Protesters shut down Madison School Board meeting, delaying vote on budget

Logan Wroge:

Protesters opposed to stationing police officers in Madison high schools shut down the Madison School Board meeting Monday evening, causing the board to delay a vote on the school district’s proposed $415.6 million operating budget for the current school year.

A little more than an hour into public testimony, dozens of people advocating for the removal of armed, uniformed police officers, known as educational resource officers, or EROs, from the district’s four main high schools began chanting and yelling at board members, eventually taking a large banner to the stage where the board conducts its business.

Barely audible above the noise in the McDaniels Audition at the district’s Doyle Administration Building, the board ultimately took a vote to adjourn the meeting without getting the chance to discuss and make a decision on the budget, including a property tax levy. Under state statute, a school board must set the levy by Nov. 1.

Kelly Ruppel, the district’s chief financial officer, said there are emergency exceptions to having the budget passed by Nov. 1, which is Thursday. The school district will look into whether Monday’s disruption qualifies as an exception, she said.

Board member Nicki Vander Meulen said she voted against adjourning the meeting.

Madison plans to spend more than $518M during the 2018-2019 school year, far more than most taxpayer supported k-12 districts.

Yet, we have long tolerated disastrous reading results.

Seeing the Forest: Unpacking the Relationship Between Madison School District (WI) Graduation Rates and Student Achievement