On August 30, the Long Range Planning Committee of the Madison School Board met with its advisory members for the first time. Advisory members in attendance were Dawn Crim, Joan Eggert, Jill Jokela, Lucy Mathiak, Pat Mooney, and Jan Sternbach. Teresa Tellez-Giron (nominated by Board member Juan Lopez) withdrew before our initial meeting. LRP Committee members Carol Carstensen and Johnny Winston Jr. were present as were several other Board members.
The advisory members introduced themselves and asked questions about their role and the work of the committee. Unfortunately, the MMSD staff had not been able to get written materials to all of the citizen members. Lack of common materials limited our discussion.
We briefly discussed the role of the citizen advisors. In June the Board of Education unanimously approved a two-part strategy for seeking advice from the public. The motion read, in part:
The Long Range Planning Committee recognizes the importance of public participation in its review of demographic issues, long range facility planning, strategic planning and referendum issues. Therefore, the committee will seek advice and comment at public hearings at appropriate times during 2004-2005.
In addition, the Board will select up to nine members of the public to serve on an ad hoc advisory committee for the year. The members of the advisory committee shall not have voting rights on LRP, but will be asked for their input and recommendations at all meetings of LRP. Their terms will run from appointment until reappointment of the LRP Committee in 2005.
On September 13, the LRP will review a report from Doug Pearson, Director of Building Services, regarding maintenance projects that will not be completed before the 5-year maintenance referendum ends at the finish of the 2004-05 school year. Pearson will also report on projected maintenance needs over the next five years. According to a recent story in the Wisconsin State Journal, the administration will identify $37M in maintenance needs. Following LRP’s commitment to hold an informational meeting on the second Monday of each month and a decisional meeting on the fourth Monday of the month, the September 13 meeting will be for information and questions only. The Committee will not take action on the report.
In preparation for the meeting, I am working with Mary Gulbrandsen, administrative staff for the committee, to provide all information regarding the LRP through the MMSD web site, so that access is easy for the advisory members, parents and other interested community members. I hope that the web site will soon offer our minutes and all materials presented for the committee’s review.
After we consider maintenance issues, we will move on to issues related to the need additions to buildings, new buildings or boundary changes that would relieve overcrowding in some of our schools. During these discussions, I will ask the committee to schedule some public hearings.
In the meantime, President Bill Keys and I will soon recommend Jeff Leverich as a replacement for Teresa Tellez-Giron. Jeff was a strong supporter of the June 2003 referendum and is a nominee of Carol Carstensen.