Local Superintendent Says $850 Million Proposal Fails to Ease His Budget Problem

By: Dana Brueck
By: Dana Brueck

One local superintendent says the governor's pledge is encouraging, but it helps taxpayers more than it helps his school district.

While Mrs. Blackman's 8th grade class learns how to manage money. Stoughton Superintendent Dr. Myron Palomba considers the money matters facing his district.

"Most districts with stable or declining enrollment are facing serious financial difficulties," he says.

Palomba says Stoughton is expected to lose about 50 students next year.

Next week, voters will decide on a referendum to raise property taxes for four years.

"I think what voters need to consider and decide upon and make choice on is do they want to maintain current programs, or do they want us to make necessary reductions that we're gonna have to make?"

Pallomba says Stoughton already has one of the lowest property tax rates in the area.

"The tax rate is the lowest in Dane County at $8.88 per thousand.

But taxpayers could see relief in tonight's budget address from the governor.

"By the state increasing their share of funds under the revenue cap what it will do, it will lower property taxpayers' responsibility," Palomba says.

Gov. Jim Doyle's $850 million dollar proposal would raise the state's burden for education, lowering the burden on taxpayers.

"The problem that it presents for us is the overall amount doesn't change."

But how does this news affect the district's referendum?

Palomba says, "The common thought would be if state is putting in more money, the local district is going to get more money; in reality that doesn't necessarily happen."

Palomba still needs the referendum, or the district risks cuts, including an increase in class size, or a decrease in course offerings.

"If there was a change in the revenue cap formula in context of discussion. For example, if it increased amount per pupil that it increased, well, then that might have an impact to us," Palomba says.

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