Madison School Board Members 2012-2013 “Budget Amendments”

It is interesting to compare and contrast Board member amendments to the Administration’s proposed 2012-2013 Madison School District budget. The 2011-2012 budget spent $369,394,753 for 24,861 students or $14,858.40 each.
Mary Burke: Require Accountability for All Achievement Gap Programs.
Maya Cole offers 11 amendments, the first seeks to address the District’s literacy problems. Cole’s amendment 6 questions the Administration’s use of WPS health care savings (“general fund”).
James Howard seeks a student data analysis assistant and the implementation of a parent university.
Ed Hughes offers 3 amendments, the first seeks to moderate proposed administrative staffing growth, the 2nd requests $3,000,000 in additional maintenance spending (500K less than the Administrative proposal) and a change (reduction) in the use of the District’s reserves (or “fund equity“). Mr. Hughes’ amendments would result in a 5.7% property tax increase. Related: controversy and a possible audit over past maintenance spending.
Beth Moss requests additional middle school media library staffing and increased funding for the middle school Avid program. Much more on the AVID program, here.
Marj Passman requests the introduction of a credit recovery program at East High School (the other high schools evidently have in-house programs) and the creation of a “Department of African American achievement”.
Arlene Silveira requests $75K for the Superintendent Search and a possible interim candidate, a dropout recovery program, a Toki Middle School “Expeditionary Learning Program” and the creation of an implementation plan for all achievement gap programs. Notes and links on Toki middle school and the “Expeditionary Learning Program“.
Somewhat related: Madison Schools Administration has “introduced more than 18 programs and initiatives for elementary teachers since 2009”
I continue to wonder if all schools are held to the same academic and financial standards expressed during the debate and rejection of the proposed the proposed Madison Preparatory IB charter school?

  • Damian Michaelis

    I think Mary Burke has the right idea and goal for success. The only change I would make is to include all students and not just those of a minority group. “No added cost” is the key.
    Any of the ideas put forth with increasing property taxes is unacceptable until it is proven that all the funds previously given have been spent in accordance with the need identified. I am surprised that Mr. Hughes can request an unheard of 5-7%(??!!) increase in taxes when the real problem and “plan” proposed my Mr. Nerad has not been a tested as a proven winner. It seems like more rules and regulations that add up to more work with possibly fewer results to be tracked. Nerad is leaving – do we really want to follow his direction? How much investment is actually visible?
    Has the cost saving of switching the majority of teachers away from an expensive health plan been reviewed AND how much are the teachers paying (on their own) for the insurance? Why are we not requiring more out-of-pocket payments from teachers for pensions and health care?
    The property tax payer’s ability to continue to pay higher taxes for unproven results or elimination of waste, but, yet lack of acceptable sacrifices from these public employees has to be called, foul.
    Get your house in order and find the fat to cut (still) from the budget. I am not a fan of Walker’s but – I think the people have spoken once again against out-of-control spending of tax dollars.

  • Jim Zellmer

    Madison schools’ property taxes increased 9% in 2010 and were flat in 2011.
    http://www.schoolinfosystem.org/archives/2011/10/communities_reb.php
    A thorough, ongoing academic program review has long been discussed….

  • Lucy Mathiak

    There WAS a review of Reading Recovery, which gains dollars in the Achievement Gap Plan (AKA, deja vu all over again with the same results). At that time, the board was concerned over the high cost/ questionable benefits/inability to serve significant numbers of students who need support but are not the neediest kids. All of that went nowhere. And now MMSD just added more positions. Anyone want to wager on what progress we will see from that investment?

  • Damian Michaelis

    The reasoning does not make the new increase reasonable. To raise taxes because they were flat or god forbid, went down, is not indicative of a board and district looking for new ways to balance their budgets.
    I have been to the legislature to talk with reps on MMSD’s favor (on my own time, prior to Walker). I’m sure a direction was intended by this month’s recalls and I am not saying I am pro or con to these voices, but it should be a sign. And, when I hear comments like in today’s paper by board members stating:
    “We need to make “people” (tax payers) aware of how expensive maintenance is…”
    So raise taxes to prove your point? The reality is that we are all in hard times and 5% is a bit much, now, especially. I have seen the proposals for cuts presented 2010/2011 year and there were many that could have made the cut. We had some solid, empathetic voices on the board at the time.
    Have we even addressed how we are fixing the achievement gap? There is a lot of talk but not much else other than hands out.
    I applaud Mr. Howard and Ms. Roberts for disengaging the proposal for a more balanced and thought out approach to the budget and their concern for the future Superintendent.
    I am anxious to see how learning improves and teaching is reviewed in the future for the “improvements” that really matter.