Footing the Bill

By: Justin Ware
By: Justin Ware

$21.6 million of state revenue that would be headed schools all around Wisconsin, instead will be going to charter schools in Milwaukee and Racine, and it appears there's little that anyone can do to stop it from happening.

Millions of dollars in state education funding that was slotted for north-central Wisconsin schools is on its way to charter schools in the southeast corner of the state.

School officials say it appears the only way to offset that loss is by increasing property taxes through referendums, and those involved say it's just not fair.

"It's kind of stealing from one group to give to the other," said Kristine Gilmore, DC Everest superintendent.

The other option is cutting teaching positions or programs, something area lawmakers say is a decision schools here should not have to make.

"That's the dilemma they're in right now and I think we need to stop that bleeding. If Milwaukee and Racine want to have special schools they ought to pay for them out of their own school budgets like we do up here," said Sen. Russ Decker, (D) Weston.

Lawmakers say with the state's largest population center being in Milwaukee and Racine, there may be little that school officials and legislators can do, to keep their money at home.

School officials say in order to offset the money that is being diverted to Milwaukee and Racine property taxes in Wausau would go up about $10 per year on a $100,000 home.