Thursday, December 4, 2014

Transportation matters, but it won't affect foundation

I'm always pleased to see the T&G give space to covering something as important as the WPS budget, so good reading today on the coverage of yesterday's Research Bureau/WEC event. It's also nice to see Mr. Sinacola's kind words (?) on the budget, 'though taking credit "even a small role" for our managing the fiscal cliff from stimulus aid is a bit rich.
I do have question the efficacy of something raised by City Manager Augustus, Mayor Petty, and Mr. Sinacola, however: counting transportation towards foundation. The issue, as presented, is that transportation, which this year will cost WPS $14 million a year, does not count towards the foundation budget. Thus, from a particular perspective, the city spends $14 million that "doesn't count" when the state calculations how much we spend on schools, and, the argument goes, that isn't fair.
The thing is, though, that transportation doesn't count towards ANYONE's foundation. If the state suddenly started counting transportation towards foundation, all that does is raise EVERYONE's requirement towards foundation. Thus, if transportation were to count towards foundation, and get folded in, the requirements on funding would just expand to add that account.
What it wouldn't do is make any difference in any of the other accounts...and thus it wouldn't make any difference in where we are on funding. The level would be higher, but we'd be in the same place.
We'd still be underfunded.

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