Maintaining our positive academic momentum

MMSD estimates current state funding model for public education will lead to $30M in budget cuts over the next 3 years.

The increased budget we are asking for is designed to continue the community investment passed in the 2016 operating referendum by allowing us to increase property taxes above the state limit. Without additional budget, we estimate that we will have a $10M budget gap next year, or $30M over the next 3 years. This deficit is too big to protect from the classroom. We would need to reduce the number of MMSD teachers and student programs.

An operating referendum would allow us to continue the services and supports we are currently providing students without having to cut large numbers of staff, increase class sizes, and make deeper and more disruptive cuts in coming years. The funds would be built into our budget each year and used to fund things like:

  • Continuing and expanding strategies that have begun to narrow achievement gaps in line with the Strategic Framework
  • Avoiding reductions in our staff and teaching workforce
  • Hiring and retaining the very best teachers, with a focus on diversifying our workforce
  • Strengthening investments inline with the Strategic Framework, such as supporting the Black Excellence Coalition Fund, Grow Your Own diversity hiring strategies, and increasing opportunities for youth of color and women like the Early College STEM Academy.

Local resources would help stabilize budget and maintain academic momentum while continuing disciplined budget process.

Operational Referendum - 36 Million Over 4 Years - $198 Average Per Household Each Year

Estimated cost

The district considers three major factors to determine impact on taxpayers. First, MMSD expects minimal enrollment growth over the next four years, which helps to minimize increases in the tax levy. Second, moderate to strong tax base growth estimates diffuse the impact on existing taxpayers. Third, unfortunately the district already predicts the maximum loss of State aid each year. Therefore, any increased spending in the district would not increase the loss of State aid. While strong real estate values, including new construction activity, will expand the tax base and help offset the tax impact for existing property owners, the property values in Madison are also increasing.  No matter the MMSD property tax rate, rising property values would cause taxes to increase.

The estimated cost of the operating revenue to exceed the revenue limit is $8 million beginning in the 2020-21 school year; an additional $8 million beginning in the 2021-22 school year (for a total of $16 million); an additional $10 million beginning in the 2022-23 school year (for a total of $26 million); and an additional $10 million in 2023-24 school year (for a total of $36 million) and thereafter.

This would create an estimated annual tax increase of $69 for each $100,000 of property value. For the average home in Madison at $295,000 this is an annual increase of about $200.

operating referendum to exceed revenue limits graph