrote:I am interested in your thoughts on this proposal.

Arlene Silveira
Note: I am not advocating - just looking for feedback.


Arlene - I say this as a union member - the best thing that you could possibly do to ensure passage of referenda is to publicize 5 concessions that the administration has gotten from MTI in the last 5 years. They don't even have to be monetary - just something that indicates there is two-way negotiation happening.
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Re: MMSD referendum?

Postby jjoyce » Wed Mar 14, 2007 6:49 am

Igor wrote:the best thing that you could possibly do to ensure passage of referenda is to publicize 5 concessions that the administration has gotten from MTI in the last 5 years


Coming from someone who figures the state's funding formula has been failing us for years and probably already set back districts like Madison's a decade already, I would like to know what the MMSD is doing to lobby for change and what the prospects of that happening are.
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Postby mrs. mcdonell » Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:52 am

pulsewidth modulation wrote:...Isthmus dwellers sure as hell are not yielding more kids these days...


hey, I'm doing my best to change that.
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