“Districts seeing a 10% decline in enrollment, for example, are almost two times more likely to go to referendum than districts with rising enrollments”

Abbey Machtig:

The Madison School District is in the middle of two referendums approved by voters in 2020. The $317 million capital referendum has gone toward building a new elementary school and funding significant high-school renovations.

The smaller operating referendum gave the district an additional $33 million to work with over four years.

Despite this additional money, administrators still worry about the impending financial cliff facing the school district. In addition to referendum dollars running out, the temporary relief funds distributed to school districts during the COVID-19 pandemic are also set to expire by September 2024. In the Madison School District, this leaves a slightly more than $40 million hole for administrators to fill in the future.

Scott Girard:

The report, “K-12 On The Ballot: Using Referenda To Fund Public Schools,” is from Forward Analytics, a nonpartisan research division of the Wisconsin Counties Association. It adds to a long list of research showing how school districts’ use of ballot questions to fund operations has risen over the past decade.

Other school officials, including in Madison, have made a similar point in recent months that downsizing in a school district is difficult.

“The bus still costs what it costs, whether there’s 70 kids or there’s 60,” Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials Executive Director Mike Barry said earlier this year.

The Forward Analytics report cites arguments from both supporters and detractors of the revenue limit law, and acknowledges that “there is no easy answer here.”

“The revenue limit law tries to balance sufficient school funding with limited local property tax growth,” Knapp wrote. “At the heart of the problem is finding agreement on what is ‘sufficient’ funding.”


Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average annual per student spending, now ranging from $22 to $29k per student, depending on the budget number one finds.


Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?