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August 21, 2007

Comments

Bryan Maersch

John

I am looking forward for part 2.

But please address, how easy hard it is to cut fat out of a budget. I think it is human nature to say," this is for the children" and then spend a couple of grand for a Big Screen Plasma TV for the High School film class.

I don't think anyone wants classes to be cut. If it means cutting a class and academic programs vs. funding extracurricular activities through another means. I choose keeping the classes and academic programs.

When West Allis was going through a similar dilemma and was going to cut intramural sports. There was a large public outcry and parents said “my kids won't go to school if you cut the sports" so instead they cut the remedial program for math and reading.

John Michlig

Bryan,

I'm all for cutting waste from budgets, but it's not all plasma screens, unfortunately - - and by that, I mean that it's very difficult to assess the myriad interactions of budget items from the outside.

By the way - I'm anti-Plasma screen in schools, but PRO-plasma screen in my rec room. Someday.

My daughter got a note from her summer "Camp Invention" program saying that the popular week-long activity will cost about three times as much next year (IF they do it; they probably won't due to cost) because the Franklin School District now feels that they have to charge them a VERY significant amount of money to use the facilities (to fill funding gaps).

So, there's one specific community amenity that'll likely fall by the wayside - and the facility Camp Invention normally uses will be vacant for that week, earning NOTHING.

Bryan Maersch

John

Thanks for your response. My son (soon to be a 5th grader) participated in a 4 day band camp as he will start playing the trumpet (they moved this from 4th to 5th grade as part of the budget crunch a couple of years ago). What did he pay for the 4 day camp ? $0
Do I like that? Sure, but I would have paid $10 or $25 or more to send him. Why, because I feel is worth it. That is why my Plasma Big screen TV is on hold for a few more years.

I know that "Camp Invention" is not free so. Why did you send your daughter? Because you felt it was worth it. Will it be worth 3 times the amount in the future? Only you and other parents can decide. Should I pay more taxes for them to keep it or keep the price down? I don't think so!

We need to have more or higher fee based extra-curricular programs, funded by the parents of the children who use them. If you want something besides your child’s formal education, that needs to come from your pocketbook.

For those parents who say "but I pay my taxes, I should get this included" I remind them that it costs $8,500 per student, just to educate them.

Reasonable housing is waning in Franklin. The Franklin house I bought back in 1989 for $65,000 and sold for $113,000 in 1999 is now selling for $140,000.

The people in the neighborhood were mostly elderly, that is why I moved out when I had children. As taxes rose, most of them have moved out.

Do we want a community of all young families and nursing homes?

Restraint in spending is all I am asking. If I can be reassured that everything has been done to cut the cush, I can support what ever the cost increases are needed.

With the record the School Board has with restraint and the building referendum. Can you see why people would question a 5.6% increase?

Lastly, you chide us with Summarized thus: "They want more money? My property tax is high enough!" It gets pretty raw at times, and suddenly everyone is a comptroller. After all, we're paying for that schoolin'.

Would you rather people just give up and not make the School Board responsible for their decisions? You want us to speak up about the sprawl to our alderman and city planners.

The FranklinNow bloggers are just trying to get people off of dead ass and at least voice their opinion to the School Board. Not just bitch and moan after the budget is rubber stamped.

John Michlig

Correction on Camp Invention: Cost per participant is likely to go up by a third, which I would indeed be glad to pay as my daughter enjoys the week. HOWEVER, there may be no Camp Invention available if they don't get a good response due to cost. That also means NO facilities income for FPS.

When I chide (not specifically you, of course) with the shorthand "They want more money? My property tax is high enough!", I'm not commenting on whether or not you SHOULD scrutinize the school budget. I mean that it presents a pretty appealing target in terms of available numbers and direct effect on a tax bill you see spelled out once a year. The city budget and the school district budget are easily obtainable, and us regular folk can get out the calculator. (This precludes knowledge of state and federal funding/defunding impacts, of course).

This is in contrast to the LACK of attention given to other things that cost us money that are not so available to dissect and not so basic in terms of concrete specific cost.

For instance, you know exactly what your property tax bill is. But you do NOT know how much GREATER that bill is as a result of unpaid local corporate taxes and/or tax abatements granted for certain businesses.

What if there was a line item on your property tax bill that said: "Wal-Mart abatement fund, +$78"?

Bryan Maersch

And let's not forget people who just stop paying their property taxes. The State of Wisconsin has one of the toughest forclosure laws, that alows many to stay in their houses for a long time without pay their property taxes.

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