This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Franklin Public Schools to taxpayers: "STICK 'EM UP!"

This is nowhere near a news flash but the same clueless Franklin Public Schools administration that may ask in referendum this November for a $48 million tax increase is proposing, for now, a 3.5% school property tax levy increase in the next budget.

Are they crazy? Brain dead? Are they not paying attention? Do they in their complete arrogance not care?

FPS Superintendent Steve Patz issued the draft budget proposal with a host of standard, obligatory statements in defense (spin) thinking the general public is too stupid and will fall for his tax and spend excuses.

I offer you some quotes from Patz in his 50-page draft budget document followed by my reaction.

“We are very conscious of the local economy and give it every consideration when planning our budget.”

No they are not and no they don’t.

“The Balance between taxpayer concerns and educational responsibilities is difficult to strike and the school district will always be fiscally prudent as it plans its budget.”

Past history proves otherwise.

"As our student population grows facility needs will need to be at the forefront of our planning in terms of building capacity. We have received significant community input and direction on this topic and feel confident our future needs can be addressed in an efficient manner.”

Translation: Franklin voters, please vote YES to a huge self-inflicted tax increase in November’s referendum.

”Not unlike previous years the district has planned the 2012-13 budget with an emphasis on being fiscally responsible, addressing the needs of our students and staff, and attending to operational issues that if left unattended could magnify the fiscal impact on their being brought up to standards in a significant way. Accountability to manage the budget has been and will continue to be strength of our school district. Community confidence needs to be earned and over the years we have provided that justification to the Franklin community by assessing our needs and addressing them in the most efficient way possible.”

Absolutely laughable.

“The District will continue to use a conservative approach to budgeting.”

Even more laughable.

There are the usual excuses, primarily that the usual pots of incoming money are either less or gone.  Yet somehow Business manager Jim Milzer has come up with a draft that includes an increase in spending during tough economic times of over $1.1. million dollars and a 3.5% property tax levy increase. Magician Milzer pulls the 3.5% figure out of his hat even though certain factors remain a mystery:

1. The assessed valuation has not yet been determined by the City.

2. The number of students for 2012-13 is unknown.

3. The amount of State aid has not been determined by the State.

Milzer, by the way, is an unethical hold-up artist I exposed on my blog in 2007. He’s still around, sticking it to taxpayers.

I urge you to read the draft budget report and see through all the spin.  It’s preliminary, of course. However, now is the time to speak out. The 3.5% increase is unacceptable, especially now and especially when a block buster referendum is being jammed down our throats.

The budget is in its early stages. They're pulling this crap hoping at the end of the school year and the advent of summer that no one is paying attention. Hopefully there’s time to dramatically revise.

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