Non-Traditional School Finance Discussion

Props to Johnny Winston, Jr. for organizing today’s Madison Board of Education Finance & Operations Subcommittee on Advertising meeting. I think a discussion of alternative funding sources is vital in light of Madison’s generally high property taxes, sluggish economic growth and the biennial state funding battles. A number of possibilities were discussed including:

  • The District leading the implementation of local fibre optic networks, via it’s many facilities (with, perhaps wifi servicing the last mile). I think this is quite interesting. Madison lags in true broadband service.
  • Naming Rights
  • Curriculum Program Underwriting
  • Sponsorships for district cable channels, website(s) and other parental communications

Participants included: Johnny, Roger Price, Barb Lehman, Ken Syke, Vince Sweeney (UW Athletic Department), Melanie Schmidt (President of the Timpano Group) Jodi Bender Sweeney, President of the Foundation for Madison Public Schools and the writer (me).

Finally, A representative of local cell providers discussed the type of fees they would pay for very small antennas placed on District facilities (no towers). The Capital Times’ Matt Pommer attended as well and will, I’m sure write about it.
UPDATE: Pommer’s article is here. I have some corrections:

  • I did not hear the word tower used in connection with the cell service discussions. I heard the word antenna used. Obviously, we’ll have to see what the actual plans include to make an aesthetic determination on this question.
  • I’m quoted as saying “Madison is way behind on this issue,” related to sponsorship and advertising. I said this when Roger Price was discussing the District’s fibre optic network options vis a vis community broadband.

One thought on “Non-Traditional School Finance Discussion”

  1. Jim,
    I’m ignorant to most of these items listed. Could you briefly describe for each how they will provide alternative funding sources for MMSD? Maybe providing some examples will help with my understanding. Thanks.

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