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Stimulus school spending won't stop property tax hikes

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The federal stimulus package will provide a big boost to Wisconsin's public schools but not enough to keep your property taxes from going up.

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John Ashley of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards says costs keep rising for employee health insurance, busing and everything else.

Ashley expects tax bills to keep marching up in December even with the extra $398 million in stimulus aid for Wisconsin schools.

The U.S. Education Department has told districts how much to expect for helping disadvantaged kids under programs like Title I. But school officials are not sure yet how the rest will be distributed.

Erica Pickett of Stoughton School District wants to know what kinds of strings will be attached.

Gov. Jim Doyle says most of the stimulus money won't be subject to the state's normal revenue limits. But he advises schools to keep their total spending under the revenue caps anyway.

If they don't, Doyle says they could face major budget shortfalls when the federal money runs dry and they could get homeowners angry if they raise taxes too much to make up the difference.

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