Milwaukee Board of School Directors votes to move forward with referendum

January 2, 2020

The Milwaukee Board of School Directors unanimously passed a resolution to seek a referendum that will increase revenue limits for Milwaukee Public Schools. Voting took place at the regular board meeting on December 19, 2019. The referendum question will appear on the spring ballot scheduled for April 7, 2020.

Board members passed a resolution to ask voters for a four-year phase-in revenue limit increase for a total of $87 million. A recent poll showed 60 percent of the respondents supported a referendum request for $107 million; however, the Milwaukee Board of School Directors took a position of maximizing benefits for students while minimizing the financial impact on taxpayers.

If passed, the additional funding will help MPS attract and retain high-quality, certified teachers; offer more career and technical education programs; and expand art, music, physical education, and language programs.

The estimated calculated tax impact for homeowners is $160 per $100,000 of assessed property value.

MPS believes its students deserve a top-notch education, and the additional revenue will help the district eliminate the disparities in education opportunities and outcomes.

Currently, the district has been operating on a relatively flat state-imposed revenue limit that restricts the district’s ability to meet the needs of its students. The increase in revenue limit through passage of the referendum will put MPS more in line with per-pupil expenditures of neighboring school districts.

This will be the first time in 25 years that MPS will go to referendum. Within the past two decades, many other districts in the area and the state have sought and received revenue limit increases through the passage of a referendum.

The MPS referendum question will appear as part of the spring ballot on April 7, 2020.