Lawmakers say MPS troubles costing their schools | Wisconsin

(The Center Square) – Lawmakers at the Wisconsin Capitol say Milwaukee Public School’s financial crisis will cost their schools as well.

Republican Rep. Jerry O’Connor, R-Fond du Lac, said MPS’ recently approved property tax increase will shift the way that state school aid dollars are spent.

“Under Wisconsin’s equalization aid formula, state tax dollars are distributed to school districts inversely based on property value per student, aiming to ‘equalize’ aid. This formula is expenditure-based, meaning that as Milwaukee increases its expenditures, it receives a larger share of state aid regardless of property tax ‘wealth,’” O’Connor said.

O’Connor said schools in Fond du Lac will lose $777,511 because of that shift. North Fond du Lac School District will lose $83,186, and the Oakfield School District will see a reduction of $45,982.

“Denying voters full access to information about a referendum undermines the democratic process and can lead to uninformed decisions that negatively impact our community and faith in government institutions. It’s essential that all voters have complete and transparent information to make educated choices. Had voters had access to the details of MPS’s financial mismanagement, the outcome of this close referendum may have been different,” O’Connor said. “In my many years in banking, such a withholding of information would be at best, negotiating in bad faith, and, at worst, grievous fraud against the State Legislature and taxpayers of Wisconsin.”

O’Connor is not the only Republican who says their schools will suffer because of MPS’ problems.

Rep. Barbara Dittrich, R-Oconomowoc, said her area schools stand to lose nearly $1 million because of MPS’ impact on the statewide funding formula.

“If ever there were a case for fixing Wisconsin’s convoluted funding formula, this is it. All students in the state must not be dragged down by the irresponsibility of adults who failed to file statutorily required reports and hide relevant information from voting taxpayers. If the educational bureaucracy wants to know why school choice is so popular in this state, they need only look in the mirror,” Dittrich added.

Dittrich said Arrowhead Schools will lose $175,282 because of MPS’ shift. She said Hartland-Lakeside Schools will lose $197,495, Herman-Neosho-Rubicon Schools will lose $56,721 and Oconomowoc Area Schools will lose $503,617.

“I stand with the area public schools I serve as well as the taxpayers and will not support any sort of a bailout for MPS. Neither will I support handing the district to local government that has not been able to prove itself any more fiscally prudent,” Dittrich said.

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