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September 29, 2009

Dan Nerad gets creative on Madison schools budget

Lynn Welch:

It's easy to feel a bit sorry for Madison school officials as they grapple with ways to close a $12 million gap in state funding.

"It sounds like this came out of left field, so I don't think anyone can be faulted for not imagining that something like this could happen," says Chan Stroman, a Madison parent with one child attending elementary school and two at a virtual school.

But feelings may change in December, school watchers say, when tax bills land in mailboxes and everyone starts to feel the pain.

The district proposes hiking property taxes -- $82.50 for owners of $250,000 homes. This and other solutions stress a school-community partnership, a balance between educational responsibility and fiscal fitness that has become the hallmark of superintendent Dan Nerad's administration.

Indeed, it's hard to talk about the current financial situation facing Madison's schools without hearing an opinion on how Nerad, who began his tenure in July 2008, is managing the situation.

Madison spends about 10% more per student than Dan Nerad's former District - Green Bay. Madison's student / staff ratio is about 7, while Green Bay's is 8. It will be interesting to see what, if any substantive program reviews occur locally, something that the New Superintendent and Board have promised to do. Details here.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at September 29, 2009 1:14 AM
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