Other than the excellent and inspiring Instructional Resource Teacher (IRT) presentation, Monday’s Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education Meeting was depressing and disturbing in many ways (video here, preview here). Much of this is due to the long and short term financial picture, both state and local — insert obligatory Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools and Penny for Kids links along with discretionary School Finance Network link — some has to do with confusion about Budget information and processes. No time to say more.
One good thing from the meeting is that although no vote was taken, it is clear that the IRTs will not be cut this year.
Another ting that came out of the meeting was a next step for the Budget process. By Friday of this week, Board members will be submitting lists of the remaining Budget Options marked, yes, no and maybe. I assume that the unanimous “nos” will be removed from consideration at the April 12 meeting and hope that those with a strong majority will be too. If you want to weigh in before the lists are finalized, write the Board at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope these are posted for public perusal in a timely manner (so that the public can contact the Board prior to any decisions).
It was also Johnny Winston Jr,’s last real meeting. Thanks for the service Johnny.
The Budget Book has been posted, but from the discussion Monday and my own quick skims, there are some problems. The biggest, but not only problem is that it doesn’t reflect significant changes that have already been decided, the Reorganization (PART 1, PART 2, PART 3)
being the most significant. I’ve been told that some sort of fix to this and other issues is in the works.
On Monday, there were references to pending Questions and Answers on the budget, but the Q&A page was last updated on March 28.
Join the Stand Up for Madison Schools Facebook group to show support and keep up to date on the budget issues.
In other news, Jame Howard was victorious and will be joining the Board. Congratulations and best of luck James (too late to turn back now). I also want to thank Tom Farley for running and his desire to make a contribution to the community.
On Tuesday there were 48 school referenda on the ballot in Wisconsin, 24 passed. All 6 recurring operational measures failed; non-recurring operational votes split 10 to 10, and 14 of 22 debt measures passed. This is no way to fund educational investments. For the full results, see here.
That’s it for now (may update at some point).
Thomas J. Mertz