Raises, officers both out as Madison School Board OKs 2020-21 budget — but COVID-19 may cause changes

Kelly Meyerhofer:

The district said total compensation has exceeded the rate of inflation for the last seven years — something it said has helped recruit and retain the best and brightest teachers.

But the board directed officials to pause a proposed 1% increase to base wages and freeze part of a salary schedule that rewards staff the longer they work in the district.

Those raises could eventually be incorporated back into the district’s budget approved in the fall, depending on how the state budget shakes out.

Mirilli said she thinks Gov. Tony Evers will prioritize education in his budget given that he is a former educator. She was optimistic that the raises could be added back in, but said the board needs to be cautious because there’s so much uncertainty.

“This is not our final decision around this,” Mirilli said. “This is a placeholder based on what we know currently.”

Board members Carusi and Nicki Vander Meulen both voted against the preliminary budget. Carusi said she thinks the district’s financial situation “won’t be as dire” as predicted. Vander Meulen said she could not support taking away any money from teachers, even on a preliminary basis.

Recent Madison School District tax & spending history:

1. 4K-12 enrollment: -1.6% (decrease) from 2014-15 to projected 2020-21

2. Total district staffing FTE: -2.9% (decrease) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21

3. Total expenditures (excluding construction fund): +17.0% (increase) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21

4. Total expenditures per pupil: +19.0% (increase) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21

5. CPI change: +10.0% (increase) from January 2014 to January 2020

6. Bond rating (Moody’s): two downgrades (from Aaa to Aa2) from 2014 to 2020.