But board members Mary Burke and TJ Mertz offered cautions, urging the administration to be sure every possible building efficiency has been achieved before going to the voters again and every proposed project in any referendum under the plan truly advances the district’s central mission of providing a good education.
“My guess is if you asked parents, the vast majority of parents would give up the shiny-new for the best teacher (for their children) that that school had,” Burke said.
“We haven’t built a lot and we have a very high tax base per pupil,” Barry said. “That doesn’t mean (any potential renovations and upgrades) are free. But it does mean that from a balance-sheet perspective, we can support a reasonable amount of debt.”
The district’s plan also would expand the types of repairs and renovations tackled beyond traditional building and HVAC maintenance, facilities director Chad Wiese said. Instructional program needs also could be considered, such as library renovations and the creation of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) spaces, along with athletic and co-curricular program needs, such as swimming pools and artificial turf.
Board members asked for a November update with more specifics, with a possible vote on the plan later in the coming school year. Staff members also are working on a list of possible bigger-ticket improvements — new school construction or major renovations — that could be paid for in referendums using bonds with 10- to 20-year payoffs.
Madison school spending and tax history (current budget is just under $500,000,000, or nearly $20,000 per student).
We spend far more than most, despite long term, disastrous reading results.