Thursday, February 28, 2013

"Tools" can't fill school budget holes in Brookfield

I was going to comment on this, but I see Capper beat me to it in his blog. Numerous Wisconsin school districts are already reporting huge budget deficits for next year, now that Gov. Walker's budget refuses to raise the revenue caps put in place in 2011. I'll let you read Capper's post for the big details, but I want to add a few words on one of those deficit-ridden district in particular.

The $2.3 million deficit in Elmbrook Schools always has relevance to me, as a Brookfield Elementary alum (class of '86 BIYATCH!). Those pro-Walker communities in Waukesha County gladly imposed Act 10 on their schools as soon as they could, cut its school property tax levy by $5.9 million that year and claimed that it received $5.3 million in savings from the measure by using Act 10 to dump those costs onto its teachers. And at the time I said those folks in Brookfield and Elm Grove were slitting their own throats with these short-sighted moves, and sure enough, there was a major run on retirements in Elmbrook after the 2010-2011 school year.

Fast-forward two years, and the damage is even worse than I feared. One Elmbrook elementary school closed before the start of this year, and parents were angered when they found out their children were in classes of 30 or more. Hope you suburban Baggers enjoyed that 1-year break on your taxes, because now you're out of tools from Act 10 to use, and your boy Scotty used your simple-mindedness at the voting booth to throw money money at voucher schools instead of the public schools your kids are attending.

Oh, and don't think of leaving either. Your home value is probably tanking if you live in a community like Brookfield or Elm Grove. In fact, the stupidly-red WOW Counties around Milwaukee were standouts in Wisconsin for home sales prices in the most recent Wisconsin Realtors home sales report, and not in a good way.

Year-over-year median sales price change, January 2012-January 2013
Statewide change +3.4%
Waukesha County -6.9%
Washington County -10.8%
Ozaukee County -11.2%

When you think about it, this shouldn't surprise you. Let's face it, other than some nice shops in Port Washington, many people wouldn't choose to live in any of these three counties except for 2 reasons:

1. To live in a community with like-minded, fearful white people.
2. High-quality public schools that your kids can attend, which also stabilizes home values.

Now, smart young families don't have Number 2 as a reason to go to these places, given that Walker wants to destroy this state's previously-strong schools. And they really don't want to hang around people that decided on Reason 1, so I hope you empty-nesters enjoy trying to sell your oversized home over the next few years, because I got a feeling the young families you need to replace your aging selves with are heading somewhere else.

But hey, you guys wanted to bash public school teachers and save $18 on your property tax bill for one year. I have no sympathy for you either, because you did it to yourself

In Brookfield, Glendale, Sheboygan, and several other places all over Wisconsin, the increases in property taxes and fees are coming now and for the next few years, along with school cuts that will deteriorate communities all over the state, encourgaing more people to leave. Expect this ugly cycle to continue for as long as the Age of Fitzwalkerstan is allowed to fester, and as long as pro-Walker suburbs like Brookfield refuse to invest in the one advantage their town had- quality public schools.

1 comment:

  1. Let's take this to its logical conclusion and look at the total equalized values in each of these counties (

    Ozaukee: $10,345,569,700
    Washington: $12,990,905,200
    Waukesha: $47,739,764,800

    So taking the difference in their median house price changes and the State's as a whole, they have lost the following amount of value compared to where they could have been:

    Ozaukee: $1.5 billion (that's right, with a 'b')
    Washington: $1.8 billion
    Waukesha: $4.9 billion

    So just these three hotbeds of Walker support have lost at least $8.2 billion in wealth because of it. That's $13,500 of wealth lost by each and every man, woman and child in those three counties.