Chris Rickert: The questionnaire also includes several questions about teachers’ ability to have a say in their compensation and working conditions, and asks whether the candidates “support the reinstatement of collective bargaining rights for all public employees (currently prohibited by Act 10)?” Act 10 is the controversial 2011 law passed by Republicans that stripped most … Continue reading Madison Teachers Union and the 2019 school board election: Commentary, Spending and Academic Results
Chris Rickert: In March 2016, Cheatham said that it was her intent to make OEO “obsolete — that our schools will be serving students so well that there isn’t a need.” Since then, the district has tried to keep tabs on any new charter proposals for Madison, going so far as to send former School … Continue reading Routing Around Madison’s Non-Diverse K-12 Governance Model
Negassi Tesfamichael: Madison School Board candidate Skylar Croy said in an interview with the Cap Times Friday that he would suspend his campaign and withdraw from the Seat 3 race, citing personal reasons. Because Croy turned in his verified nomination signatures on Wednesday to the city clerk’s office, the third-year University of Wisconsin law student’s … Continue reading Skylar Croy withdrawing from 2019 Madison School Board race, name will still appear on ballot
Seat 3 Kaleem Caire, 7856 Wood Reed Drive, Madison Cristiana Carusi, 5709 Bittersweet Place Skylar Croy, 502 N. Frances St., Madison Seat 4 David Blaska, 5213 Loruth Terrace, Madison Laila Borokhim, 2214 Monroe St., Madison Albert Bryan, 4302 Hillcrest Drive, Madison Ali Muldrow, 1966 East Main St., Madison Seat 5 TJ Mertz, 1210 Gilson St., … Continue reading 2019 Madison School Board Candidates; Competitive Races!
Alan Borsuk: 20 percent. That is roughly the percentage of Milwaukee students, both in public and private schools, who were rated proficient or advanced in reading in tests in spring 2018 — and it’s about the same figure as every year for many years. Folks, we have a huge reading crisis. There may be more … Continue reading “Folks, we have a huge reading crisis”
Negassi Tesfamichael: The Madison School Board’s general election is still nearly five months away, but candidates have been jumping into the race the past few weeks at a rapid pace. Three seats on the seven-person School Board will be on the ballot this spring, and each seat will be contested. Here’s what you need to … Continue reading Who’s running for Madison School Board (so far)? 2019
Chris Rickert: Meanwhile, in a sign of how the Madison district is responding to subsequent charter applications, former Madison School Board member Ed Hughes said he went before the Goodman Community Center’s board on the district’s behalf on Sept. 24 to express the district’s opposition to another proposed non-district charter school, Arbor Community School, which … Continue reading Organization vs Mission: Madison’s legacy K-12 Governance model vs Parent and Student choice; 2018
Negassi Tesfamichael: A second candidate has announced that she will run for a seat on the Madison School Board this spring. Ananda Mirilli, who first ran for School Board in 2013, filed paperwork with the city clerk’s office Wednesday announcing she will run for Seat 5, which is currently held by TJ Mertz. Mirilli finished third in … Continue reading Ananda Mirilli is running for Madison School Board (2019)
Abigail Becker: On Tuesday, the Madison School Board and the City Council both voted to sign a contract approving the continued use of educational resource officers in the city’s four high schools. The authorization approves a three-year contract for EROs, with a provision to opt-out after two years. Tuesday’s decision follows last week’s stalemate between … Continue reading Review of Madison Police Department includes recommendations on school-based officers
Karen Rivedal The Madison School Board’s narrow rejection of a proposed five-year contract for a public Montessori charter school on Monday isn’t deterring supporters and may not represent the end of the process around the proposal. Ali Muldrow, described in the proposed contract as one of the school’s seven founders, said Tuesday she isn’t giving … Continue reading Ongoing Status Quo Madison School Board Governance
Karen Rivedal: But board members Mary Burke and TJ Mertz offered cautions, urging the administration to be sure every possible building efficiency has been achieved before going to the voters again and every proposed project in any referendum under the plan truly advances the district’s central mission of providing a good education. “My guess is … Continue reading Continuing to grow Madison School $pending: now nearly $20k / student
Karen Rivedal: Employees of the Madison School District will have one fewer health insurance provider to choose from, requiring just over 1,000 employees to find a new primary care doctor. But the estimated $3 million the district will save from dropping Unity, its highest-cost provider, will help bankroll increased compensation for the district’s roughly 4,000 … Continue reading Madison School Board OKs big change in employee health insurance options
Lisa Speckhard Several individuals have filed paperwork to run for the Madison School Board this spring, ending its members’ trend of running unopposed. During the last school board election, with three seats up for grabs, TJ Mertz, Dean Loumos and James Howard all ran unopposed. Including those three, six of the last seven board races … Continue reading Change: Madison School Board members will face challengers in 2017
Rafael Gomez held a forum this evening with unopposed candidates for three Madison School Board Seats: James Howard, Dean Loumos and TJ Mertz. Listen via this 29MB 60 minute mp3 recording.
Questions and Answers from Board Of Education Candidates Because the School Board candidates Sarah Manski, TJ Mertz, and Ananda Mirilli are on the primary ballots for Seat 5 on February 19, 2013, the above link is a version of the candidate forum held on February 18, 2013 edited to include only the above candidates for … Continue reading School Board Candidate Forum, 18 February 2013
Rep. Karl Van Roy: Calling an increase in spending or funding a ‘cut,’ just because it isn’t as much as someone proposed, is a textbook example of “Madison Math.” In the coming weeks, you’ll be hearing a lot about the Assembly version of the budget and a good portion of the criticism will be false … Continue reading “A primer on “Madison Math” – when is a ‘cut’ really a cut?”
Robert Barnes [PDF Opinion]: A splintered Supreme Court today threw out school desegregation plans from Seattle and Louisville, but without a majority holding that race can never be considered as school districts try to ensure racially diverse populations. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. authored the most important opinion of his two terms leading the … Continue reading Supreme Court Limits Use of Race to Achieve Diversity in Schools
The Madison School Board voted 4-3 (for: Carstensen, Moss, Silveira and Winston; no: Cole, Kobza and Mathiak) Monday evening to approve the proposed MMSD / MTI 2007 – 2009 agreement. The new arrangement, which does not include substantial health care changes, was set in motion by the “Voluntary Impasse Resolution Document” – also approved by … Continue reading Audio / Video: Madison School Board Vote on the MTI 2007 – 2009 Agreement
Madison Metropolitan School District: The Madison Metropolitan School District and Madison Teachers Incorporated reached a tentative agreement yesterday on the terms and conditions of a new two-year collective bargaining agreement for MTI’s 2,400 member teacher bargaining unit. The contract, for the period from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2009, needs ratification from both the … Continue reading MMSD and MTI reach tentative contract agreement
Susan Troller: Board members tussled over dozens of suggestions to try to find money to return various programs and services to the district that had been cut by the administration in an effort to balance the $339.6 million budget. The administration had originally proposed about $8 million in cuts, including $2 million from special education … Continue reading 2007 / 2008 Budget Approved: School Board keeps Lindbergh open
Susan Troller: The district and Madison Teachers Inc. exchanged initial proposals Wednesday to begin negotiations on a new two-year contract that will run through June 30, 2009. The current one expires June 30. “Frankly, I was shocked and appalled by the school district’s initial proposal because it was replete with take-backs in teachers’ rights as … Continue reading MMSD / MTI Contract Negotiations Begin: Health Care Changes Proposed
Dave Diamond: What do Madison progressives and Wal-Mart have in common? We’re both inveterate union-busters, according to Nate. The AMPS organization, originally established to promote school referenda, and MTI are spinning Marj Passman’s school board defeat as a conspiracy by Isthmus and “anti-teacher” special interests. What made Passman a superior choice, in their minds, is … Continue reading More Post Election Notes and Links
TJ Mertz: In this morning’s Wisconsin State Journal there is a story that again misrepresents the place of Madison School Community Recreation and Fund 80 in the district and the community. The chart comparing Fund 80 levies in Madison to those in other districts ignores the fact that most or all of those locales have … Continue reading Madison’s Fund 80 & Elections
I’ve added a number of links to the election page including: Marisue Horton’s letter to the editor: “Yes Moves Schools Ahead”. One Question Wraps Up $23.5M Referendum – Channel3000 Where’s the Beef? – WKOW-TV CAST Pro Referendum Internet Advertising, appearing Thursday the first day of no school during the fall WEAC convention. (TJ Mertz notes … Continue reading 11/7/2006 Referendum Update
Amber Walker: Critics were also concerned about Madison Prep’s operating costs — totaling $11,000 per student — and its reliance on non-union staff in the wake of Wisconsin’s Act 10, a state law that severely limited collective bargaining rights of teachers and other state employees which passed early in 2011. Caire said despite the challenges, … Continue reading “And I am going to call it Madison Prep.”
The Madison School Board’s two newest members are voicing the strongest support for a potential 7.4 percent property tax increase, but others worry the amount may be too high.
The property tax increase was included in a preliminary $393 million budget proposal put together by school district administrators.
The amount reflects the maximum amount the district could raise property taxes under Gov. Scott Walker’s state budget proposal.
T.J. Mertz and Dean Loumos, who were sworn in Monday, said they don’t oppose taxing the maximum amount allowed under state revenue limits, which as proposed would add about $182 to the average $230,831 Madison home’s property tax bill.
Mertz plans to advocate for taxing the maximum amount, though he questioned some of the proposed new spending, such as whether a community partnership coordinator needed to be an administrative position costing $128,000.
Related: 2010: Madison School District 2010-2011 Budget Update: $5,100,000 Fund Balance Increase since June, 2009; Property Taxes to Increase 9+%.
Status Quo Costs More: Madison Schools’ Administration Floats a 7.38% Property Tax Increase; Dane County Incomes down 4.1%…. District Received $11.8M Redistributed State Tax Dollar Increase last year. Spending up 6.3% over the past 16 months.
Now that the Madison School Board election is over, the board should take a serious look at reforming how elections are organized. The system of electing members on a districtwide basis from numbered seats worked reasonably well until this year. But the challenges that arose in the District 5 race after one of two primary winners quit the contest identified vulnerabilities in the process.
T.J. Mertz and Sarah Manski won a primary that also included Ananda Mirilli. Manski then quit, leaving Mertz in a noncompetitive “contest.” We urged Mirilli to mount a write-in campaign and she seriously considered doing so. But she and her supporters determined that mounting a citywide run would be expensive and difficult. That was a credible conclusion. And it raises a question: Might there be a way to avoid such circumstances?
For instance, what if School Board members were elected from districts? With a smaller pool of voters in relatively tight-knit neighborhoods, it would be easier for all candidates, not just write-in contenders, to mount grass-roots campaigns. That could reduce the cost of campaigns and get candidates back on the doorsteps.
Another fix might be to have all candidates run in one citywide race, rather than for numbered seats. If six candidates were contending for three seats, one candidate could exit the contest and the competition would remain.
Some communities have employed instant runoff voting, in which voters rank candidates in order of preference rather than simply selecting a single candidate. Votes cast for the weakest candidates are transferred to stronger contenders, creating the purest reflection of voter preferences.
Much more on the 2013 Madison School Board elections, here.
The Madison School Board will face difficult, perhaps definitional, choices in the next several years. To make those choices, the board must have the right mix of members. Members must be absolutely committed to public education. Yet that’s not enough. They must have varied experience and bold visions for how to address the district’s challenges. With this in mind, we recommend: Howard, Mertz (Primary winner Sarah Manski dropped out of the race, remains on the ballot), Strong
Much more on the 2013 Madison School Board elections, here.
But divisions over strategy, wrapped in ideology, loom as large as ever. The mere mention that the education forum and summit were on tap drew online comments about the connection of school reformers to the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization that generates model legislation for conservative causes.
Conspiracy theorists, opponents retorted.
Democratic state Rep. Brett Hulsey walked out early from the fundraising luncheon because he didn’t like what Canada and Legend were saying about the possibility of reform hinging on the ability to fire ineffective teachers.
Thomas J. Mertz, a parent and college instructor who blogs on education issues, expressed in a phone interview Friday his indignation over “flying in outside agitators who have spent no time in our schools and telling us what our problems are.”
Mertz said he also was concerned by the involvement of the Madison School District with events delivering anti-union, anti-public education, pro-charter school messages. The school district, for its part, took pains to say that the $5,000 it donated in staff time was for a Friday workshop session and that it had no involvement with the appearances by Canada and Legend.
Madison doesn’t need a summit to whip up excitement over the achievement gap issue, Mertz said when I asked if the Urban League events didn’t at least accomplish that. “It’s at the point where there’s more heat than light,” he said. “There’s all this agitation, but the work is being neglected.”
That’s a charge that School Board President James Howard, who says that the district might decide to mimic some of the practices presented at the summit, flatly denies. “We’re moving full speed ahead,” he said.
Caire told me that the school district and teachers union aren’t ready to give up their control over the school system. “The teachers union should be the entity that embraces change. The resources they get from the public should be used for the children’s advantage. What we’re saying is, ‘Be flexible, look at that contract and see how you can do what works.'”
Madison Teachers Inc. head John Matthews responded in an email to me that MTI contracts often include proposals aimed at improving education, in the best interests of students. “What Mr. Caire apparently objects to is that the contract provides those whom MTI represents due process and social justice, workplace justice that all employees deserve.”
If Caire has his way, Madison — and the state — are up for another round of debate over how radically to change education infrastructure to boost achievement of students of color.
We have a referendum!
Community and Schools Together (CAST) has been working to educate the public on the need to change the state finance system and support referendums that preserve and expand the good our schools do. We are eager to continue this work and help pass the referendum the Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education approved on Monday, August 25, 2008.
“The support and interest from everyone has been great,” said Franklin and Wright parent and CAST member Thomas J. Mertz. “We’ve got a strong organization, lots of enthusiasm, and we’re ready to do everything we can to pass this referendum and move our schools beyond the painful annual cuts. Our community values education. It’s a good referendum and we are confident the community will support it.”
Community and Schools Together (CAST) strongly supports the Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education’s decision to place a three-year recurring referendum on the November 4, 2008 ballot. This is the best way for the district to address the legislated structural deficit we will face over the next few years.
Much more on the November, 2008 Referendum here.