Are Students More Equal than Others?

Susan Lampert Smith: “West High kids may have more opportunities because their parents are able to pay so they can play”. Evidently, the issue is $6,000 in the Madison School District’s $320M+ budget.
Meanwhile, Sandy Cullen discusses an attempt to move extramural sports to MSCR (part of Fund 80) as a response to the elimination earlier this year of freshman no cut sports. Madison Superintendent Art Rainwater mentioned:

“Our problem is facilities,” Rainwater said, adding that after-school activities, practices and games, as well as community programs, are already using the space needed for an extramural program. “If we don’t have facilities, we can’t do it.”

I hope and assume that programs for our school age children always come first in these discussions.

6 thoughts on “Are Students More Equal than Others?”

  1. This is just another attempt by parents to “spin” the referenda failure as the fault of the citizenry. I don’t know many taxpayers who have kids in the MMSD who voted against the referenda. However, certain taxpayers feel that they can pull an “end run” to mitigate the effects of the failed referenda. Folks always ask what IS the difference between East High and West High? The difference is that the West community can obviously afford to pay out of their own pocket for “extras” while the East community cannot. Maybe the Board should allow the West families to underwrite ALL high school freshman no-cut athletics:)And while they’re at it, we could sure use some more psychologists, counselors and social workers at our East side schools as well!

  2. The issue as Cullen states is NOT the $6,000 West parents are offering to raise themselves.
    The issue I believe is:
    (#1) $40,000 for the JV and freshman sports reduction that was part of the $1.2M that was going to be cut even if the $7.4 referenda would have passed.
    (#2) The lack of facilities because the MSCR extramural community offerings are already using them.
    Other considerations:
    If one school can raise this money, can, in all competitive fairness all the other MMSD schools?
    Would the monies raised be provided to the district as a ‘gift’ to be used without bias toward one child or another?
    Will the West JV teams, even with the fundraising efforts of their parents, have facilities & opponents to play?
    Will ALL students have equal opportunity to play and participate in athletics?
    Will fundraising efforts of parents be the means by which sports are offered in public school?
    Will children from ALL backgrounds, be equally recruited by higher educational institutions for their athleticism?
    Will some have the mis-fortune of not being provided the same opportunities as others?
    These are questions our Madison citizens need to answer and provide to our school board. Use the following email to send them your concerns:

  3. Point of information: The facilities problem is, ironically, that MSCR adult leagues and other programs have first choice on facilities. WIAA sports must schedule their practices around MSCR programs. That is why swimmers practice at odd hours so as not to displace MSCR’s acquatics program.
    Sorta ass backward, if you think about it – even the districts skimpy rules seem to say that curricular programs and programs serving students should take priority. But then again, the average per/athlete fee is substantially lower for MSCR programs (which are subsidized heavily through Fund 80) than it is for student athletes and their families, who pay the fees and raise the money to buy equipment for the schools (everything from uniforms to line ropes for swimming pools, basketball nets and soccer goals).
    Guess how much MSCR puts in for equipment?? [hint – anything over 0 would be too high. And good luck getting them to buy new equipment to replace or repair equipment damaged in sports leagues…]
    Not that I’m steamed or anything.

  4. Yea, but the facilities Art is refering to are the facilities built and provided to the schools by the tax payers, for the schools,and for the children that attend the schools. What does he mean “Our problem is facilities”. I spend way too many afternoons at the back of Jefferson and Memorial and there is a TON of room and facilities. After spending years in communities where the schools were on top of a parking lot and that was it……….this town cracks me up. The previous no-cut freshman I assume practiced and played somewhere didn’t they? Did the facilities disappear? Most of the coaches at the jr. high and high school level for these non-varsity events are volunteers and the kids cover the transportation and uniform cost in many of these situation. I could, and even my 12 year old, could figure a way to make this work but the powers to be, make this so darn difficult.
    I know this community hates corporate sponsorship but I have to say NIKE has the best saying in the world. JUST DO IT!!!!!
    It can’t be that hard. There are plenty of willing parents and kids. Let’s just do it.

  5. I don’t have a problem with a group of parents forming a DISTRICT-WIDE group to financially support soccer or hockey or strings or other special-interest programs. I do think that money they raise should be evenly distributed to every high school in town for no-cut or JV soccer; if they have a nice name and only support West or Memorial (or only East or LaFollette), then I have a problem with that because the “playing field” becomes inequitable.
    Mari Sue brings up an interesting parallel with the new Crestwood playground, and how the Board “accepts” the gift to the MMSD from the PTO. It’s interesting because it is a great example of the disparities between differing schools and parts of the city. At Gompers Elementary on the northside, parents spent 3 years raising monies for a new playground. They got a whopping $12,000, enough to buy a minimal amount of new equipment. At the same time, Crestwood and Muir PTOs raised over $30,000 EACH from their community. Why the discrepancy bewteen what the Gompers PTO and the other two were able to raise? The answer lies in the parents and community of each school, and it’s intangibles like these that make it important that when and if we go to parent fundraising as a major source of funding for extra programs, said funds raised get divided up district-wide and not school-specific.
    It will inded be interesting to see the route the Board takes on issues like this.

  6. David,
    The parallel being drawn in supporting fairness among all district schools, is interesting. This is a good discussion.
    For more information on the Crestwood fundraising two things that many district parents do not know:
    1. Crestwood has been raising this money $30K for more than 10 years…
    2. The creativity of the parents for raising money was very different in ’04-’05 compared to years past…
    3. A parental involvement in finding the best price for equipment and DRS (asphalt) allowed the best usage for our funds.
    4. We will continue our fundraising efforts to complete the playground plans & add equipment for the next 4 years.
    I would hate to see parental involvement become negative and frustrating. I also agree there is a difference in funding sports privately vs. public education.
    Another *devils advocate* idea would include the “fairness” in allowing only 1 team / sport within each district school. For example, is it “fair” that West/Memorial students should suffer if, let’s say East or LaFollette have 30 varisty volleyball players while West / Memorial have 70?
    That’s what I see is happening (although I don’t know the soccer numbers for East, LaFollette or Memorial) West has more students and the parents are willing to make up the difference…
    Is it fair? This is yet another aspect we need to help our school board answer.

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