On the Agenda, MMSD the week of October 25, 2010

Note: For awhile, I’m going to be illustrating the “On the Agenda” posts with various graphs documenting achievement gaps in MMSD as revealed by the admittedly flawed and limited WSAS/WKCE results. I think regular reminders may do some good.

A busy week for the Madison Metropolitan School District, with the biggest item being the finalization of the 2010-11 budget and tax levy.  This is somewhat anti-climactic,  with most of the action coming in the Spring and only relatively minor changes now on the table.

The budget will be voted on at the 5:00 PM Monday meeting (Doyle auditorium).  I’ll be at work at that time, but there will be public appearances and it would be good to give one more reminder that people in Madison support public education and are willing to support it via increased property tax levies when the state doesn’t do its part.   Speak now or forever hold your peace.  More on the changes below.

This will be followed at 7:00 PM by the regular Board of Education meeting.

On Tuesday at Noon in Doyle rm 103, the Ad Hoc Hiring and Diversity Committee meets.  Other MMSD meetings for the week are: MMSD Wellness Committee (Tuesday, 3:00 PM, Doyle rm 103);  Common Council/Board of Education Liaison Committee (Tuesday, 5:30 PM, Doyle rm 103);  and the Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR) Advisory Committee (Tuesday, 6:30 PM, MSCR/Hoyt building,  rm 21).  Agendas for all of the above are here.

The short version of the budget story is that MMSD will levy about $10 million less then they allowed for educational programs, at best limiting the improvements to education in Madison; at worst harming the educational opportunities of our children (there is also about $2 million in Fund 80 “underlevy).  The slightly longer version is that the Board — like Boards around the state — caught between a state budget that cut educational investments and property taxpayers who are struggling  sought a happy medium between cuts and tax levies (helped by some real savings due to efficiencies), nobody ended up happy.  The way to start changing this story and get to a happier ending is Penny for Kids.

There are many documents linked off the agenda for the budget meeting ( and more here from the report of the October 11 Operational Support Committee).  The two most enlightening are the Recommended Motions and the Budget Amendments and Tax Levy Adoption.  The first refers to the second.  Here is what it says:

Many of these changes are related to (slightly) higher than (and still inadequate) state aid.   This also resulted in some recommendations for “add backs” from the administration.  An interesting list (and note half is designated for tax relief):

Item #2 is further described as including (among other things)  “resources to address possible high school curriculum revisions.

Other documents directly related to the budget being voted on include an Update (overview),  Salary Savings (and open enrollment offset), Budget Profile by Department, and a Technology Breakdown.

There is also an update on ARRA funds, that if I read it correctly says that 59.92% of this money (over $7 million) has not been allocated to any project!  The clock is ticking…I’m not sure why this money is not being used.  More on ARRA things in the Operations Support Committee Report.

There is also a document with options for 4K funding in 2011-12 and the following years. As expected these include EduJobs money and Fund Equity.

That’s about it for the budget.  I’m only going to highlight a limited number of things from the regular meeting that follows.

Some info on Leadership, Teacher, Parent and Staff Councils (no membership lists).  I don’t know about the rest, but with one parent from every school (selected by the Principal, so you’ll be sure to get those with  “issues”) the Parent Council is so large that it is unwieldy.

There is an update on 4K sites.

Some updates on Key Student Performance Measures (here and here).

Nothing of note on the La Follette Attendance Area Planning (there may be an oral report that tells more).

There are some items from the Ad Hoc 5 Year Budget Committee, including recommended parameters from the Administration.

On the consent agenda is a donation of $28,510 from the Reading Recovery Council of North America to support tuition, texts and travel for teacher training.

Just a once over lightly this week.  Maybe some follow ups later.

Thomas J. Mertz

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Filed under "education finance", Best Practices, Budget, education, finance, Local News, Pennies for Kids, School Finance, Take Action, Uncategorized

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