Commentary on Madison Taxpayer Funded Schools’ PTO Budgets and Activity

Chris Rickert:

Allis Elementary currently has no active PTO and its fundraising when it did have one last year was “very, very little,” according to interim principal Sara Cutler. Allis’ percentage of economically disadvantaged students last year was 67.9, according to state Department of Public Instruction data, or higher than the district percentage of 46.1. Allis’ non-white population is 77 percent, higher than the district’s 57.1 percent.

The PTO for Huegel Elementary, with an economically disadvantaged population of 41.4 percent, has an annual budget of around $22,000 a year, according to PTO co-treasurer Tony Parisi. The PTO for Schenk Elementary, whose percentage of poor students is 63.5, has an annual budget of about $6,000, according to president Heather Daniels.

The Lowell Community Organization, the PTO-like group for Lowell Elementary, where I’ve had at least one child enrolled since 2009, has a proposed budget this year of about $14,500. Budgets over the past five years have been in the $8,000 to $14,000 range, according to LCO treasurer Kerry Martin. Lowell’s rate of economically disadvantaged students is 37.3 percent.

Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools (Van Hise Elementary and Hamilton Middle), while tolerating long term, disastrous reading results.