Many (Madison) area private schools offering in-person learning this fall

Scott Girard:

As the 2020-21 school year approaches, private schools are taking advantage of smaller enrollments and fewer buildings to plan in-person learning while area public schools are focusing on virtual learning.

And since the Madison Metropolitan School District announced July 17 it would start the year entirely virtually, some private schools are seeing an increase in enrollment interest.

“My phone and email are off the hook right now,” said St. Dennis Catholic School principal Matt Beisser, whose school will offer parents a choice of in-person or virtual school. “The uptick is there.”

Lighthouse Christian School, which will also offer its parents a choice, has received 15 to 20 requests since MMSD’s announcement, “some only until MMSD (goes) back to in-person,” principal Tia Sierra wrote in an email.

The interest in private schools comes as the Madison district works on details of how it will improve its virtual-learning program — created in just weeks amid an unprecedented situation this spring — as it received mixed reviews from parents and students. Many other districts in Dane County have followed suit, though a few are going to offer a choice for some form of in-person instruction.

Many local private schools, meanwhile, are pushing ahead with an option for in-person schooling, as long as Public Health Madison & Dane County doesn’t order all schools closed as it did this spring.

“Teachers have access to materials in their classrooms that are not available at home,” – despite million$ spent on Infinite Campus

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