Madison School Board Candidate, Parent and activist Lawrence Winkler forwarded a letter to Board President Bill Keys regarding Madison School’s budget process if cuts must be made for the 2005-2006 School Year.
Winkler provides some useful background information and offers a suggestion to move forward with an improved decision making process. Click below to read his letter or here for a 37K pdf print version.
Dear Mr. Keys, Members of the Board
The Board is to consider issuing non-renewal notices for administrative staff positions at the Special Board meeting of January 24. Unlike others, I do not at this time recommend issuing non-renewal notices. It does not foster my goals toward establishing a better decision-making process.
The Board�s decision-making process is flawed, in part, because the timing of critical budget-related decisions occurs piecemeal (sequentially) throughout the year. The result of sequential decision-making has several negative consequences.
1. Not all stakeholders are at the table during the budget negotiations
2. The Board and other stakeholders are unable to negotiate in light of the total needs of MMSD and other stakeholders.
3. The degrees of freedom open to the Board have been lost.
4. Different interests groups dominate at each stage, desiring only to �get their cut�, without being forced to consider the best interests of all.
5. It is well known that the result of sequential decisions is less than optimal (and certainly different) compared to a process where all decisions are made at once.
The Board is bound by Section 118.24 Wis. Stats. regarding the timing of non-renewal notices, appeal processes by affected staff, etc., but the timing is based on contract expiration date, and the contract expiration date is not explicitly determined by statute.
Therefore, I propose that the Board consider extending the expiration date of the Administrative contracts to August 31 from the current June 30, and modify HR Policy 9.04 accordingly.
Because the Administration offers a proposed budget model in February, with the Board approving the potential cut list in March, there will be opportunity to better consider the budget as a whole. Letters of non-renewal, if so decided in light of the whole budget, would occur on April 1, with hearings requested by affected staff on May 1.
I believe this proposal offers a viable alternative to the current process, and would allow the Board to make better budget decisions.
Thank you and the Board in advance for considering this proposal.
Lawrence J. Winkler
Cc: Art Rainwater