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School board race heated already

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Re: School board race heated already

Postby Meade » Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:28 pm

Madcity Expat wrote:if public money goes to private religious schools, the churches should be taxed.

Okay, but only if we get rid of all so-called "non-profits". Why pick on only the faith-based?
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Re: School board race heated already

Postby Henry Vilas » Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:57 pm

People can tithe to their favorite religious institution and take a tax write-off. The religious institution doesn't have to account for that income. That is not like other non-profits.
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Re: School board race heated already

Postby rabble » Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:30 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:
Steve Vokers wrote:If I was Ananda Mirilli, I'd be blowing a gasket right about now.

I plan to write-in her name when I cast my ballot in the general election. I encourage others to do the same.

Yeah I'm good with that.
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Re: School board race heated already

Postby Detritus » Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:50 pm

Meade wrote:
Madcity Expat wrote:if public money goes to private religious schools, the churches should be taxed.

Okay, but only if we get rid of all so-called "non-profits". Why pick on only the faith-based?

OK, then here's a better deal for you: if my you can send my tax money to religious schools, then I can send your tax money to abortion clinics.

Happy now?
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Re: School board race heated already

Postby Henry Vilas » Sat Feb 23, 2013 9:58 am

Back to Walker's plan to expand the voucher program:

The (MMSD) board said in its statement if 50 Madison students had participated in the proposal, which would allow students to transfer to private schools through the use of vouchers, MMSD’s state aid would have decreased by approximately $900,000 this year. Private schools would have received more than $7,000 per student in the same scenario, according to the statement.
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Re: School board race heated already

Postby green union terrace chair » Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:55 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:Back to Walker's plan to expand the voucher program:

The (MMSD) board said in its statement if 50 Madison students had participated in the proposal, which would allow students to transfer to private schools through the use of vouchers, MMSD’s state aid would have decreased by approximately $900,000 this year. Private schools would have received more than $7,000 per student in the same scenario, according to the statement.

Why would aid be decreased $18,000 per student? Where does that number come from? Is that what the state aid is per all students?
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Re: School board race heated already

Postby Ed Hughes » Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:56 pm

Well, since you asked . . . .

The actual figure is a bit less than $900,000. It is $897,404. That is the sum of two figures.

The first figure is calculated by multiplying the amount a voucher school receives per student ($7,050) times the percentage of that amount that comes out of the state aid of the home school district (38.4%) times 50 students.

The second and larger number -- $762,044 – is the amount that Madison’s state aid would have been reduced this year had our student enrollment been 50 fewer students.

There is no way to predict what this number will be. I calculated it by re-running the state aid formula for Madison, but with a student count of 27,156 rather than 27,206. The formula spit out a state aid total of $54,533,043, which is less than the $55,295,087 we did receive.

For reasons I do not fully understand, the state aid formula is very sensitive to changes in enrollment for Madison and particularly so this year.
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Re: School board race heated already

Postby rabble » Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:26 am

Wow. A clear, concise summary of the collision of two complicated systems. Thanks, Ed.
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Re: School board race heated already

Postby green union terrace chair » Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:56 pm

Ed Hughes wrote:Well, since you asked . . . .

Wow, thanks for that detailed answer. I was momentarily confused ... I expected to read a couple pages of misinformed conjecture and angry ranting but instead you hijacked the thread with facts.

Follow-up questions (that are probably interconnected):

In this scenario, while Madison would have less total revenue, wouldn't they have more per student, as the property tax levy is unchanged? Or would lower enrollment impact tax rates somehow?

So if a portion of a voucher is funded by state aid that would have gone to the school district, is the rest also coming from the state or is it diverted from local property taxes?
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Re: School board race heated already

Postby snoqueen » Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:13 pm

Thanks x3. And no wonder almost nobody can follow this. It's absurdly complicated.

I would like to know something I probably should know already. When MMSD draws up its budget, is the amount the local property owner has to pay automatically tacked on to our real estate tax bills, or does it have to go past the city council/mayor first?
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Re: School board race heated already

Postby Henry Vilas » Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:19 pm

snoqueen wrote: When MMSD draws up its budget, is the amount the local property owner has to pay automatically tacked on to our real estate tax bills, or does it have to go past the city council/mayor first?

School districts are (somewhat) independent taxing authorities, subejct of course to state restrictons.
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Re: School board race heated already

Postby green union terrace chair » Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:29 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:
snoqueen wrote: When MMSD draws up its budget, is the amount the local property owner has to pay automatically tacked on to our real estate tax bills, or does it have to go past the city council/mayor first?

School districts are (somewhat) independent taxing authorities, subejct of course to state restrictons.

Yes, in Madison, the school district, MATC, county and city all determine their levies separately.

Not to derail, but they're also all impacted by TIF (a common misconception is that only the city aspect is impacted), which is why there's a TIF review board comprised of a rep from all four entities plus a fifth citizen member selected by the other four. This gave us an interesting twist during the Edgewater saga in that the school board was advocating against TIF in that case because of the potential impact on their budget.
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Re: School board race heated already

Postby snoqueen » Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:31 pm

That's part of what I was wondering about -- TIF is city money (or loan obtained with city backing) and it benefits the school district as well as other activities within the district (when/if the supposed benefits of the TIF project manifest). So in that way the city is involved in the school district's funding, isn't it?

I'm still confused, but I don't want to derail the discussion either. We were talking about how it's to the benefit of the school district to maintain higher enrollment numbers because that increases the amount of state aid. Students withdrawing from the district and going to voucher schools decreases enrollment (obviously) though it's uncertain from year to year exactly how much state aid is lost per student. Right?

From the Channel3000 link, here's a quote from the school board regarding Walker's proposals:

“Our public tax dollars should go to fund our public schools that accept all of our children, are accountable for results and are shaped by the policies set by the school board that our community elects,” the board said in its statement.


Well stated.

My main objection to the voucher schools does not concern the church/state separation but rather the larger issue, accountability for the use of public funds. The voucher school can do any damn thing it pleases on my dime and the ordinary taxpayer has no mechanism for input. They could be teaching creationism and white supremacy for all we have to say about it.

I suppose if things went to court, you'd choose your strongest legal argument, whether accountability or church/state separation. However, church/state seems too limited when unacceptable but non-religious teachings might be at issue.

Taxing the churches might even out the church/state argument, but it doesn't solve the question of the type of education the public is funding. I believe charter schools are a better solution if we want to try educational alternatives and use public money. There's no reason the state or city should use school aid to support private schools that are essentially business start-ups.
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Re: School board race heated already

Postby Ed Hughes » Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:12 pm

Thanks for the kind words.

Green -- In the hypothetical of Madison losing 50 students to vouchers, we would lose the state aid I described. Also, our revenue limit (which is better thought of as a spending limit) would also be decreased because it is determined on the basis of our number of students multiplied by a per-student spending figure that currently is somewhere in the neighborhood of $12,000 per student. So our spending limit would be reduced by 50 times the $12,000+ figure.

The portion of the voucher payment that does not come from the home school district’s state aid comes out of the total statewide amount earmarked to general state aid to school districts. This was a part of the reason why the Governor’s proposed expansion of the voucher program last time around faced widespread opposition – the more that goes to voucher schools, the less is available as state aid for all the state’s school districts.
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Re: School board race heated already

Postby Meade » Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:02 pm

Ed Hughes wrote:In the hypothetical of Madison losing 50 students to vouchers, we would lose the state aid I described.

But Madison would not be losing those 50 students. Madison public schools would be losing those 50 students.

Also, hypothetically, if those same 50 students went on to experience academic success, would it really be "Madison losing" -- especially if, hypothetically, those same 50 students would otherwise fall through the cracks in non-voucher public schools? Wouldn't it, hypothetically, be "Madison winning"?
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