Waukesha School District Proposes Massive Tax Increase


WAUKESHA, WI — Citing the need to cover the costs of a 2018 schools referendum, Waukesha School District officials rolled out a preliminary budget for the 2019-20 school year that carves out a roughly 11 percent property tax levy increase.

According to district officials, the proposed 2019-20 budget includes a tax levy increase of 11.35 percent. The tax rate per $1,000 of property value would be $8.51 compared to $7.80 in last year’s budget cycle. The increase amounts to about $142 for the owner of a $200,000 property.

I would note that the Waukesha School District, in a trend being repeated all over Wisconsin, has declining enrollment. According to DPI, they have 415 fewer kids than they did five years ago. That;s a decline of 3%. Yet they still want more and more money.

We have a major spending problem in our school districts. I think everyone understands that school districts can’t necessarily cut spending when enrollment declines slightly in a year. But when that decline is sustained over several years and the district is educating hundreds of fewer kids, shouldn’t spending go down at some point? And if spending declines in a district where the aggregate property values are steady or increasing, a decline in spending should result in a tax decrease.

And yet that never seems to happen. What is the breaking point? Will it take a 10% decline in enrollment before the school board starts to scale back spending to be in line with their responsibility? 15%? 25%? When can the taxpayers reasonably expect school boards to cut spending when enrollment is declining?

7 Responses to Waukesha School District Proposes Massive Tax Increase

  1. Kevin Scheunemann says:

    School district that pass these monstrous referendums, should be cut off from all state aide.


  2. Le Roi du Nord says:

    I’m sure you have the paperwork all ready to change the WI Constitution and state law.  Right?

  3. jjf says:

    Or maybe your metric of per-kid isn’t as useful as you think it is.

  4. steveegg says:

    The 935th of Never, or if Evers (WEAC-WEAC) sticks around past 2022, the 435,236th of Never.

  5. dad29 says:

    Marquette U has cut staff, according to a news story of last week.  Waaaayyy down in the article was the startling stat:  college-age cohort will diminish by TWENTY FIVE PERCENT in the next decade or so.

    That’s now hitting the grade- and high-schools in Wisconsin.  Tosa, Waukesha, and Oconomowoc (and there are others) are effectively swindling their own residents…….but those will be VERY nice empty buildings, no?

  6. Merlin says:

    Public education can follow the model used by a good many public works operations. One guy working and three more standing around observing. Taxpayers don’t seem to have had much of a problem accepting that model.

  7. steveegg says:

    Merlin, you just described MPS.

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