Madison School District to use some federal COVID-19 relief funds for online math instruction (Fall 2020 Referendum tax & Spending increase plans continue)

Logan Wroge:

The Madison School District will spend close to $500,000 out of the $8.2 million the district estimates it will receive from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to shore up its mathematics instruction for elementary and middle school students.

Using CARES Act money, the district plans to:

• Purchase $143,808 in individual math kits for elementary students;

• License for one year at $211,750 for all elementary students learning math;

• License the i-Ready platform for one year at $122,190 for middle school mathematics.

According to memos on the online platforms, i-Ready and DreamBox will be core teaching components to “hybrid and virtual learning environments.”

Middle schools have been using i-Ready for the past two years, but the use expanded in the spring when the platform’s developer allowed all Madison students to access it, according to a memo.

“Teachers have access to materials in their classrooms that are not available at home,” said a memo on the purchase of elementary math kits. “Purchasing the students kits will provide essential resources to all students to engage in online learning with lessons provided by their teacher.”

The $2 trillion CARES Act included $30.7 billion for K-12 and higher education institutions to respond to the financial constraints and needs of the pandemic.

The School District expects to receive funds from two pots of money for K-12 schools. Kelly Ruppel, the district’s chief financial officer, said the district estimates it will be able to use $8.2 million of the $9.1 million slated to go to Madison, depending on how much private schools within the district boundaries are eligible to receive.

Costs continue to grow for local, state and federal taxpayers in the K-12 space, as well:

Let’s compare: Middleton and Madison Property taxes:

Madison property taxes are 22% more than Middleton’s for a comparable home, based on this comparison of 2017 sales.

Fall 2020 Administration Referendum slides.

(Note: “Madison spends just 1% of its budget on maintenance while Milwaukee, with far more students, spends 2%” – Madison’s CFO at a fall 2019 referendum presentation.)

MMSD Budget Facts: from 2014-15 to 2020-21 [July, 2020]

Property taxes up 37% from 2012 – 2021.

MMSD Budget Facts: from 2014-15 to 2020-21
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): +15.9% +17.0% (increase) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21
4. Total expenditures per pupil: +17.8% +19.0%(increase) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21
5. CPI change: +10.0% (increase) from January 2014 to January 202
6. Bond rating (Moody’s): two downgrades (from Aaa to Aa2) from 2014 to 2020
1. DPI WISEdash for 2014-15 enrollment; district budget book for projected 2020-21 enrollment
2. & 3.: District budget books
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics (

– via a kind reader (July 9, 2020 update).

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration