Overwhelming support was shown Tuesday night for the proposed property tax increase in Madison to build new Madison City Schools.
The Madison City Council took the first steps to getting it on the ballot. Around a dozen people spoke at the public hearing and they were all in support of the tax. Some even thought it should be more.
The city council approved a resolution for it and now it will all be taken to the legislature.
Parents at the public hearing call the Madison City School system the “jewel of the city.” They see too many people choosing to move and get their kids into it as a good problem to have… But it’s still a problem.
“My fourth grade student has 27 kids in her class and I don’t think that is good for the students, I don’t think that is good for the staff,” said Toni Apsi, a PTA president. “Because they can’t teach to their fullest potential if they can’t reach and have one-on-one time with every student.”
“We have got so much from this community and want to give back and if we have to pay a 12 mil tax, so be it,” said Krishna Srikakolabu, a parent of graduates. “I think it’s the price of progress.”
To break it down, school officials say for the average home in Madison, the tax would add about $250 per year onto your property taxes. That would be used to build a new elementary school and middle school.
Several people said they don’t believe the tax proposal is enough to keep high schools from overcrowding.
“The proposal that’s been put forth is one that everybody believes will be palatable to the public, not one that will fix the problem. So it doesn’t include the requirement for a new high school,” said Michael Sheehy, a parent. “We’ve got to find a solution to this. We can’t close our eyes and go to sleep and pretend that the problem won’t be there tomorrow because it’ll be worse tomorrow.”
City officials say they’ll cross that bridge when they come to it. While some residents still may not support the proposal, the parents at the public hearing argue they’re willing to invest in education.
School officials say close to 500 students joined the district this year. City and School officials wanted the public hearing to happen as soon as possible so they can get a draft of the tax proposal to the legislature right when they start session.
See answers to FAQ’s on the schools’ website here.