I’ve received some emails on this story. It seems there are two approaches to “fixing” the Madison School District’s $333M+ budget for our 24,342 students. Blame the state/federal government, or work locally to build support for our public schools in terms of volunteer hours, partnerships and money.
I believe that latter approach is far more likely to succeed because we have more control all around and we have a vested interest in our community’s future. That’s also why I support Maya Cole (vs. Marj Passman) and Rick Thomas (vs. Beth Moss) for school board. Ruth Robarts, Lucy Mathiak and Lawrie Kobza have proven that the board and individual members can be effective. An insider friend mentioned that Doyle’s budget is “thinly balanced”, which likely explains the reality. The Madison School Board’s majority decision (4-3) with respect to concessions before negotiations magnifies the governance issue. Watch the candidates discuss this issue, among others recently.
Those interested in this issue should check out Monday’s (3/12 from 12 to 1:00p.m.) brown bag lunch on Financing Quality Education. [map]
Steve Walters and Stacy Forster:
Despite Gov. Jim Doyle’s public – and repeated – promises that his budget proposal would pay for two-thirds of public education costs, an analysis released today showed that it falls short of that goal.
In a 624-page summary of the budget that Doyle gave legislators last month, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau said the state would pay 65.3% of public school costs in the year that begins July 1, and 65.5% of those costs in the following year.
Because public schools cost about $9 billion every year, each 1% equals about $90 million – money that is tight as legislators begin the process of reviewing Doyle’s budget and drafting changes to it. Legislators will act on their version of the budget over the next three or four months.
The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau said Tuesday in a summary of the budget the governor gave to legislators in January that the state would pay 65.3 percent of public school costs in the year that begins July 1 and 65.5 percent during the next year.
The AP article references some special and school choice funding changes that may help some districts:
David Schmiedicke, the governor’s budget director, said the budget proposal is just short of the 66 percent goal next year because it includes more money for specific programs such as aid to students with disabilities, subsidies for small class sizes and free breakfasts, and $21 million more to pay for Milwaukee’s school choice program.