MMSD school board votes to approve budget, tax increase

Burke votes against school tax increase
MMSD school board votes to approve budget, tax increase

Madison residents will pay more in taxes after the school board approved a new school district budget Monday night.

Just last week, the school district proposed doubling its tax levy from 2 percent to 4 percent in the next budget, and board member and candidate for governor Mary Burke raised questions about that increase.

The board passed the $405 million budget, 6-1, with Burke providing that one “no” vote.

Burke said with lower-than-expected state aid becoming the norm, the district will have to get creative when it comes to funding its schools, but it shouldn’t come at the taxpayer’s expense.

“As I look at this 4 percent levy increase, I just can’t vote to pass that on to taxpayers who are being squeezed and we are seeing that people are being squeezed,” Burke said.

“It’s a tough budget. We’re raising property taxes more than any of us are comfortable with, but with the inadequate state and federal funding and the very real needs of our students in our classrooms every day it’s the right choice to make,” Madison School Board Member TJ Mertz said.

Nearly all board members said Monday night’s vote was a tough one.

The average homeowner will see a $100 increase in their property taxes, which is based on the district’s median house value of about $240,000.

Walker points to Burke’s votes as a member of the school board for tax increases in 2012, but then votes in 2013 and in June against them as a sign that she’ll do anything to get elected.