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May 26, 2005

Post Referenda Notes, Comments & Interviews

Here's a brief roundup of post Referenda voter comments:

William Barnett Lewis:: Dear Editor: It was with a heavy heart that I voted against all three referendums on Tuesday. However, in the long term, this is simply what needed to be done. For too long the School Board has acted as a rubber stamp for the wishes and fantasies of the district's administration.

Perhaps now, in the wake of the defeat of two of the three referendums, the School Board will decide to actually do their job and provide oversight and require accountability of the district's administration. As it stands, Mr. Rainwater has not shown himself capable of anything other than wasting money on yet another unnecessary assistant superintendent while trying to gut important academic programs. Meanwhile, as reported in this paper on Tuesday, test scores are declining.

We need to put the administration on a diet and get the money back into academics where it really belongs. It is time for the School Board to wake up and do the job they have been elected to do - to lead the school district. If they are unwilling to do this, then we need new School Board members.

William Barnett-Lewis

Matt Brandrup: A letter to the editor
May 26, 2005

Dear Editor: In your paper Wednesday, you quoted School Board member Bill Keys stating to all of us who voted against two of the three school referendums: "I want everyone who voted no to walk up to a child tomorrow and say, 'I voted against you.' "

Not only is that one of the most insulting and inaccurate statements I have heard in a long time, it also is a prime example of how disconnected many of the School Board members are to the real world and to the public they supposedly represent.

If Mr. Keys was in tune with the general taxpaying public he was elected to represent, he would realize that those of us who voted down two of the three referendums were actually voting against the School Board's extreme mismanagement of educational priorities and finances and not the kids.

I do realize that there are not always easy answers when it comes to funding and to what programs/educational resources have priority. I do appreciate School Board members who volunteer much of their time and resources to trying to make our schools better. Many of the School Board members do a good job, and many times their effort is not appreciated by the public.

However, Mr. Keys' insulting comments do nothing but polarize people and frankly hurt the budgeting process Madison needs to implement to get out of the box the school district has painted itself into.

What will fix the problem is having the School Board and administrators start to use the large amount of resources they currently have in a much more efficient manner. Many times those are difficult, unpleasant decisions. However, those decisions can and must be made, and all of us who voted down the two referendums think these decisions can be made without impacting the quality of education the Madison School District offers.

Matt Brandrup

Dear Editor: Was I the only Madison resident sickened at the photo of Dorothy Borchardt and Brian Schimming celebrating with the Vote No for Change group after two of three referendum questions were shot down? I didn't think so.

It's certainly OK to have your beliefs that our current system requires some changes. Hey, I'm all for some changes! But would it be more responsible to have something else in place before the current system is shot down? Do we need to completely fail before we fix?

I'm so glad I was not captured on film with my arms waving wildly at celebrating the loss of good teachers and good classrooms. I would rather be captured on film talking to legislators and School Board members, smiling as I tried to fix the system. But that's just me.

Michelle Alswager

Posted by Jim Zellmer at May 26, 2005 3:13 PM
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