Boosters & The Madison School District Budget

Sandy Cullen:

In the last five years, the La Follette High School Booster Club has paid for everything from bats to books.
They’ve raised more than $260,000 to pick up the tab for balls and jerseys, renovations of weight rooms and training rooms and even taxi fare for students who needed transportation to get eyeglasses, said Deb Slotten, president of the La Follette club.
But Slotten draws the line at paying overtime for a custodian to be at the high school so teams can practice on five days the Madison School District is closed for Thanksgiving and winter break.

And then there are costs the boosters simply don’t want to pay, such as the custodians who, administrators say, are required to be at the schools for practices during holiday breaks for contractual and safety reasons. The district’s contract with AFSCME Local 60 requires custodians – who are paid $16.54 to $25.81 an hour – to be paid double-time in addition to their holiday pay if they have to work on a district holiday, said Human Resources Director Bob Nadler.

District spending goes up annually, while enrollment has remained flat over the years. The debate is largely where the money goes. A great deal of information can be found via these links:

3 thoughts on “Boosters & The Madison School District Budget”

  1. Two years ago, the athletic budget was $2 million. After nearly three years of looking at the athletic budget, it’s puzzling that a complete athletic budget with all known and/or estimated revenues and expenditures in understandable categories is not done and available to parents, boosters, MMSD and the 4 onsite athletic directors.
    While there is no downtown athletic coordinator, isn’t there a community committee composed of the 4 school athletic directors and parent representatives from each school to deal with ongoing coordination and cost-saving opportunities?
    Why do issues seem to be dealt with piecemeal rather than dealing with the big picture? Clearly, the best case is for tax dollars to pay for all curricular and extracurricular expenditures, but that is not Madison’s current reality, especially if we’ve already cut to the bone. Unless we start looking at priorities, what the district can and will pay for and then develop needed strategies, we will be in the same place as last year.
    What’s one reality? That $10 million will need to be cut from the budget. With the same approach to budget and cuts already being made to foreign language in midddle school, early years of music education curriculum, increased class sizes, there won’t be any money available to fund any extracurricular activities.
    How hard is that to figure out? Do we need to wait for the dreaded cut list in early March? Why isn’t the board discussing what may need private funding, discussing the role of private funding, discussing the risks of private funding?
    The booster clubs have worked hard to keep robust sports activities for our students, and I’m grateful for all the work they’ve done. Their fundraising capabilities are stretched, and they need answers. I’d like to see the School Board work on different options. What is the Board waiting for? A report on advertising. Good idea but that may be too little to late, and there are more pieces to the puzzle.

  2. I wanted to add that I know there is consideration being given to raising private money as a result of the request for private money to fund two additional soccer teams (all schools were provided a budget to fund up to 8 teams I believe. west, unlike the other high schools,had student demand for two more schools.), but the report will not be completed until April.
    I think the need is so critical that we need to have a community committee working with the board and the administration to identify areas that are at greatest risk and may necessitate private funding. This comment is meant to be a positive recommendation – not a complaint.

  3. Tuesday, Nov. 22nd, the Finance and Operations Committee will meet at 3:30 in the Doyle Building. Agenda items include advertising and new revenue sources.

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