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June 11, 2006

2006 / 2007 Madison School Board & Committee Goals

The Madison School Board meets June 19, 2006 @ 5:00p.m. to discuss their 2006 / 2007 goals for our $332M+ schools. A friend wondered what goals readers have in mind.

I thought it might be useful to consider the Board's goals in light of the District's strategic plan [450K pdf]:

  1. Instructional Excellence
    Improving student achievement
    Offering challenging, diverse and contemporary curriculum and instruction.

  2. Student Support
    Assuring a safe, respectful and welcoming learning environment.

  3. Staff Effectiveness
    Recruiting, developing and retaining a highly competent workforce that reflects the diversity of our students.

  4. Home and Community Partnerships
    Strengthening community and family partnerships, and communication.

  5. Fiscal Responsibility
    Using resources efficiently and strategically.
My thoughts are below:

  1. World Class Curriculum:
    Does the MMSD use it's $332M+ budget for 24,490 students to provide the best possible curriculum to our next generation? There certainly have been some questions, particularly with respect to Math and the growing movement toward a one size fits all curriculum ala West's English 10. Instructional excellence is the District's #1 strategic priority. It would also be useful to discuss the use of online learning tools, particularly for curriculum that is in danger of being eliminated due to staffing challenges, or those that are not currently offered at all schools, such as Mandarin.

  2. Budget Transparency:
    Create a community working group that includes a variety of skills such as investment professionals (those who know how to read and explain financial statements) and forensic auditors. The goal is to create an understandable, easy to use budget model. This model should include year over year comparisons, individual school budgets and a method to evaluate spending effectiveness.

  3. Health Care Costs:
    Create and publish online a matrix comparing benefit packages, providers and costs. Chat with a number of local organizations, including Dane County, UW, MATC, AmFam, Oscar Meyer, TDS, General Casualty, City of Madison and the State regarding their approach to these questions and publish the results.

    Invite local health care firms/insurance brokerages to give an overview of their services and what the financial options are for an organization the size of MMSD. Perhaps they can provide 3 scenarios with dollars and benefits

    I would also invite someone to come in and talk about the emerging Health Savings Accounts. Self Insurance up to a point might also be discussed.

    Perhaps begin each meeting with a 10 year chart of the MMSD's health care expenditures and a discussion of what it means to teachers (total compensation, including benefit/salary tradeoffs) and taxpayers. Discuss what happens if nothing changes.

    Review Denver's recent pay for performance teacher agreement along with the accompanying tax increase used to fund it. Determine if there are aspects of this program that make sense here.

  4. Obviously, the Boards goals must be reflected in the Superintendent's goals and review, including principal oversight and review.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at June 11, 2006 7:58 PM
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