East & West Task Forces Meet Next Week?

A person who was apparently appointed to one of the task forces to study attenance and facilities on the east and west sides says that the task forces have been scheduled to meet next week.
The MMSD has released no information about the task forces.
Does anyone know what’s going on?

11 thoughts on “East & West Task Forces Meet Next Week?”

  1. I saw the memo that went from the district to the principals. The deadline for nominations was today, and if other schools were as busy as ours, I would be very surprised if all of the nominations are in. (When I volunteered during registration week, schools were still hiring staff and gearing up for the school year…)
    I do know that the board has made its picks and has notified people who were not selected, so perhaps the task forces are filled even if the schools/parents haven’t had input?
    Also, I haven’t heard anything as one of the main contact people for East High United, and as I understand it, heads of “PTOs” are to be sent materials.
    Finally, I just checked the board calendar and there isn’t anything posted there. Will try to find out more from the East High rep and/or Barb Lehman tomorrow (Thursday).

  2. Lucy,
    I believe that my name was submitted for the eastside task force, and no one from the board or administration contacted me to say I had or hadn’t been selected.
    I asked Carol Carstensen for a copy of the memo that went to principals so that I could spread the word by posting it on the blog. Carol did not respond (or even acknowledge) my request.

  3. hmmm…both schools that my kids attend have sent in their nominations. Like Lucy, I was excluded as a PTO president, though I guess technically I could serve from Gompers as I’m no longer PTO president there. I do know at least 4 folks on the committee. I know Loren Rathert is the facilitator, and I know there are 2 West side principals on the committee as well. The memos went to Principals, not PTO presidents, but were addressed to both and included 3 pages of details regarding the charge (as passed by LRPC) and other salient details….so I don’t think this a secretive process. And PTO presidents are invited to meetings, we just cannot vote, only help them to avoid reinventing the wheel…oh, I almost forgot..apparently the East area task force MUST present the LRPC with an option that includes closing a school. Not that LRPC would ever recommend such an option to the Board (cough cough hack wheeze!). Stay tuned for tons of irony between next Thursday and December 15th when the final recommendations are in;)

  4. The original board-approved charge to the East Attendance Area task force reads says that the task force recommendations “MAY include but are not limited to
    – revising school boundaries
    – closings
    – restructuring programs
    – pairings
    – use of buildings for a range of district or non-district purposes, including shared use.”
    How did MAY become MUST? Was the task force ordered to recommend a closing? If so, by whom? Is the order in writing so that it can be posted on the blog?
    Has the West-Memorial task force received any orders on what it must recommend?

  5. I am assigned to the West/Memorial task force for Crestwood. I recieved an email saying the meeting that was scheduled to start next week, will now be on the September 20 as not all the task persons were in place as planned.
    Charges for this group as given to me per the memo include but are not limited to:
    1. Revise school boundaries
    2. Revisit opening Hoyt
    3. Building new schools
    4. Buliting addition to existing schools
    5. Restructuring programs
    6. Pairings
    The committe is to recommentd to the BOE up to 3 options regarding the use of district owned facilities in the West/Memorial area.
    Recommendations are to be given to the BOE
    on Jan. 16.
    Specific issues to be addressed:
    *Leopold overcrowding
    *high enrollment at elementary schools
    *projected growth
    *income disparity among schools

  6. • The sheets that I received are dated August 24th.
    • They were sent to the Principals and since school was not in session, PTO Presidents were to be contacted and to jointly nominate one parent participant and one alternate to represent the school community.
    • Deadline (at least for Memorial & West Attendance) was September 2nd, but in speaking directly with Chief of Staff, Mary Gulbrandsen, this deadline was not met by all schools.
    • If you are the current PTO president, then I would contact your school principal.
    • Carol did not have to send you anything to post to the blog, Ed, as what I have received is exactly what you have already posted earlier.
    • I think it very illogical and presumptuous to believe the board, LRPC, or administration is stating the East task force must recommend a closing…the material I have read does not state it and I confirmed that nothing of the sort is coming out of the downtown offices. Irony can make this important process a bit entertaining but let’s try to maintain the facts as well.
    Other facts in addition to what has been posted by Mary Kay; these are directly from our Westside Central Office Representative and Chair or material received:
    • A website will be maintained on the MMSD website for ALL citizens to view and follow the process.
    • Task force volunteers will be sent reminders/ postings / information via email or by postal service.
    • Alderpersons will be contacted of the meetings and encouraged to participate. They are non voting members. I will be contacting mine I hope others will as well.
    • Neighborhood Associations will be contacted. MMSD has the addresses and will be sending them an invite to participate. I encourage you to get your neighborhood boards involved.
    • It looks like there will be two meetings / month
    • Participants include a participant (voting member) of each school along with an alternate.
    • Student Liason to the Board of Education (voting member)
    • Three at-large representatives from each ethnic group in the attendance area (voting members)
    • One community member without children in the district (voting member)
    • Central Office Rep – Mary Gulbrandsen for Westside
    • 3 Principals from outside attendance areas: Nuestro Mundo; Whitehorse & LaFollette for Westside task force
    • Additionally, attendance area Principals, board of education members, and PTO Presidents are invited observers and receive all materials.
    I have been in contact with our neighborhood association and Alderperson since this discussion began in June. We have a Yahoo Group set-up for my community feedback, our PTO newsletter editor has been contacted to publish updates and I hope to distribute surveys to encourage our entire school community participation.
    Let’s not get started on discouraging posts; don’t dismantle it before the process even begins! Instead, get involved, find your school representative and give them some ideas and your feedback. We have a problem and need a solution.

  7. Two school/parent reps were at the East High United meeting last night. A few salient pieces of information:
    1) both parents (Blackhawk and East) had received the letter and charge from principals or other parents rather than from downtown
    2) neither had been formally contacted
    3) its not clear how much lead time principals/PTO presidents had to identify and confirm the availability of nominees.
    4) the due date for nominations was September 2. Call me crazy, but this seems like an unfortunate choice of dates, especially for schools with new principals. E.g., I would have picked a date other than the first full day of high school/second day of all schools as the deadline.
    5) To request nominations by Sept. 2 and expect to be up and running by Sept 15 (what the East letter says) seems optimistic at best, more likely to produce additional work and chaos to reschedule meetings in practice.
    That said, I am heartened by the people who are showing up as the school reps on the committees. We have some very smart, commited, hard working people in whom I have great confidence. I am concerned that the people who are willing to spend their time on this task be taken seriously by district administration (and this is not aimed at Loren Rathert, who did some very positive things for East during his time there).
    Anyone know who the board picked from the ‘general population’?

  8. Marisue,
    Thanks for the information.
    Were you appointed to the West task force? I’m trying to get names of the members appointed by the school board, and I’m supposed to have them in a day or two, but otherwise no list has been made public as far as I know.
    I tried to get involved, as you suggested, but the board chose not to appoint me to the East task force. I’ll follow the process, of course, and post as much as possible on the blog.

  9. Ed,
    Yes, I am a participant. I am looking forward to representing my school community.
    Our PTO presidents and school principal voted on the nominations. I believe Crestwood is represented very well and very balanced. I honestly can not think of a better team (Mary Kay and I) to encourage parent participation, communication and possible recommendations.
    My goal will be to represent the concerns of our school and ‘island’ community that is most at risk of any recommendations.
    I am looking forward to the meeting on the 20th.

  10. As Blackhawk PTO President, I was formally notified by the MMSD, along with our principal, of the details of this task force. Heck, I’ve know the details since mid-summer. I think it’s a great opportunity to fix some of the problems with the East Attendance area, and I’m looking forward to making suggestions (since I cannot vote) that will benefit a lot of kids on the north side. The Northside PTO Coalition has worked for years on some of the issues that will arise for this task force, including reuniting the Packers Townhouse kids to a single elementary school and creating a more equitable balance of minority students throughout our elementary schools. Let’s not forget KEEPING students in the East High attendance area. As elementary schools either close or have boundaries shifted, East is losing kids to LaFollette. I’m certain the west side has it’s own laundry list as well…so I say bring these task forces on! After all, the reason they exist is because the Board and administration have run out of creative options and by recognizing that the people of Madison are bright and articulate, we’ve become the solution makers. I expect criticism of the process, but that’s part of the process as a whole. What I don’t want to endure is the tit-for-tat East-West mud that was being slung last spring by parents and Board members.

  11. Ed, I attach the schedule that I was given for the East task force at the end of this post.
    I agree with some of your concerns, in part because the board members seem to feel empowered to behave in ways that are rude and dismissive of citizen queries. But that isn’t limited to the attendance task forces.
    I believe that some people who were nominated through the board selection process were notified that they were not chosen. I believe that these contacts came through the school district, not Carol.
    I e-mailed Barb Lehman (secty to the board of education) to get the schedule for the East High task force. This is what she wrote back:
    Schedule for East Task Force is 6:30 p.m. at Sherman:
    9/22
    9/29
    10/13
    10/27
    11/10
    12/1
    and 12/15

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