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, you're being set up for a big school tax increase

The headline on FranklinNOW almost sounds looming

School budget cuts are unavoidable

Ooooooooooooohh.. How awful.

Julie Becker goes on to report that, “the Franklin School Board is considering about $833,000 in possible cuts, including more than $530,000 in personnel-related costs.”

Trust me, here is what’s going on inside the minds of those purportedly having to make these cuts:

1) They regard slashing the budget as being gut-wrenching and oh-so difficult.

2) If and when the cuts are made, they will high five each other, congratulating themselves for doing such a great job in the face of adversity.


If Julie Becker’s report is true, that the goal is to cut $833,000, I and many others might be tempted to say, “So what!”

The total school budget levy for this school for the Franklin School District was $
29,464,517. A cut of $833,000 amounts to a cut of 2.8 percent.

2.8 percent.


2.8 percent.

I will leave it to the hard-working private sector taxpayers who pay the bills to determine if a 2.8% cut in the school budget is anything to agonize over. From my perspective, I’m not impressed.

Franklin, the deck chairs on the Titanic are all arranged pointing to a huge school property tax increase later this year. Follow along, please, and connect the dots. While doing so, please don’t forget that at the state level of government, Democrats control everything, I mean, everything.

The state is going to cut aid to local municipalities, including local school districts. Franklin might be considered a more affluent district, thus, it could lose more than other school districts.

The Qualified Economic Offer (QEO) will be eliminated in the state budget that Jim (WEAC pulls the strings) Doyle can’t wait to sign. That means much higher teacher salary and benefit packages. That means higher property taxes. School boards will fold up like Myron Floren on Saturday night TV in the 60’s.

In Franklin, it will play out like this. Word will get to Franklin School District Business Manager and Highway Robber Jim Milzer that the big, bad, nasty state isn’t going to fork over a ton of money. It doesn’t matter that the state is broke from taxing and spending like nuts, they will still be viewed as the bad guys.

Milzer will run into Superintendent Steve Patz’s office and play Chicken Little. Patz will ask Milzer, “Are you sure?” Milzer, fighting back tears, will nod affirmatively without a word.

Patz in authoritative, leadership type fashion will then ask, “Well, what do we do now?”

Using his fuzzy math, Milzer will counsel Patz that the one-page, one-sentence Franklin School District manual suggests that in cases like this, the ONLY solution is to raise taxes. (
The most egregious kick in the teeth to taxpayers came at budget time in 2007 when Franklin School Board members swore they approved a property tax levy increase of just under 6 percent at the advice of Milzer. It was actually, taxpayers be damned, just under 13%. They didn’t tell you that. I did in on my blog. Taxpayers never got so much as an, “I’m sorry.”)

“Thank you, Jim,” Patz will say. ”Take a salary and benefits hike out of petty cash. I better get (School Board President) Dave Szychlinski on the phone.”


“Hello, this is Dave Szychlinski…”

“Dave, this is Dr. Patz calling. Are you aware the state may not give us everything we want this year? I’m afraid the board is going to have to take proper action.”

Then Dave will talk to his minions on the board and later this year, he and others will stand up and say they hate to do it (yeh, right) but they have no choice but to raise school taxes because, it’s for the children (Can’t forget that line).

It’s interesting to note that no one is talking about this publicly. No one. Not even the two new school board members, one of whom has TWO blogs and is always squawking about better communications. All of the school district intelligentsia figure you’re just too dumb or just not engaged to care right now.

I’d love to hear from school board members and/or the school district administration about their budget intentions this year without the same old crying towel excuses. I am a taxpayer who understands the local and state budget situations. I cannot be snowed.

Unless I can really, really, really, really, really be convinced otherwise, I smell a big school property tax increase coming later this fall.

Franklin, it’s June 11th. You’ve been warned.

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