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State lawmaker wants to allow schools to exceed taxing limits to improve safety

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A Wisconsin senator wants to let public schools exceed their state-mandated taxing limits to improve their safety.

But the head of the Assembly says he won’t go along with the idea.

Democrats agreed in 2009 to let schools exceed their revenue limits by a total of $86 million to pay for safety measures. But Republican Governor Scott Walker dropped the exemption in the current state budget.

Senate Democrat John Lehman of Racine wants to bring it back in the wake of the Connecticut school massacre. Senate Education Committee chairman Luther Olson, a Republican from Ripon, said he would consider bringing the revenue exemption back. He said people are interested in making their own schools safer, in the wake of what happened in Newtown.

However, Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says schools already have enough money to improve their safety without sacrificing the quality of their education – and he says the tax increases caused by the cap exemptions are not necessary.

Dan Rossmiller of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards said he was not aware of any schools scrapping plans to add safety measures after the revenue exemption was cut out. He said the group would discuss the matter when it meets later this month.

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