Today’s Wisconsin State Journal has a useful opinion piece on MMSD’s budget process & governance. This editorial is timely, given the current discussions regarding the district’s $310M+ budget:
The Madison School Board is in the midst of tackling the district’s budget woes, which include a $10 million shortfall between what the district can spend and what it wants to spend.
Board members can whine all they please that the “current way (the state) funds schools is broken,” but here’s the bottom line: The state school funding formula is not going to change this spring. If they want to fix something broken closer to home, they should start with their own flawed budgeting instead.
How bad is the district’s budgeting? Well, for starters, the board began debating cuts to the budget March 11, according to Barbara Schrank, a parent who was active in protesting last year’s proposed budget cuts, but they didn’t see the actual budget until three weeks later, on March 31. A month later, board members were told they couldn’t compare this year’s “same service” budget to next year’s “same service” budget because of computer software problems. And the board isn’t expected to finalize the budget until June, although layoff notices must be turned in by May 22