MPS Hikes Taxes To The Maximum
MILWAUKEE - After eight hours of debate, the Milwaukee Public School Board agreed to raise taxes by more than 14 percent.
That board meeting wrapped up early Friday morning.
Members insist it was a tough decision to make in these tough economic times.
The board voted for the maximum increase allowed under state law - an increase of 14.6 percent.
That means the homeowner of a $150,000 house will pay about $143 more a year.
Superintendent William Andrekopolous knows it's tough - especially right now - but he blames the state, saying the state would penalize MPS if the board didn't raise the tax levy to the maximum.
"This is very tough," Andrekopolous said. "We've said all along this has been a broken funding formula. We hope that the state, the governor, the legislators are calling. We need help to fix this so we can proceed with educating our children."
The board also agreed to close two MPS buildings and relocate six small-to-medium sized schools into those buildings.
Two other local school districts have decided not to ask taxpayers for more money.
The Whitefish Bay and West Bend public schools both decided to take referendums off the ballot. Both districts say it's the wrong time to increase spending.
TODAY’S TMJ4’s Ty Milburn spoke with homeowners Thursday afternoon, before the MPS board vote. Many of them were concerned about the potential increase in taxes.
Milwaukee homeowner Al Oglesby says in these tough economic times, he can't afford to see his property taxes increased by another dime.
“I am not satisfied with that. I don't think it’s right for it to go up that high without the people having any say about it,” Oglesby said.
Like it or not, it looks like the school board is on the verge of raising the property tax levy by 14.6 percent: the maximum amount allowed by the state.
A Milwaukee homeowner whose house is valued at $150,000 could see their taxes increased roughly $143 a year.
“I understand they need more money, but I don't understand why they need quite so much,” grandparent Judy Minor said.
School board members say they are getting a lot less money from the state than in years past. That’s why Milwaukee taxpayers are being forced to foot more of the bill.
The only parent we found who didn't seem to mind paying more taxes was Dornisha Dots. She says at least taxpayers are getting something tangible for their money.
“If it’s something that will benefit us or benefit our youth and help them to be more educated and smart, then we gotta do what we gotta do. If they don't get it this way, they are going to get it another,” Dots said.