Madison School District should improve communication between 4K, kindergarten teachers, report finds

Scott Girard: Better communication between 4-year-old kindergarten teachers and their 5-year-old kindergarten counterparts in the Madison Metropolitan School District could improve student outcomes in transitioning to kindergarten, a new report found. A Madison Education Partnership research brief released this month outlines some of the challenges facing teachers during student transitions from 4K to elementary school and offers … Continue reading Madison School District should improve communication between 4K, kindergarten teachers, report finds

Madison plans to pilot full-day 4K program next year

Scott Girard: Madison Metropolitan School District officials are hoping to pilot a full-day, 4-year-old kindergarten program beginning next year. The program, which would initially be housed at two schools, would build on the district’s 52 half-day 4K offerings, which began in 2011. Under a proposal outlined to the School Board Monday, Leopold and Mendota elementary … Continue reading Madison plans to pilot full-day 4K program next year

Proposal for online early learning program could ‘supplement’ 4K in Wisconsin

Scott Girard: A bill to commit $1.5 million over three years to an online early learning program for low-income children got a public hearing Thursday from the State Assembly’s Committee on Education. The bill, AB662, and its Senate companion would pave the way for a nonprofit company to pilot its software in three urban and three rural school … Continue reading Proposal for online early learning program could ‘supplement’ 4K in Wisconsin

Report finds MMSD 4K enrollment leads to higher literacy scores, trails Milwaukee

Amber Walker: To measure literacy, MEP compared students’ performance on the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening, or PALS, an assessment of students’ familiarity with literacy fundamentals like letter recognition, spelling and sound awareness. On average, 4K students scored higher on PALS than 53 percent of their peers who did not enroll in 4K. Students of color, … Continue reading Report finds MMSD 4K enrollment leads to higher literacy scores, trails Milwaukee

Job insecurity is the new normal. Here’s how it’s affecting your family life Read more at http://national.deseretnews.com/article/5344/Job-insecurity-is-the-new-normal-Heres-how-its-affecting-your-family-life.html#wsMu4kdew4I1LJDc.99

Lane Anderson: After World War II, there was a golden era when Americans, especially those that had an education, could expect to have a job and keep it until retirement and retire with an adequate pension. Those days, which Allison Pugh, professor of Sociology at University of Virginia, refers to as the “20-year career and … Continue reading Job insecurity is the new normal. Here’s how it’s affecting your family life Read more at http://national.deseretnews.com/article/5344/Job-insecurity-is-the-new-normal-Heres-how-its-affecting-your-family-life.html#wsMu4kdew4I1LJDc.99

District analysis finds Madison 4K may help close achievement gap

Matthew DeFour: Results from a fall kindergarten test that gauges school readiness show Madison’s 4-year-old kindergarten program may help raise achievement levels of minority students, according to a new district analysis. The analysis found attending 4K in Madison reduced a student’s chance of being deemed unprepared for school by 5.5 percent and increased scores on … Continue reading District analysis finds Madison 4K may help close achievement gap

4K jump helps boost Madison schools enrollment

The Madison School District’s student population increased slightly this year to 26,925, including a 7 percent increase in 4-year-old kindergarten.
Superintendent Jane Belmore noted the 4K program in its second year now reaches 90 percent of 4-year-olds who live in the district.
“We are pleased that our enrollment remains stable and that our incredibly important 4K program continues to grow,” Belmore said in a statement. “Starting learning early is key to closing gaps, and this year, our 4K program will do that important work for more students.”
The district added 275 students, about a 1 percent increase, overall. The 4K program added 125 students for a total of 1,914 participants in the optional half-day program.
It is the 12th straight year that K-12 enrollment (excluding 4K) has ranged between 24,000 and 25,000 students.

Data shows Madison’s 4K program is reaching low-income families

Matthew DeFour:

When Madison’s 4-year-old kindergarten program began there were concerns about its accessibility to low-income families, but data from the first class suggest the program has been successful in serving low-income students.
Data collected last fall found 52 percent of students who participated in the 4K program this year are low-income students, either because they qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, or participate in the Head Start program. That’s slightly higher than the district average of 48 percent.
Some families, however, still weren’t able to access the program.

Proposal to nix Allied Drive Madison 4K site called short-sighted

Matthew DeFour:

Allied Drive advocates say a Madison School District proposal to abandon plans for a 4-year-old kindergarten site in the South Side neighborhood is short-sighted and potentially harmful to students.
Currently, 66 students are assigned to the Allied Learning Center next fall, including nine students from the Allied Drive neighborhood, one of the city’s poorest. But district officials have asked the school board to consider moving the students to other district sites, saying several parents had asked to send their children to other locations.
Ald. Brian Solomon, 10th District, said that recommendation is a “huge concern” touching on issues of civil rights, racial justice and the city’s efforts to improve a neighborhood once riddled by drugs and violence.
“This will have such an impact on the long-term success of these kids,” Solomon said. “Having every opportunity possible to allow the (Allied) parents to have more involvement will undoubtedly prepare these kids better for future years.”
Superintendent Dan Nerad brought the issue to the board’s attention last month after the parents of 16 students assigned to the Allied Learning Center requested different sites. In addition to the parents’ concerns, Nerad noted the $15,000 cost to add playground equipment and about $150,000 for additional staffing as other reasons not to use the site.

More than 1,700 sign up for Madison schools’ new 4K program

Matthew DeFour:

More than 1,700 students are signed up for Madison’s new 4-year-old kindergarten program next fall — many more than the district anticipated.
The district initially projected enrollment at 1,500 students, but so far has enrolled 1,730 students and counting. Parents can enroll their students in the free program at any time.
The higher number is a good thing and likely resulted from an extensive amount of community outreach, according to Deputy Superintendent Sue Abplanalp.

In response to criticism, Madison Schools will consider additional 4K sites

Matthew DeFour:

Responding to concerns that potential locations for Madison’s new 4-year-old kindergarten program are not located in poor neighborhoods where they may be most beneficial, school district officials said Monday they will evaluate additional sites.
The School Board on Monday approved 19 elementary schools with available space as potential 4K sites, but also asked the district to identify churches or community centers with space where Madison teachers could be assigned for the 2 1/2 hour daily program beginning this fall.
The district is expecting to hear back this week from 35 day care centers that were approved to participate in the program.
Not all of the 54 potential sites will end up being used, but the district won’t know the exact distribution until parents register their students beginning Feb. 7.

Much more on Madison’s 4K program, here.

Carlstedt: Time for Wisconsin to stop spending Dollarss on 4K and a Reference to Madison Superintendent Dan Nerad

Rich Carlstedt:

First, the Federal Government funds a program for youngsters that need help. It is called Headstart. The cry for help for such an age group should be addressed by this program, however the schools have found a cash cow in Wisconsin’s 4 K Budget and can make extra funds this way.
Second, rather than looking to Arkansas, (or Georgia, who admit that the 4K program is a failure), we can look right here in Wisconsin. Three years ago I challenged Dan Nerad, the Green Bay Superintendent at that time, when he said, “early education promotes advancement of learning .”

“We do not need to look at studies from other communities, when we have the information right here in Green Bay! 8 years ago, we went from ½ day kindergarten to full day, and yet subsequent grade test scores failed to reflect the additional education time… in fact, scores are decreasing which is proof that extending hours does nothing.”

The charge went unanswered.
Third, I have to say that you left a very large arrow out of your quiver, as your financial equation is not correct for 4 K.
While I feel that $9,900 is closer, let’s use your $9,000 number, it is fine for expressing costs. To get funding for a student, he is counted as one FTE ( full time education) to get the 9K. 4K students however get a kicker. For 13 ¼ hours per week they are counted as .6 FTE ( .5 if less than 13 ¼). So 4 year olds are given a morning class, followed in the PM with another 4 year old. Those two half day students count as (2 x.6) 1.2 FTE or in cash terms, they bring in $10,800 to the district.

Much more on Madison’s planned 4K program, here.
The article’s comments are worth reading.

Madison & Middleton-Cross Plains School District 4K Agreement

Matthew Bell:
Matthew W. Bell, Legal Counsel

Attached please find a proposed intergovernmental agreement with the Middleton/Cross Plains Area School District. The proposed agreement with Middleton/Cross Plains Area School District (MCPASD) allows the District to establish a 4k site in a nursery school (Orchard Ridge Nursery School) that lies within the MCPASD’s border. The rationale for the District’s desire to do so is the fact that Orchard Ridge is within 1/4 mile of MMSD’s boundary and it serves primarily (70-80%) Madison residents. The agreement would also allow the District to serve MCPASD 4k students who chose to enroll at Orchard Ridge in exchange for direct non-resident tuition reimbursement by MCPASD to Orchard Ridge. Conversely, MCPASD will be allowed to establish 4k sites at two centers (LaPetite and Middleton Preschool) that are within MMSD’s border. MCPASD’s rational for wanting to contract with those sites is identical to MMSD’s desire to contract with Orchard Ridge (i.e. proximity and demographics of children already at the center). MCPASD would also serve MMSD residents who chose to attend those sites in exchange for MMSD directly reimbursing LaPetite and Middleton Preschool. The agreement with MCPASD is attached for your review and action.

Much more on Madison’s planned 4K program here.

Wisconsin State Senator Seeks to Stop 4K Funding Growth, Including Madison’s Planned Program

Matthew DeFour:

A Republican lawmaker wants to kill Madison’s fledgling 4-year-old kindergarten program before it even begins.
Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, said Wednesday the state shouldn’t encourage new 4K programs — now in 85 percent of the state’s school districts and with three times as many students as a decade ago — because taxpayers can’t afford them.
“We have a very difficult budget here,” Grothman said in an interview. “Some of it is going to have to be solved by saying some of these massive expansions of government in the last 10 years cannot stand.”
Madison Superintendent Dan Nerad called Grothman’s proposal “very troubling.”
“I don’t know what the 4-year-olds in Madison did to offend the senator,” Nerad said. “There are plenty of studies that have indicated that it’s a good idea to invest as early as possible.”
Last month the Madison School Board approved a $12.2 million 4K program for next fall with registration beginning Feb. 7. Madison’s program is projected to draw $10 million in extra state aid in 2014 when the state’s funding formula accounts for the additional students. Overall this year, school districts are projected to collect $223 million in state aid and property taxes for 4K programs, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

Much more on Madison’s planned 4K program, here.
It appears that redistributed state tax dollars for K-12 are destined to change due to a significant budget deficit, not to mention the significant growth in spending over the past two decades.

The recent 9% increase in Madison property taxes is due in part to changes in redistributed state tax funds.
I spoke with a person active in State politics recently about 4K funding. Evidently, some lawmakers view this program as a method to push more tax dollars to the Districts.

Poorest would have to travel furthest in Madison schools’ 4K plan

Matthew DeFour

“It would be completely crazy to roll out this 4K plan that is supposed to really, fundamentally be about preparing children, especially underprivileged, and not have the centers in the neighborhoods that most need the service,” School Board member Lucy Mathiak said.
Deputy superintendent Sue Abplanalp, who is coordinating implementation of the program, acknowledged some students will have to travel outside their school attendance areas to attend the nearest 4K program, “but it’s not a long drive, especially if they’re in contiguous areas.”
“We will make it work,” Abplanalp said. “We’re very creative.”
The school district is conducting its own analysis of how the distribution of day care providers and existing elementary school space will mesh under the new program. Some alternative programs may have to move to other schools to make room, but no final decisions have been made, Abplanalp said.
Detailed information has not been shared with the Madison School Board and is not expected to be ready before the board votes Monday on granting final funding approval for the program. The approval must happen then because the district plans to share information with the public in December before enrollment starts in February, Abplanalp said.

Much more on Madison’s proposed 4K program, here. The District has a number of irons in the fire, as it were, including high school curricular changes, challenging reading results and 4K, among many others. Can 4K lift off effectively (both in terms of academics and costs)?

Madison 4K Funding Options

Superintendent Daniel A. Nerad

It has been requested of Administration to put together possible scenarios for funding four year old kindergarten (4-k) through the use of Education Jobs Bill funding, Equity Reserves, Property Taxes, and any other sources of funding.
What you will find below are three distinct scenarios looking at how we may fund 4-k over the first 4 years. The focus is on the first 4 years, because the original projections put together by administration and subsequently by PMA through the forecasting model looked at the program beginning in the 2010-11 school year as year one, so we consequently only have projections going through the 2014-15 school year.
These projections will be updated as part of our work with the 5 year budget model ad hoc committee of the Board in the coming months.
All of the following scenarios we believe to be very conservative in terms of the number of students to be enrolled, and especially on projections for funding from the State of Wisconsin. These original projections from earlier this year, assumed MMSD would be losing 15% funding from the State of Wisconsin for the 2010-11, 2011-12, and 2012-13 budget years. As we have seen recently, we have lost less than the maximum state law allows (2010-11 reduction of approximately 8.4%). The funding scenarios are as follows:

Much more on Madison’s planned 4K program here.

An Update on Madison’s Proposed 4K Program

Superintendent Dan Nerad:

Purpose: The purpose of this Data Retreat is to provide all BOE members with an update on the progress of 4K planning and the work of subcommittees with a recommendation to start 4K September, 2011.
Research Providing four year old kindergarten (4K) may be the district’s next best tool to continue the trend of improving academic achievement for all students and continuing to close the achievement gap.
The quality of care and education that children receive in the early years of their lives is one of the most critical factors in their development. Empirical and anecdotal evidence clearly shows that nurturing environments with appropriate challenging activities have large and lasting effects on our children’s school success, ability to get along with others, and emotional health. Such evidence also indicates that inadequate early childhoOd care and education increases the danger that at-risk children will grow up with problem behaviors that can lead to later crime and violence.
The primary reason for the Madison Metropolitan School District’s implementation of four year old kindergarten (4K) is to better prepare all students for educational success. Similarly, the community and society as a whole receive many positive benefits when students are well prepared for learning at a young age. The Economic Promise of Investing in High-Quality Preschool: Using Early Education to Improve Economic Growth and the Fiscal Sustainability of States and the Nation by The Committee for Economic Development states the following about the importance of early learning.

An Update on Madison’s Proposed 4K Program Financing: Federal Stimulus Tax Dollars Replace Local Funds, District Proposes Increased Spending on Maintenance & Technology

:

As part of the Education Job Funds recommendation, we are recommending using approximately $4.2 million for funding the shortfall created by beginning this new program in 2011-12. This plan for funding 4-k will continue to have the assumption that property taxes will have to be used to support approximately $3.7 million of the start up costs for this program in 2011-12 as well. The use of these Education Job Funds if approved, creates an opportunity to utilize funds originally targeted for 4-k start up in a different way.
During the process of re-financing the district’s Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) unfunded pension liability, the Board of Education approved a financing plan that prepared for the use of borrowed funds to support the 4-K start up (See next page). This structure effectively created budget capacity of approximately $4.2 million over the next three years. These funds were targeted originally to pay for a borrowed amount equal to $4.2 million to support the first year of 4-K, but the Federal Education Job Funds created an opportunity for MMSD to re-evaluate this decision.
Administration would propose the concept of utilizing these budget funds, originally meant to re-pay a 4-K borrow of approximately $4.2 million, to support Maintenance and Technology needs over the next two years. Under this idea, MMSD would move forward with borrowing funds as planned, but rather than using these funds to support 4-K, shift the purpose to meet technology and maintenance needs. Itwould be our intent to split these funds equally between these two areas, and work with the Board over the next 6 to 9 months to prioritize needs within these two areas.

In Favor of Madison’s Planned 4K Program

Chris Rickert

For a hopeful pessimist like me, it’s always nice when the real world belies your general sense of doom.
After all, the ranks of the poor are expanding, the national debt is skyrocketing, Wall Street bankers are again collecting exorbitant bonuses and no one really cares much about the shrinking polar ice caps. Throw in the mere existence of “Jersey Shore” and you’ve got a real social apocalypse on your hands.
There are a few rays of light amid the darkness, though, including plans by the Madison School District to institute a 4-year-old kindergarten program next year.
I’ve been surprised at the relative lack of controversy over this. You’d think that adding what is basically another grade to the public K-12 education system — at a cost to taxpayers of about $12 million in its first year — would bring out more school-choicers and teachers-union haters to decry the program as too expensive and another unwanted intrusion by government into the private sector.
But it hasn’t, and this is probably partly due to Wisconsin’s long history of supporting early education. The state was home to the first private kindergarten in the United States, opened in Watertown in 1856, and may well be the only state to include a commitment to 4-year-old education in its original constitution, according to The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families.
Today, 335 of the state’s 415 eligible districts already offer some form of free, professionally delivered 4-year-old kindergarten, and well over half of the state’s 4-year-olds are covered. A 2009 study by The National Institute for Early Education Research ranks Wisconsin sixth among 38 states in terms of access to 4-year-old preschool. (Twelve states have no formal preschool program.)

Much more on 4K here.

Madison’s Proposed 4K Program Update: Is Now the Time?

Madison Superintendent Dan Nerad PDF:

The Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) recently made a request for proposals (RFP) for early childhood care and education (ECE) centers interested in partnering with MMSD to provide four year old kindergarten (4K) programming starting in Fall 2011. In order to be considered for this partnership with the district, ECE centers must be accredited by the City of Madison or the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) to ensure high quality programming for MMSD students. The ECE centers can partner with MMSD to be either a 4K Model II program (in an ECE center with an MMSD teacher) or a Model III program (in an ECE center with the ECE center’s teacher). The budget for 4K will support only 2 Model II programs, which aligns with the proposals submitted. There are 2 ECE centers who applied for Model II participation and 2 that applied to be either Model II or Model III. The ECE center proposals that have been accepted in this first step of the review process for consideration for partnering with the district to provide 4K programming are explained further in the following section.
II. ECE Center Sites
The following ECE center sites met the RFP criteria:
Animal Crackers
Bernie’s Place
Big Oak Child Care
Creative Learning Preschool
Dane County Parent Council
Eagle’s Wing
Goodman Community Center
Kennedy Heights Neighborhood
KinderCare-Londonderry
KinderCare-Old Sauk
KinderCare-Raymond
LaPetite-North Gammon
MATC-Downtown
MATC-Truax
Meeting House Nursery
Middleton Preschool
Monona Grove Nursery
New Morning Nursery
Orchard Ridge Nursery
Preschool of the Arts
The Learning Gardens
University Avenue Discovery Center
University Houses Preschool
University Preschool-Linden
University Preschool-Mineral Point
Waisman EC Program
YMCA-East
YMCA-West
Of the 35 ECE center sites, 28 met the RFP criteria at this time for partnerships with MMSD for 4 K programming. Seven of the ECE center sites did not meet RFP criteria. However may qualify in the future for partnerships with MMSD. There are 26 qualified sites that would partner with MMSD to provide a Model 111 program, and two sites that will provide a Model 11 program.
At this time, the 4K committee is requesting Board of Education (BOE) approval of the 28 ECE center sites that met RFP criteria. The BOE approval will allow administration to analyze the geographical locations of the each of the ECE center sites in conjunction with the District’s currently available space. The BOE approval will also allow administration to enter into agreements with the ECE center sites at the appropriate time.
The following language is suggested in order to approve the 28 ECE center sites:
It is recommended to approve the 28 Early Childhood Care and Education centers identified above as they have met the criteria of RFP 3168 (Provision of a Four-Year- Old Kindergarten Program) and further allow the District to enter into Agreements with said Early Childhood Care and Education centers.

Much more on Madison’s proposed 4K program here.
I continue to wonder if this is the time to push forward with 4K, given the outstanding K-12 issues, such as reading and the languishing math, fine arts and equity task force reports? Spending money is easier than dealing with these issues…. I also wonder how this will affect the preschool community over the next decade?
Finally, State and Federal spending and debt problems should add a note of caution to funding commitments for such programs. Changes in redistributed state and federal tax dollars may increase annual property tax payments, set to grow over 9% this December.

A Madison School District Property Tax Increase Outlook (39% over the next 6 years) including 4 Year Old Kindergarten (4K)

Madison School District 102K PDF:

2009-2010 Adopted: 3.85%
2010-2011 “Projected”: 12.22%
2010-2011 “Cost to Continue”: 11.82%
2011-2012 “Projected”: 8.88%
2012-2013 “Projected”: 6.03%
2013-2014 “Projected”: 4.47%
2014-2015 “Projected”: 3.23%

The document projects that the Madison School District’s tax on a “typical” $250,000 home will increase from $2,545.00 in 2009-2010 to $3,545 in 2014-2015, a 39% increase over 6 years. Significant.
The District’s total property tax levy grew from $158,646,124 (1998-1999) to $234,240,964 (2009-2010); a 47.6% increase over that 11 year period.
The proposed 2010-2011 budget increases property taxes by 11.8% to $261,929,543
Background:

  • Madison School District 5 Year Budget Forecast
  • Madison School District Financial Overview:

    1) Impact of State’s finance on MMSD finances and budget projections
    We utilized two separate papers from the legislative fiscal bureau (attached) and a presentation given by Andrew Reschovsky to provide detail to the board of education. Unfortunately projections at this point in time are showing a shortfall for the 2011-13 biennial budget of approximately $2.3 million. Without knowing if there will be another stabilization type package to help ease this burden, chances are funding for education and many other State funded programs will be looked at for possible reduction.

4K Update: New Questions and Some Answers

At our January 11 monthly board meeting, we made two decisions about how we would proceed on implementing 4-year-old kindergarten. The media of that meeting are available on the School Information System blog, so I won’t repeat them here.
Implement 4K in Fall 2011
The board voted to defer implementation of 4K until fall 2011 due to concerns about whether the district or many of the community providers could be ready to go in less than 7 months (assuming time for registration and orientation in August.
I voted to defer until 2011 for several reasons. I support 4K. I would have liked to be able to implement in Fall 2010. However, I also had to listen when people who had pushed hard to start in 2010 — especially those from the early childhood education community — asked us to wait a year so that there is adequate time to do all of the steps that are necessary to “get it right.”
More on the decision to defer until 2011 and on new questions on 4K financing at lucymathiak.blogspot.com

4K Inches Forward in Madison, Seeks Funding

Listen to the Madison School Board Discussion via this 32MB mp3 audio file (and via a kind reader’s email).
Financing this initiative remains unsettled.
I recommend getting out of the curriculum creation business via the elimination of Teaching & Learning and using those proceeds to begin 4K – assuming the community and Board are convinced that it will be effective and can be managed successfully by the Administration.
I would also like to see the Administration’s much discussed “program/curricular review” implemented prior to adding 4K.
Finally, I think it is likely that redistributed state tax programs to K-12 will decrease, given the State’s spending growth and deficit problems. The financial crunch is an opportunity to rethink spending and determine where the dollars are best used for our children. I recommend a reduction in money spent for “adults to talk with other adults”.
Board member Beth Moss proposed that 4K begin in 2010. This motion was supported by Marj Passman and Ed Hughes (Ed’s spouse, Ann Brickson is on the Board of the Goodman Center, a possible 4K partner). Maya Cole, Lucy Mathiak and Arlene Silveira voted no on a 2010 start. The Board then voted 5-1 (with Ed Hughes voting no) for a 2011 launch pending further discussions on paying for it. Retiring Board member Johnny Winston, Jr. was absent.
I appreciate the thoughtful discussion on this topic, particularly the concern over how it will be financed. Our Federal Government, and perhaps, the State, would simply plow ahead and let our grandchildren continue to pay the growing bill.
Links:

  • Gayle Worland:

    “I’m going to say it’s the hardest decision I’ve made on the board,” said board member Marj Passman, who along with board members Beth Moss and Ed Hughes voted to implement four-year-old kindergarten in 2010. “To me this is extremely difficult. We have to have 4K. I want it. The question is when.”
    But board president Arlene Silveira argued the district’s finances were too unclear to implement four-year-old kindergarten — estimated to serve 1,573 students with a free, half-day educational program — this fall.
    “I’m very supportive of four-year-old kindergarten,” she said. “It’s the financing that gives me the most unrest.”
    Silveira voted against implementation in the fall, as did Lucy Mathiak and Maya Cole. Board member Johnny Winston, Jr. was absent.
    On a second vote the board voted 5-1 to approve 4K for 2011-12. Hughes voted against starting the program in 2011-12, saying it should begin as soon as possible.

  • Channel3000:

    The plan will begin in September 2011. Initially, the board considered a measure to start in 2010, but a vote on that plan was deadlocked 3-3. A second motion to postpone the beginning until the 2011-2012 school year passed by a 5-1 vote.
    The board didn’t outline any of the financing as yet. District spokesman Ken Syke said that they’re working on 2010 budget first before planning for the 2011 one.
    The board’s decision could have a large impact on the district and taxpayers as the new program would bring in federal funds.

  • WKOW-TV:

    This is the first real commitment from MMSD to establish comprehensive early childhood education.
    What they don’t have yet is a plan to pay for it.
    It would’ve cost about $12.2 million to start 4k this fall, according to Eric Kass, assistant superintendent for business services.
    About $4.5 million would come from existing educational service funds, $4.2 million from a loan, and about $3.5 million would be generated thru a property tax increase.
    Some board members said they were uncomfortable approving a funding plan for 4k, because there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the district’s budget as a whole.

  • NBC15:

    Members first deadlocked in a three-to-three tie on whether to start 4-K this fall, then voted five-to-one to implement it the following year.
    The cost this year would have been more than $12 million. The decision to delay implementation is due to serious budget problems facing the Madison District.
    Nearly 1600 4-year-old students are expected to participate in the half-day kindergarten program.

  • Don Severson:

    The Board of Education is urged to vote NO on the proposal to implement 4-year old Kindergarten in the foreseeable future. In behalf of the public, we cite the following support for taking this action of reject the proposal:
    The Board and Administration Has failed to conduct complete due diligence with respect to recognizing the community delivery of programs and services. There are existing bona fide entities, and potential future entities, with capacities to conduct these programs
    Is not recognizing that the Constitution and Statutes of the State of Wisconsin authorizes the provision of public education for grades K-12, not including pre-K or 4-year old kindergarten
    Has not demonstrated the district capacity, or the responsibility, to manage effectively the funding support that it has been getting for existing K-12 programs and services. The district does not meet existing K-12 needs and it cannot get different results by continuing to do business as usual, with the ‘same service’ budget year-after-year-after-year

ACE Urges MMSD Board NO Vote on 4k and RttT

TO: MMSD Board of Education
FROM: Active Citizens for Education
RE: 4-year old Kindergarten
Race to the Top
I am Don Severson representing Active Citizens for Education.
The Board of Education is urged to vote NO on the proposal to implement 4-year old Kindergarten in the foreseeable future. In behalf of the public, we cite the following support for taking this action of reject the proposal:

  • The Board and Administration Has failed to conduct complete due diligence with respect to recognizing the community delivery of programs and services. There are existing bona fide entities, and potential future entities, with capacities to conduct these programs

  • Is not recognizing that the Constitution and Statutes of the State of Wisconsin authorizes the provision of public education for grades K-12, not including pre-K or 4-year old kindergarten
  • Has not demonstrated the district capacity, or the responsibility, to manage effectively the funding support that it has been getting for existing K-12 programs and services. The district does not meet existing K-12 needs and it cannot get different results by continuing to do business as usual, with the ‘same service’ budget year-after-year-after-year
  • Will abrogate your fiduciary responsibility by violating the public trust and promises made to refrain from starting new programs in exchange for support of the “community partnership” urged for passing the recent referendum to raise the revenue caps

To reiterate, vote NO for District implementation of 4-K.
The Board of Education is urged to vote NO to signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the State of Wisconsin as part of an application for funding through the U.S. Department of Education ACT “Race to the Top” (RttT).
In behalf of the public we cite the following support for taking this action to reject the signing the RttT MOU: The Board and Administration

  • Does not have complete information as to the requirements, criteria, expectations and definitions of terms of the MOU or its material Exhibits; therefore, there has been serious inhibitors in time, effort and due diligence to examine, understand and discuss the significant implications and consequences of pursuing such funding
  • Does not have an understanding through the conduct of interactive discussions regarding the roles and relationships of the Board of Education, the Administration and the union regarding the requirements of the MOU as well as any subsequent implications for planning, implementation, evaluation and results for receiving the funding
  • Must understand that the Board of Education, and the Board alone by a majority vote, is the only authority which can bind the District in any action regarding the MOU and subsequent work plan. District participation cannot be authorized by the Board if such participation is contingent on actual or implied approval, now or in the future, of any other parties (i.e., District Administration and/or union)
  • Does not have an understanding of its personnel capacity or collective will to establish needs, priorities and accountabilities for undertaking such an enormous and complicated “sea change” in the ways in which the district conducts its business in the delivery of programs and services as appears to be expected for the use any RttT funding authorized for the District
  • Must also understand and be prepared for the penalties and reimbursements due to the state and federal governments for failure to comply with the provisions attached to any authorized funding, including expected results

To reiterate, vote NO for District approval for the MOU and application for funding through the RttT.

$4,431,115 Two Year Cost for 4K in Madison

Madison School District Superintendent Dan Nerad 650K PDF:

The Board ofEducation over the past two months has received information relative to the programdesignofa4-kprogramandsomebudgetscenariosrelativetothe4-kprogram. The budget scenarios showed the Community Model Option where the community providers provided to the district the amount necessary to support their programs and two concepts for allowing this fee to decrease.
Over the past month, administration and the community providers have met to discuss the amount to be brought forward as a fee per child for the community early childhood centers. The amount within your packet reflects that amount the early childhood community has asked ofthe district.
Information Contained in your packet: Budget Impact:
The budget impact sheet is reflective of all costs associated with the operation ofa community based model for four-year-old kindergarten. This model reflects the latest numbers proposed by the community for the per child reimbursement, along with an escalator of 3% each year. The model also reflects the latest information from the DPI, that shows we are currently not likely to be eligible to receive the 4-k startup grants with the State of Wisconsin budget. These numbers show a negative budget balance of $4,188,069 in year 1 and a negative budget balance of $243,046in year two, for a total two year negative balanceof $4,431,115. This becomes the target for further information within your packet relative to “Financing Options” for 4-k.

4k-8 study Monona Grove School District Report

Peter Sobol:

At last nights board meeting former Winnequah Principal Patty McGuinness presented the results of the 4k-8 study commissioned by the board last summer. The report detailed the costs of implementing 4k-8 grade configurations in each community. The proposed configuration would require significant changes to Winnequah school to accomodate programming for Monona 3-8th grade students and some changes to Glacial Drumlin to shift CG 4th graders into the building.
The report (I’ll link it here when it is up on the district website) was very thorough, and I found it a useful exercise to see all the costs and factors that go into making a school laid out in one place. It is worth a read on that basis. One issue identified from the study was that the scheduling wouldn’t work with the current encore staff and additional staffing would be required. These additional requirements hadn’t been worked out, but they would add to the costs included the study.

Complete Report: 5MB PDF.

4K reaches 80 percent of Wisconsin school districts

Wisconsin DPI, via a kind reader’s email:

Eighty percent of Wisconsin school districts offer 4-year-old kindergarten (4K), educational programming that has been growing throughout the state.
Sixteen school districts opened 4K programs this year. The 333 districts that provide 4K programs are serving 38,075 children, an enrollment increase of more than 4,000 from last year. Of the districts providing 4K, 101 do so through the community approach, which blends public and private resources to allow more options for the care and education of all 4-year-olds.
Licensed teachers provide instruction for all public school district 4K programs. In the community approach, some districts provide a licensed 4K teacher in a private child care setting, some contract with Head Start or the child care setting for the licensed teachers, and others bring child care into the licensed 4K public school program or mesh licensed 4K services with a Head Start program. Wisconsin is one of the nation’s leading models for combining educational and community care services for 4-year-olds.

An Update on the Madison School District’s Proposed 4K Program

Superintendent Dan Nerad [600K PDF]:

Attached to this memorandum is detailed costing information relative to the implementation of four-year-old kindergarten. We have attempted to be as inclusive as possible in identifying the various costs involved in implementing this program.
Each of the identified options includes cost estimates involving all three program models that have previously been discussed. The first option includes the specific cost requests provided to us by representatives from the community providers. The remaining options include the same costing information for Model I programs (programs in district schools) but vary for Model II and III programs (programs in community-based early learning centers). These options vary in the following ways:

  1. For District Option 1, we have used a 1:10 staffing ratio instead of a 1:8.5 staffing ratio that was submitted by representatives from the community providers.
  2. For District Option 2, we have used a three-year phase-in for the reimbursement to local providers.
  3. For District Option 3, we have used both a 1:10 ratio and a three-year phase-in for reimbursement to local providers.
  4. For District Option 4, we have used both a 1:10 ratio and a two-year phase-in for the reimbursement to local providers.

The District options with a 1:10 ratio were created because this was the staffing ratio that was recommended by the 4K planning committee and is the ratio needed for local accreditation. All Modell costing(in District schools) is based on a 1:15 ratio with the understanding that additional special education and bilingual support to the classroom is provided. The District options employing a two- or three-year phase-in of the

The Preschool Picture – 4K?

Chester Finn, Jr.:

The campaign for universal preschool education in the United States has gained great momentum. Precisely as strategists intended, many Americans have come to believe that pre-kindergarten is a good and necessary thing for government to provide, even that not providing it will cruelly deprive our youngest residents of their birthrights, blight their educational futures, and dim their life prospects. Yet a troubling contradiction bordering on dishonesty casts a shadow over today’s mighty push for universal pre-K education in America (see “Preschool Puzzle,” forum, Fall 2008).
The principal intellectual and moral argument that advocates make–and for which I have considerable sympathy–is similar to that of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) backers: giving needy kids a boost up the ladder of educational and later-life success by narrowing the achievement gaps that now trap too many of them on the lower rungs. Serious pursuit of that objective would entail intensive, educationally sophisticated programs, starting early in a child’s life, perhaps even before birth, and enlisting and assisting the child’s parents from day one.
Yet the programmatic and political strategy embraced by today’s pre-K advocates is altogether different. They seek to furnish relatively skimpy preschool services to all 4 million of our nation’s four-year-olds (and then, of course, all 4 million three-year-olds), preferably under the aegis of the public schools.

4K is on the radar of our local Madison schools.

Madison School District 4K Proposal

Superintendent Dan Nerad [1.5MB PDF]:

Providing four year old kindergarten (4K) may be the district’s next best tool to continue the trend of improving academic achievement for all students and continuing to close the achievement gap.
The quality of care and education that children receive in the early years of their lives is one of the most critical factors in their development. Empirical and anecdotal evidence clearly shows that nurturing environments with appropriate challenging activities have large and lasting effects on our children’s school success, ability to get along with others, and emotional health. Such evidence also indicates that inadequate early childhood care and education increases the danger that at-risk children will grow up with problem behaviors that can lead to later crime and violence.
Background/Charge On February 9, 2009, the Board of Education asked the Superintendent to reconvene staff, and community members to begin planning for a collaborative 4K program in the Madison Metropolitan School District. The committee was directed to develop recommendations and timelines to present to the BOE.
Process Membership is attached and was generated by the AFSCME Child Care Representatives with membership growing as the months proceeded. Kathy Hubbard began facilitation and Jim Moeser is currently facilitating the committee work. Throughout the months of meeting, membership and attendance has been constantly high with energy and enthusiasm the same. The matrix presented in this packet includes a brief overview of the five committees below.

Related:

Perhaps the District might implement these initiatives first – and evaluate their effectiveness prior to expanding the organization (and budget) for 4K.

Madison School District & Madison Teachers Union Reach Tentative Agreement: 3.93% Increase Year 1, 3.99% Year 2; Base Rate $33,242 Year 1, $33,575 Year 2: Requires 50% MTI 4K Members and will “Review the content and frequency of report cards”

via a kind reader’s email (200K PDF):

The Madison Metropolitan School District and Madison Teachers Inc. reached a tentative agreement Tuesday evening on the terms and conditions of a new two-year Collective Bargaining Agreement for MTI’s 2,600 member teacher bargaining unit. Negotiations began April 15.
The Contract, for July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2011, needs ratification from both the Board of Education and MTI. The Union will hold its ratification meeting on Wednesday, October 14, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the Alliant Energy Center, Dane County Forum. The Board of Education will tentatively take up the proposal in a special meeting on October 19 at 5:00 p.m.
Terms of the Contract include:
2009-2010 2010-11
Base Salary Raise – 1.00% Base Salary Raise – 1.00%
Total Increase Including Benefits – 3.93% Total Increase Including Benefits – 3.99%
Bachelor’s Degree Base Rate $33,242 Bachelor’s Degree Base Rate $33,575
A key part of this bargain involved working with the providers of long term disability insurance and health insurance. Meetings between MTI Executive Director John Matthews and District Superintendent Dan Nerad and representatives of WPS and GHC, the insurance carriers agreed to a rate increase for the second year of the Contract not to exceed that of the first year. In return, the District and MTI agreed to add to the plans a voluntary health risk assessment for teachers. The long term disability insurance provider reduced its rates by nearly 25%. The insurance cost reductions over the two years of the contract term amount to roughly $1.88 million, were then applied to increase wages, thus reducing new funds to accomplish this.
The new salary schedule increase at 1% per cell, inclusive of Social Security and WRS, amount to roughly $3.04 million. Roughly 62% of the salary increase, including Social Security and WRS, was made possible by the referenced insurance savings.
Key contract provisions include:

    Inclusion in the Contract of criteria to enable salary schedule progression by one working toward the newly created State teacher licensure, PI 34. Under the new Contract provision, one can earn professional advancement credits for work required by PI 34.

  • Additive pay regarding National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, i.e. an alternative for bargaining unit professionals who are not teachers (nurses, social workers, psychologists, et al) by achieving the newly created Master Educator’s License.
  • Continuance of the Teacher Emeritus Retirement Program (TERP).
  • The ability after retirement for one to use their Retirement Insurance Account for insurance plans other than those specified in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. This will enable one to purchase coverage specific to a geographic area, if they so choose, or they may continue coverage with GHC or WPS – the current health insurance providers.
    For elementary teachers, the frequency and duration of meetings has been clarified, as have several issues involving planning time. All elementary teachers and all elementary principals will receive a joint letter from Matthews and Nerad explaining these Contract provisions.

  • For high school teachers who volunteer for building supervision, there is now an option to enable one to receive compensation, rather than compensatory time for the service. And there is a definition of what “class period” is for determining compensation or compensatory time.
  • For elementary and middle school teachers, MTI and the District will appoint a joint committee for each to study and recommend the content and frequency of report cards.
    For elementary specials (e.g. art, music) teachers, the parties agreed to end the class and a half, which will mean that class sizes for specials will be similar to the class size for elementary classroom teachers.

  • For coaches, and all others compensated on the extra duty compensation schedule, the additive percentage paid, which was frozen due to the State imposed revenue controls, will be restored.
  • School year calendars were agreed to through 2012-2013.
  • Also, MTI and the District agreed to a definite five-year exemption to the Contract work assignment clause to enable the District to assist with funding of a community-based 4-year-old kindergarten programs, provided the number of said 4-K teachers is no greater than the number of District employed 4-K teachers, and provided such does not cause bargaining unit members to be affected by adverse actions such as lay off, surplus and reduction of hours/contract percentage, due to the District’s establishment of, and continuance of, community based [Model III] 4-K programs. (See note below.)

Wisconsin State budget deal bought with earmarks, Including $500,000 for Madison’s Proposed 4K Program

Steven Walters:

Facing a record deficit that forced them to raise taxes and fees by $2.1 billion to balance the budget, Assembly Democrats added millions for projects they can brag about back home – a $500,000 upgrade for an opera house; $50,000 for a shooting range; and $46,000 for a town’s recycling bins.
As they erased a $6.6 billion, two-year deficit, Assembly Democrats added $36.7 million in regional favors, according to a Legislative Fiscal Bureau summary.
Five of the projects – including the $500,000 for the Oshkosh Opera House, $500,000 for an Aldo Leopold Climate Change Classroom and Laboratory, and $125,000 for the Phillips Library in Eau Claire – have not been recommended by the state Building Commission, which is supposed to approve construction and maintenance spending.
The shooting range is in Eau Claire, and the recycling bins are for the Town of Wrightstown.
Some of the so-called earmarks don’t cost money, but get around limits on the number of liquor licenses in communities. The Assembly-passed budget would award a new liquor license in the Madison suburb of Monona, for example, and hand out three more liquor licenses in St. Francis.
Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin, said Assembly Democrats behaved just like Assembly Republicans, who controlled that half of the Legislature for a 14-year period that ended in January.

Wisconsin Assembly Democrats Approve a $500,000 Earmark for the Madison School District’s 4K Program

Jason Stein:

The hope of four-year-old kindergarten in Madison schools stayed alive early Thursday as Assembly Democrats pushed through a $500,000 start-up grant for the district as part of the state budget bill.
But even with that money, the challenges to offering the program remain great as the district could face an $8 million cut in its state aid, or 13 percent, under one new estimate of the effect of state budget cuts on Madison schools.
And Republicans criticized the grant money to the district as an earmark that comes at a time when schools statewide are having their funding cut.
“Any funding that can help mitigate the (four-year-old kindergarten) costs in the first two years is very helpful,” said Madison Schools superintendent Dan Nerad. “We’re very pleased with the proposal that’s been advanced.”

Fascinating.

On 4K in Madison

Tamira Madsen:

Abplanalp, who has been working on the 4-K project for the seven years since joining the district as lead elementary principal, said there isn’t a timetable in place as to when the program would start.
But she wouldn’t count out the 2009-10 school year if three main issues can be ironed out.
“Could we get things in place by the fall? We think we could if we got the go-ahead,” Abplanalp said Thursday afternoon. “If not, it’s because we have issues to work out contractually with MTI (the teacher’s union). … We also have to work out community site issues, negotiating (contract) issues and financial issues.”

On Madison’s Lack of a 4K Program

Andy Hall:

In Madison, where schools Superintendent Art Rainwater in a 2004 memo described 4K as potentially “the next best tool” for raising students’ performance and narrowing the racial achievement gap, years of study and talks with leaders of early childhood education centers have failed to produce results.
“It’s one of the things that I regret the most, that I think would have made a big impact, that I was not able to do,” said Rainwater, who is retiring next month after leading the district for a decade.
“We’ve never been able to get around the money,” said Rainwater, whose tenure was marked by annual multimillion-dollar budget cuts to conform to the state’s limits on how much money districts can raise from local property taxpayers.
A complicating factor was the opposition of Madison Teachers Inc., the teachers union, to the idea that the 4K program would include preschool teachers not employed by the School District. However, Rainwater said he’s “always believed that those things could have been resolved” if money had been available.
Starting a 4K program for an estimated 1,700 students would cost Madison $5 million the first year and $2.5 million the second year before it would get full state funding in the third year under the state’s school-funding system.
In comparison, the entire state grant available to defray Wisconsin districts’ startup costs next year is $3 million — and that amount is being shared by 32 eligible districts.
One of those districts, Green Bay, is headed by Daniel Nerad, who has been hired to succeed Rainwater in Madison.
“I am excited about it,” said Madison School Board President Arlene Silveira, who is envious of the 4K sign-up information that appears on the Green Bay district’s Web site. “He’s gone out and he’s made it work in Green Bay. That will certainly help us here as we start taking the message forward again.
Madison’s inability to start 4K has gained the attention of national advocates of 4K programs, who hail Wisconsin’s approach as a model during the current national economic downturn. Milwaukee, the state’s largest district, long has offered 4K.
“It’s been disappointing that Madison has been very slow to step up to provide for its children,” said Libby Doggett, executive director of Pre-K Now, a national nonprofit group in Washington, D.C., that campaigns for kindergarten programs for children ages 3 and 4.
“The way 4K is being done in your state is the right way.”

Related:

  • Marc Eisen: Missed Opportunity for 4K and High School Redesign
  • MMSD Budget History: Madison’s spending has grown about 50% from 1998 ($245,131,022) to 2008 ($367,806,712) while enrollment has declined slightly from 25,132 to 24,268 ($13,997/student).

Madison: Missed Opportunity for 4K and High School Redesign

Marc Eisen:

The good news is that the feds refused to fund the school district’s proposal to revamp the high schools. The plan was wrongheaded in many respects, including its seeming intent to eliminate advanced classes that are overwhelmingly white and mix kids of distressingly varied achievement levels in the same classrooms.
This is a recipe for encouraging more middle-class flight to the suburbs. And, more to the point, addressing the achievement gap in high school is way too late. Turning around a hormone-surging teenager after eight years of educational frustration and failure is painfully hard.
We need to save these kids when they’re still kids. We need to pull them up to grade level well before they hit the wasteland of middle school. That’s why kindergarten for 4-year-olds is a community imperative.
As it happens, state school Supt. Elizabeth Burmaster issued a report last week announcing that 283 of Wisconsin’s 426 school districts now offer 4K. Enrollment has doubled since 2001, to almost 28,000 4-year-olds statewide.
Burmaster nailed it when she cited research showing that quality early-childhood programs prepare children “to successfully transition into school by bridging the effects of poverty, allowing children from economically disadvantaged families to gain an equal footing with their peers.”

Related:

Dane County School District Open/Close Plans for 2021

This sidebar was included in the Saturday 9 January 2021, Wisconsin State Journal. I was unable to find the information on their website. Madison’s well funded K-12 schools remain closed. Belleville: Has been using hybrid model all year, and that will continue with an option for families to go online only. Grades 3-4,7, 9 and … Continue reading Dane County School District Open/Close Plans for 2021

Seven candidates file paperwork to run for Wisconsin superintendent of public instruction (2 Madison School Board Seats are uncontested….)

Devi Shastri: State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor announced a year ago that she would not seek another term. Gov. Tony Evers named Taylor as his replacement in the post in 2018, when he was elected governor. This is the first open race for the position in 20 years. The candidates are: Deborah Kerr, the former superintendent of … Continue reading Seven candidates file paperwork to run for Wisconsin superintendent of public instruction (2 Madison School Board Seats are uncontested….)

RUN FOR OFFICE – 2021 SPRING ELECTIONS: MADISON SCHOOL BOARD SEAT 2

Despite spending far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 school districts, Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results. 2017: West High Reading interventionist teacher’s remarks to the school board on madison’s disastrous reading results MMSD Budget Facts: from 2014-15 to 2020-21 [May, 2020] Property taxes up 37% from 2012 – 2021. MMSD Budget Facts: from … Continue reading RUN FOR OFFICE – 2021 SPRING ELECTIONS: MADISON SCHOOL BOARD SEAT 2

Wisconsin DPI releases fall student count and revenue limit information

WDPI: The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction today released information on fall student counts and school district revenue limits for the 2020-2021 school year. Wisconsin school districts, independent charter schools, and private school parental choice programs reported overall slowdowns or declines in enrollment, particularly in 4K. Districts also reported summer school participation declined by more … Continue reading Wisconsin DPI releases fall student count and revenue limit information

Run for Office – 2021 Spring Elections: Madison School Board Seat 1

Despite spending far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 school districts, Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results. 2017: West High Reading interventionist teacher’s remarks to the school board on madison’s disastrous reading results MMSD Budget Facts: from 2014-15 to 2020-21 [May, 2020] Property taxes up 37% from 2012 – 2021. MMSD Budget Facts: from … Continue reading Run for Office – 2021 Spring Elections: Madison School Board Seat 1

K-12 Tax, Referendum and budget climate: Madison School District enrollment drops by more than 1,000 students

Elizabeth Beyer: Enrollment in the Madison School District has dropped by more than 1,000 students for the 2020-2021 school, the district said Friday. The decrease in enrollment is significant compared to the previous school year when the district lost only 33 students between 2018-2019 and 2019-2020. The drop in enrollment could spell trouble for district … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum and budget climate: Madison School District enrollment drops by more than 1,000 students

Madison School Board strikes tentative property deal for referendum-envisioned elementary, amidst declining enrollment

Logan Wroge: The district has made it a priority to bring an elementary school to the racially diverse neighborhood where most students need to take long bus rides out of the area to attend Allis Elementary on the Southeast Side. About 450 elementary students live in the neighborhood bounded by the Beltline to the north, … Continue reading Madison School Board strikes tentative property deal for referendum-envisioned elementary, amidst declining enrollment

Commentary on Wisconsin per student spending trends – Madison spends far more than average

Wisconsin Policy Forum: According to U.S. Census figures, Wisconsin relied on state revenues for over half of its K-12 per-pupil spending (54.3%) in 2018, compared to an average of 46.7% nationwide. In fact, aid to schools is the largest spending category in the state budget, comprising $6.0 billion (or 35%) of state general purpose revenue … Continue reading Commentary on Wisconsin per student spending trends – Madison spends far more than average

K-12 Tax, Spending, Referendum and School Climate: Germany eyes a four-day week to help prevent mass layoffs

Charlotte Edmond: Germany’s largest trade union, IG Metall, is proposing its members call for a four-day week to offset economic pressures heightened by the pandemic. The proposal has had a mixed reception, with the German labour minister open to the possibility, while others are fundamentally opposed. The idea of a reduced working week has already … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Spending, Referendum and School Climate: Germany eyes a four-day week to help prevent mass layoffs

Group of Black leaders opposing $350M Madison schools referendums

Logan Wroge: An advocacy group of Black leaders is opposing the Madison School District’s $350 million ask of taxpayers this fall, arguing the proposals are under-developed and the district hasn’t done enough to support African American children to get their endorsement on the two November ballot referendums. In a statement sent to some media members … Continue reading Group of Black leaders opposing $350M Madison schools referendums

Monopoly Power Lies Behind Worst Trends in U.S., Fed Study Says

Craig Torres: The concentration of market power in a handful of companies lies behind several disturbing trends in the U.S. economy, like the deepening of inequality and financial instability, two Federal Reserve Board economists say in a new paper. Isabel Cairo and Jae Sim identify a decline in competition, with large firms controlling more of … Continue reading Monopoly Power Lies Behind Worst Trends in U.S., Fed Study Says

“The Shame of Progressive Cities, Madison edition”

Chris Stewart discusses our long term, disastrous reading results with Kaleem Caire. mp3 audio transcript 2011: A majority of the Madison School Board aborted the proposed Madison Preparatory IB Charter school. Kaleem Caire notes and links. Let’s compare: Middleton and Madison Property taxes Madison property taxes are 22% more than Middleton’s for a comparable home, … Continue reading “The Shame of Progressive Cities, Madison edition”

K-12 Tax, Referendum and spending climate: What Will Not Recover: Government

Jeffrey Tucker: What becomes of government credibility in the post-lockdown period? There are thousands of politicians in this country for whom this is a chilling question, even a taboo topic.  The reputation of government was already at postwar lows before the lockdowns, with only 17% of the American public saying that they trusted government to … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum and spending climate: What Will Not Recover: Government

A summary of community feedback (website) on Madison’s recent Superintendent candidates

Scott Girard: Records released by the Madison Metropolitan School District show feedback from staff and community members included plenty of praise and criticism for the two finalists for the district’s superintendent position this summer. Both Carlton Jenkins and Carol Kelley received positive feedback from many who filled out the forms, which asked respondents to answer … Continue reading A summary of community feedback (website) on Madison’s recent Superintendent candidates

K-12 Tax, Spending & Referendum climate: Parents and closed schools

Chris Hubbach: After a spring of pandemic lockdowns and a summer of uncertainty as coronavirus infections surged, working parents with school-age children now face what could be a year of online schooling, presenting a buffet of bad options. Sacrifice earnings and career advancement to stay home. Hire a nanny, if you can afford it. Lean … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Spending & Referendum climate: Parents and closed schools

“That is all tied up in the bargaining so there’s nothing I can say about it,” Robinson wrote in an email.

Dahlia Bazzaz: The district and the union have been discussing work expectations for this fall, sparring over the prospect of some instructors providing in-person services. This marks the third straight summer when bargaining talks have cast doubt over the first day of school. Robinson denied that the idea of a delayed start was being explored … Continue reading “That is all tied up in the bargaining so there’s nothing I can say about it,” Robinson wrote in an email.

Rather Than Reopen, It’s Time to Rethink Government Education

Cathy Ruse & Tony Perkins: There is no better time to make a change than right now, when public education is in chaos. What’s that popping sound? Could it be a million figurative lightbulbs clicking on above public-school parents’ heads? The vast majority of American families send their children to public schools. Only 11 percent … Continue reading Rather Than Reopen, It’s Time to Rethink Government Education

Madison School Board President’s Rhetoric on growing gun violence

Gloria Reyes: We must prepare and implement a plan of action to prevent violence and to stop this horrific rise in violence.” David Blaska: Our word of the day is ‘Chutzpah’ (Yiddish for “what nerve!”) This is the school board president who kicked cops out of Madison’s troubled high schools NEWS ALERT: Detectives from the … Continue reading Madison School Board President’s Rhetoric on growing gun violence

Wisconsin Homeschooling requests more than double last year

Scott Girard: More than twice as many Wisconsin families as a year ago have told the state they plan to homeschool for the 2020-21 school year. According to data from the state Department of Public Instruction, 1,661 families filed forms to homeschool between July 1 and Aug. 6, up from 727 during the same period … Continue reading Wisconsin Homeschooling requests more than double last year

K-12 Tax, Referendum and Spending Climate: Freed from the office, Madison telecommuters are snapping up rural homes

Steven Elbow: The coronavirus pandemic has a lot of people feeling boxed in. But for Michelle Possin it opened up a whole new realm of possibilities. Before the COVID-19 crisis, the 54-year-old recruiter for TASC, a Madison-based administrative services company, spent half her time at home and the other half in the office. But now … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum and Spending Climate: Freed from the office, Madison telecommuters are snapping up rural homes

2020 Referendum: Commentary on adding another physical Madison School amidst flat/declining enrollment..

Scott Girard: Options at the new school under the recommendation would include designating it as a Community School — the district has four of those now — or creating specific programming like social-emotional learning, social justice or environmental education. Other ideas could still be added to that list as the planning process continues. Teachers have … Continue reading 2020 Referendum: Commentary on adding another physical Madison School amidst flat/declining enrollment..

Texas Education Association online education Commentary

Brittney Martin: Though Lee struggled with her online classes last semester, Garcia plans to keep her home again this fall. Lee has asthma, as does her nineteen-year-old sister, who contracted COVID-19 in June and narrowly avoided having to be admitted to the hospital as she struggled to breathe. Garcia has once again requested a hot … Continue reading Texas Education Association online education Commentary

K-12 Tax, Referendum and Spending Climate: Most Americans don’t have enough assets to withstand 3 months without income

Oregon State University: A new study from Oregon State University found that 77% of low- to moderate-income American households fall below the asset poverty threshold, meaning that if their income were cut off they would not have the financial assets to maintain at least poverty-level status for three months. The study compared asset poverty rates … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum and Spending Climate: Most Americans don’t have enough assets to withstand 3 months without income

K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: Local governments want to defund the police, shut down the schools, and raise taxes.

Daniel Greenfield: The police aren’t policing and the teachers aren’t teaching. While many vital services aren’t functioning, the useless machinery of the bureaucracy grinds on with no one to pay for it. Locked down businesses don’t generate revenues and the unemployed aren’t a tax base. Tax revenues in New York City fell 46% in June. … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: Local governments want to defund the police, shut down the schools, and raise taxes.

K-12 Tax, Referendum & spending climate: California’s state budget has big benefits for a Teacher unions, stifles charter schools and funds phantom students

Mike Antonucci: Students of civics might think the California state budget is crafted by the elected representatives of the citizenry, who debate and amend proposals working their way through various committees, ultimately leading to a spending plan with majority support and the signature of the governor. All that happens, of course, but no budget makes … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum & spending climate: California’s state budget has big benefits for a Teacher unions, stifles charter schools and funds phantom students

New taxpayer supported Madison K-12 superintendent to prioritize students’ mental, emotional health

Scott Girard: The new Madison Metropolitan School District superintendent stressed the importance of community buy-in during his introductory press conferenceWednesday. Carlton Jenkins, hired in early July, began in the role Aug. 4. He said he will focus on improving reading abilities, improving student mental health and rebuilding trust during his first year on the job, stressing the … Continue reading New taxpayer supported Madison K-12 superintendent to prioritize students’ mental, emotional health

K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: In Coronavirus Bill, Democrats Push Massive Tax Cut For The Rich

Elle Reynolds: As the White House and House and Senate leaders continue trying to decide how to distribute more deficit spending on items tagged “coronavirus,” Democrats have come under fire for pushing a $137 billion tax break for the wealthy. The proposal, which was also part of a 1,800-page bill the Democrat-led House passed in … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: In Coronavirus Bill, Democrats Push Massive Tax Cut For The Rich

Waunakee school board reverses decision on all-virtual start to school year

WKOW-TV: The Waunakee Community School District Board of Education voted to reverse its decision on an all-virtual start to the school year. During a meeting Monday night [video], members of the board talked about recent coronavirus numbers and learning options that would best fit the community. In a 4-3 vote, the board was in favor … Continue reading Waunakee school board reverses decision on all-virtual start to school year

School teachers from across the state protest for a virtual fall semester

Tamia Fowlkes: Protesters from four of Wisconsin’s largest cities gathered Monday in a National Day of Resistance caravan to demand that legislators and superintendents make the fall 2020 academic semester completely virtual. Educator unions, community organizations and advocates from Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee and Racine traveled to the Capitol, the state Department of Public Instruction and … Continue reading School teachers from across the state protest for a virtual fall semester

Madison’s Taxpayer Supported K-12 Schools’ fall plan includes Sept. 8 virtual start, MSCR child care for up to 1,000 kids

Scott Girard: District administrators outlined the latest updates to the “Instructional Continuity Plan” Monday night for the School Board’s Instruction Work Group. Board members expressed appreciation to staff for their efforts and asked questions about engaging students and ensuring they get some social experiences despite the restrictions of the virtual environment. The district announced July 17 it … Continue reading Madison’s Taxpayer Supported K-12 Schools’ fall plan includes Sept. 8 virtual start, MSCR child care for up to 1,000 kids

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

K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: U.S. Gets a Debt Warning From Fitch as Stimulus Battle Rages

Benjamin Purvis: One of the world’s major credit-rating companies fired a warning shot regarding the U.S.’s worsening public finances on Friday, just as lawmakers in Washington contemplate spending more to combat the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Fitch Ratings revised its outlook on the country’s credit score to negative from stable, citing a “deterioration … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: U.S. Gets a Debt Warning From Fitch as Stimulus Battle Rages

“spending more money than ever with absolutely no idea what the result will be”

Betty Peters, via a kind email: America will, I expect, be spending more money than ever with absolutely no idea what the result will be.  And what about the families, the parents and children–who have no real choices because the various governors are making “shooting from the hip” decisions that affect all citizens.  Even  church … Continue reading “spending more money than ever with absolutely no idea what the result will be”

Commentary on The taxpayer supported Madison School District’s online Teacher Effectiveness

Emily Shetler: Almost immediately after the Madison School District joined other districts across the country in announcing a return to online instruction instead of bringing students back to the classroom for the fall semester, posts started popping up on Facebook groups, Craigslist, Reddit and the University of Wisconsin-Madison student job board seeking in-home academic help. Parents … Continue reading Commentary on The taxpayer supported Madison School District’s online Teacher Effectiveness

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

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 schools may receive an additional $3.9M in redistributed federal tax dollars amidst fall 2020 referendum plans

Logan Wroge: The Madison School District is eligible for up to $3.9 million. It’s the only district in Dane County that is eligible for money from this specific pot in the CARES Act. Costs continue to grow for local, state and federal taxpayers in the K-12 space, as well: Let’s compare: Middleton and Madison Property … Continue reading Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 schools may receive an additional $3.9M in redistributed federal tax dollars amidst fall 2020 referendum plans

La La Land Congress Wants To Give Billions To Public Schools To Stay Closed

Joy Pullman: When schools shut down this spring, Congress sent them $31 billion — nearly half its annual schools outlay — for sanitation and online learning, even though students weren’t in schools to theoretically contaminate them and online learning barely happened for millions of children. The vast majority of this money has not even reached schools yet. Nevertheless, … Continue reading La La Land Congress Wants To Give Billions To Public Schools To Stay Closed

Online classes are not worth cost of full tuition

Hope Mahood: University life is going to look very different this fall, and as faculty scramble to work social distancing into their “campus culture,” students will be left paying the price for a half-baked education. With exceptions for science labs, fine arts studios and a few small tutorials — Ontario’s university courses will run online … Continue reading Online classes are not worth cost of full tuition

Nordic Study Suggests Open Schools Don’t Spread Virus Much

Kati Pohjanpalo and Hanna Hoikkala: Scientists behind a Nordic study have found that keeping primary schools open during the coronavirus pandemic may not have had much bearing on contagion rates. There was no measurable difference in the number of coronavirus cases among children in Sweden, where schools were left open, compared with neighboring Finland, where … Continue reading Nordic Study Suggests Open Schools Don’t Spread Virus Much

Middleton-Cross Plains School District extends contract for police in schools

Emily Hamer: Breaking away from Madison’s recent decision to remove police officers from its schools, the Middleton-Cross Plains School Board on Monday voted to extend its contract for school resource officers. Citing the need for relationship building between officers and students and protection from school shootings, the board voted unanimously to re-approve the contract with … Continue reading Middleton-Cross Plains School District extends contract for police in schools

Commentary on 2020 K-12 Governance and opening this fall

Wisconsin State Journal: Unfortunately, the Madison School District announced Friday it will offer online classes only this fall — despite six or seven weeks to go before the fall semester begins. By then, a lot could change with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Dane County recently and wisely implemented a mask requirementfor inside … Continue reading Commentary on 2020 K-12 Governance and opening this fall

K-12 Tax, Spending & Referendum Climate: Minimum wage workers cannot afford rent in any U.S. state

Alicia Adamczyk: Full-time minimum wage workers cannot afford a two-bedroom rental anywhere in the U.S. and cannot afford a one-bedroom rental in 95% of U.S. counties, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual “Out of Reach” report.  In fact, the average minimum wage worker in the U.S. would need to work almost 97 hours per … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Spending & Referendum Climate: Minimum wage workers cannot afford rent in any U.S. state

K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: Flight to suburbs boosts U.S. homebuilding

Lucia Mutukani: “The numbers also verify that many people are leaving, or planning to leave, big cities as telecommuting becomes the norm for many businesses.” Housing starts increased 17.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.186 million units last month, the Commerce Department said. The percentage gain was the largest since October 2016. Data … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: Flight to suburbs boosts U.S. homebuilding

Madison School Board approves a substantial tax and spending hike fall 2020 referendum

Scott Girard: If approved, the district would be able to exceed the revenue limit by $6 million in 2020-21, an additional $8 million in 2021-22, another $9 million in 2022-23 and finally another $10 million in 2023-24. The referendum would allow the district to surpass the revenue limit by that total of $33 million in … Continue reading Madison School Board approves a substantial tax and spending hike fall 2020 referendum

7.13.2020 Madison School District Fall Referendum Presentation Deck

Administration PDF: Proposed Question 1: Shall the Madison Metropolitan School District, Dane County, Wisconsin be authorized to exceed the revenue limit specified in Section 121.91, Wisconsin Statutes, by $6,000,000 for 2020-2021 school year; by an additional $8,000,000 (for a total $14,000,000) for 2021-2022 school year; by an additional $9,000,000 (for a total of $23,000,000) for … Continue reading 7.13.2020 Madison School District Fall Referendum Presentation Deck

Carlton Jenkins is named Madison’s next K-12 Superintendent

Scott Girard: Carlton Jenkins said moving to work in the Madison Metropolitan School District would be like “going home.” One of two finalists to become the district’s next superintendent, Jenkins was an associate principal at Memorial High School in 1993 and earned his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Throughout the day Tuesday, the Robbinsdale … Continue reading Carlton Jenkins is named Madison’s next K-12 Superintendent

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: The Assessment Gap: Racial Inequalities in Property Taxation

Carlos Avenancio-Leo ́n and Troup Howard: We use panel data covering 118 million homes in the United States, merged with geolocation detail for 75,000 taxing entities, to document a nationwide “assessment gap” which leads local governments to place a disproportionate fiscal burden on racial and ethnic minorities. We show that holding jurisdictions and property tax … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: The Assessment Gap: Racial Inequalities in Property Taxation

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Madison to receive 15% reduction in redistributed state tax dollars (property tax values and referendum spending are factors)

Jason Stein: Estimates for WI general school aids are out from DPI – not surprisingly given its increases in property values, Madison schools will see max 15% decrease (largest decrease in raw $s in the state). Milwaukee Public Schools expected to get a 2% increase: bit.ly/38lfSWQ Budget Brief, via the Wisconsin Policy Forum: But for … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Madison to receive 15% reduction in redistributed state tax dollars (property tax values and referendum spending are factors)

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

Madison K-12 Spending up 19% from 2014-2020

MMSD Budget Facts: from 2014-15 to 2020-21 [May, 2020] 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 … Continue reading Madison K-12 Spending up 19% from 2014-2020

Is the MPS Tax & Spending Increase Referendum Good for Milwaukee?

– via a kind reader. Milwaukee annual per student $pending: Public: just over $14K Charter: just over $9k Voucher: just under $9k “The problems have less to do with funding and more about policies and practices”. Mission vs organization. Madison’s taxpayer supported school district spends around $19 to 20K/student and is planning a substantial tax … Continue reading Is the MPS Tax & Spending Increase Referendum Good for Milwaukee?

Coronavirus Tech Handbook

Coronavirus Handbook: How to use this handbook ? Subscribe for updates Email newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/1c5533dceb5a/coronavirusnewsletter  Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/221979475862484 800 members as of 14th For deep dive discussions, each section has a Whatsapp Chat you can join ? Help other technologists find it Retweet this: https://twitter.com/nwspk/status/1237485109156163585 Share in tech or epidemiology communities Tell the author of your favorite newsletter ✏️ Contribute … Continue reading Coronavirus Tech Handbook

Commentary on Wisconsin’s Disastrous Reading Climate

Wisconsin Reading Coalition, Via a kind email: New Wisconsin Group Issues a Call to Action for Reading Excellence On February 12th, a new group called WI-CARE – Wisconsin Call to Action for Reading Excellence – issued a Call to Action for DPI, detailing five areas of concern. You can watch their press conference on Wisconsin Eye and read commentary … Continue reading Commentary on Wisconsin’s Disastrous Reading Climate

Parent questions Madison School District practice barring third party from working with child in class

Scott Girard: The Madison Metropolitan School District’s practice of barring an outside therapy organization from providing classroom support for students with special needs is being questioned after a parent’s request to do so was at first allowed, and later prohibited. The parent, who asked not to be named to protect the identity of her son, … Continue reading Parent questions Madison School District practice barring third party from working with child in class