Madison School District keeps education, ahem, old school

Chris Rickert:

Finances are always a consideration; they can also be an excuse. The district has cried poor at budget time for years, and yet somehow continued to find the money to, say, cover the full cost of union employees’ health insurance.

Board member Ed Hughes said he wouldn’t vote for Madison Prep because the district’s plan to address the gaps is better now.

“As compared to 2011, there is much more of a districtwide focus on addressing the achievement gap as well as improving outcomes for all students through an emphasis on a rigorous, coherent curriculum and great teaching in every classroom,” Hughes said.

The district’s shifting efforts to address the achievement gap is a story in itself.

After Madison Prep failed, then-Superintendent Daniel Nerad proposed a plan to address the gap that would have cost $105 million over five years. It was later whittled down to $49 million. Current Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham’s plan was advertised as costing nothing.