Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
Local school districts are feeling the budget heat. Not immune to the recession, school board and superintendents are waking up to realize the money train has jumped the tracks.
Tough choices have to be made, if you consider rubber-stamping a big tax hike tough. The normal whine here in Franklin and I’m sure in other school districts is that the state that has flooded school districts with aid in the past isn’t quite as generous anymore. So school officials put on their best looks of sorrow and contend they simply have no choice but to come to the taxpayers for help, AGAIN, and, oh yes, did we forget to mention, it’s for the children.
The budget equation this year will probably include a new factor in the mix: actual cuts, a budget tactic school boards have been extremely reluctant to utilize, that is, until now. Here in
The question is, who and or what will be cut? In the city of
What’s a school board to do? Members, like the ones in
Steve Prestegard at his Marketplace of Ideas blog found some terrific education counsel from
“A reporter from the local radio station appeared. She pressed him on the education budget cuts too. She told him the local school board had just laid off nine teachers and an administrator.
‘What would you say to those people?’ she asked.
He visibly flinched….
‘I’d say it should have been nine administrators and one teacher. There are 20 things that school board could do before it had to lay off one teacher.’
In fact, the governor’s office has publicized a ‘Citizens’ Checklist’ that people can take to their local school boards to see if school officials have made every possible economy. Citizens in
‘I want citizens to understand,’ he said. ‘When people start demanding we spend more money, they’re saying, We want to raise your taxes. And the citizens should say, Okay, tell me. Which one of my taxes do you want to raise?’
While local boards set the schools’ budgets, the responsibility for collecting revenue and allocating it to schools has been consolidated in the state government, at Daniels’s insistence. The main benefit, as Daniels sees it, has less to do with schools than with taxation. In
‘Property taxation is the most pernicious taxation there is,’ he said. ‘Where else in life can you just decide how much you want to spend and then just dial up the rates to get enough revenue to pay for it? Elsewhere in life, you figure out how much money you have and fit your budget to that. If you’ve got less to spend, well, you’ve got less to spend’.”
Tough to argue with Daniels whose office provides some great ideas on how to spend education dollars wisely and give relief to beleaguered taxpayers.
Some school board members will claim schools can’t survive without whopping increases. That is simply not true. Public school districts have been awarded pots of gold for years and have squandered their lavish gifts from taxpayers.
The Citizens' Checklist should be required reading for every school board member and every school taxpayer in
HT: Steve Prestegard