Thoreau Boundary Change Grassroots Work

Erin Weiss and Gina Hodgson (Thoreau PTO) engage in some impressive grassroots work:

November 28, 2005
Dear Thoreau Families, Staff, Teachers and Friends,
Now is the time for you to get involved in the MMSD redistricting process! This Thursday, December 1 at 6:30pm, a Public Forum will be held at Cherokee Middle School. This forum is being sponsored by the Board of Education in conjunction with the District’s Long Range Planning Committee and Redistricting Task Force. Please come to this forum to hear about the progress of the Redistricting Task Force, but more importantly, to share your opinions and ideas.
On the following pages is a brief description of the current Task Force ideas (as of November 28). Please bear with us if all the information presented below is not completely accurate. These ideas are changing rapidly and we are doing our best to summarize them for you with the information that is currently available. Please know that Al Parker, our Thoreau Task Force Representative, has been working hard for Thoreau school at Task Force meetings. He is a strong supporter of our school as it exists today.

The PTO will strive to provide you with the most up to date information throughout the redistricting process this year. Please be assured that we support ALL Thoreau students, families, staff and neighborhoods and will not choose to support any one neighborhood or group over another.
We have been working to find “neighborhood leaders” for each area of students that currently attend Thoreau. These neighborhood leaders will help to inform their neighborhood or area of new redistricting ideas or options as they arise. If you are interested in being a “neighborhood leader” or in helping to organize any redistricting efforts in your area, please contact the PTO or your neighborhood leader listed below. We can and will help neighborhoods or groups disseminate information to the Thoreau community in hopes that sharing information will promote understanding of all points of view.
A group of parents from several Thoreau neighborhoods have developed some “talking points” as a response to some of the task force ideas. We have attached the talking points for your reference. Please contact Heidi Pankoke (contact information is below under Nakoma) with any questions about those.
Erin Weiss 232-9906
Gina Hodgson 218-9240
Neighborhood Leaders:
Marlborough Heights
Dunns Marsh/Crawford Heights
Carrie Wilkomm willkomm at
Kristi Sprague Klepzig bananamoon at
Debbie Pilona-Turner
Arbor Hills
Need a volunteer
Curry Parkway
Need a volunteer
Fish Hatchery Area
Need a volunteer
West of Midvale
Melissa Meyer healthysolutions at
Dudgeon Monroe
Jill Karofsky/Jason Knutson jkarofsky at
Heidi Pankoke hmpwis at
Andrew Olson noslo4 at
Allied Drive/Crescent Rd Area
Katy Farrens
katyfarrens at
*Nakoma includes areas East of Midvale, South of Odana Rd., North of the Beltline Highway (including Winslow Way, Mohawk, Doncaster, etc.)
Memorial/West Attendance Area Task Force
November 28, 2005 Toki Middle School
6:30 p.m. All Purpose Room
November 29, 2005 Jefferson Middle School
6:30 p.m. Cafeteria
November 30, 2005 Hamilton Middle School
6:30 p.m. Cafeteria
December 1, 2005 Cherokee Middle School
6:30 p.m. Gymnasium
Madison Metropolitan School District
Madison, Wisconsin
Art Rainwater, Superintendent
Agenda: SPECIAL MEETING – Open Session
Thursday Cherokee Middle School
December 1, 2005 4301 Cherokee Drive, Gym
6:30 p.m. Madison, Wisconsin
Special Meeting of the Madison School Board and the West/Memorial Attendance Areas Demographics and Long Range Facility Needs Task Force Community Forum
Call to Order
Purpose of the West/Memorial Area Demographics and Long Range Facility Needs Task Force Community Forum
Summary of the process and procedures used by the West/Memorial Area Demographics and Long Range Facility Needs Task Force to develop the options created by the West/Memorial Area Demographics and Long Range Facility Needs Task Force to address the issues of:
Elementary schools in the Memorial and West attendance areas that have overcrowded student populations
Projected growth of the elementary schools in the Memorial and West attendance areas
Disparity of the income of parents whose children attend elementary schools in the Memorial and West attendance areas
4. The A2a, A2c, B2a, B2b, and C3 options created by the West/Memorial Area Demographics and Long Range Facility Needs Task Force
5. Public hearing on A2a, A2c, B2a, B2b, and C3 options created by the West/Memorial Area Demographics and Long Range Facility Needs Task Force
6. Summary of what transpired at this community forum and next steps the West/Memorial Area Demographics and Long Range Facility Needs Task Force will take to complete its task
BOE Meeting Dates Task Force Meeting Dates
December 19 December 6
January 30 December 20
November 10
Redistricting Task Force Summary of Ideas – November 29, 2005
Following is a brief description of the most recent developments of the Redistricting Task Force. Please use this as a guide to what will be discussed the Public Forum on December 1 at Cherokee Middle School at 7pm. Also included is an Agenda for the December 1 meeting, as well as a list of dates and locations for all the Public Forums this week.
If you would like more detailed information, such as Task Force Meeting Minutes, district statistics, or to post a question or comment on the online forum, visit the district website at HYPERLINK “” and click on Long Range Planning toward the bottom left side of the page. In addition, contact Al Parker at 288-0214, the Thoreau Task Force Representative, with your concerns, comments or ideas.
Following are the “values” the task force will be using to make decisions about ideas/options
No student in the district should have to ride the bus more than 45 minutes one way
Avoid high concentration of low income students at any school
Keep geographically defined neighborhoods together and consider proximity to schools.
Since the first Public Forum on November 15, the Task Force has broken its ideas into three main categories (called Group A, B & C).

  • Group A – Ideas involving building a new schools on the West Side (involves referenda)
  • Group B – Ideas addressing new growth and income disparity by major boundary change initiatives requiring moving of many students
  • Group C – Ideas addressing new growth and income disparity while moving the least students

The Task Force has developed several ideas under each group, a few of which have been dropped from discussion, and several of which remain as working ideas. Below we will describe current ideas and more specifically how each could affect Thoreau. Unfortunately, many of these ideas are not currently posted on the mmsd website, and even Task Force Representatives do not have all the details regarding the affects of these ideas.
Low-income percentages as a result of these ideas are not yet available. Hopefully, they will be available on or before Thursday evening. Check the website daily for any updates.
Currently, one idea remains under Group A. It is a proposal to build a school on the far West Side (Idea A2c). The idea to build a school at the Leopold Site was removed, as the task force did not see the possibility of building two new schools as a viable option. Idea A2a (not listed here) was voted on and dropped at the last Task Force meeting on November 23, therefore, it is unclear why it remains on the agenda above.
Idea A2c – Effects upon Thoreau
Allied Drive would attend Crestwood and Stephens
Thoreau would gain students currently attending other schools
Currently, two ideas remain under Group B. One includes a Thoreau/Leopold pair (Idea B2b) and the other includes a Leopold/Lincoln pair (Idea B2a). Both ideas have very significant ramifications for the students who currently attend Thoreau.
Idea B2b -Effects of Thoreau/Leopold Pair Upon Thoreau:
Only two grades would attend Thoreau, most likely grades 4 and 5.
Several current Thoreau neighborhoods would NOT be part of the pair.
Marlborough Height would attend Van Hise
Allied Drive would attend Crestwood and Stephens
Many more children would be bussed than are currently.
Idea B2a – Effects of Leopold/Lincoln Pair Upon Thoreau:
Many students who currently attend Thoreau would be bussed to other schools
Marlborough Heights to Midvale
Curry Parkway to Midvale
Alhambra to Midvale
West of Midvale toVan Hise
Allied Drive to Crestwood/Stephens
Currently two ideas remain under Group C. The two current ideas, C1 and C2, do not have as significant an affect upon Thoreau. Under one of the C1 or C2 ideas (and it is unclear which one), Allied Drive students will stay at Thoreau. Under the other idea, it is possible that Allied Drive will go to Crestwood or Stephens and not Thoreau. These ideas are still being developed.

One thought on “Thoreau Boundary Change Grassroots Work”

  1. Gina and Erin,
    Thanks so much for all the time that you’ve spent in summarizing this work! Marcia

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