Deja vu: Annual Madison Schools’ Budget Play, in 4 acts (2005 to 2015)

Ruth Robarts, writing in 2005:

However, the administration’s “same service” budget requires a revenue increase of more than 4%. The Gap for next year is $8.6M.

Next will come a chorus of threats to slash programs and staff to “close the gap”. District staff will come on stage bearing long lists of positions and programs cut in previous years to close the gap. The mood will be ominous when the curtain comes down on Act 1.
On March 7, Act 2 opens with the administration revealing— with great reluctance— the annual “Cut List”. On the Cut List will be programs that motivate our kids to excel at school, such as fine arts, extracurricular sports, environmental field trips, and classes for students with special talent. Also on the list will be staff positions that assist kids with special problems, such as choosing classes and colleges, overcoming difficult home circumstances, learning job skills, or having special educational needs. School custodians may again appear on the Cut List, but not central administrators. “We have no choice” is the theme of Act 2.

Molly Beck

District spending would increase by 4.8 percent during the 2015-16 school year, largely based on staff pay and a projected health insurance rate increase of 9 percent, according to the district’s projections, and is expected to exceed district revenues by $10.1 million.

Spending grows annually, yet, reading results have long been disastrous.

Related: Madison’s Superintendent “reverts to the mean.”