Board & Admin Don’t Know Whether Read 180 Received Funding

Since May I’ve been asking the administration and board members, collectively and individually, whether the budget for this school year includes funding for a promising middle school remedial reading program called Read 180. The headline on a State Journal story on January 29, 2005, read: District Eyes Reading Program For Expansion. The subheadline said: Teachers Want More Students In The Read 180 Program, Which Has Raised Reading Levels Quickly.
But NO ONE seems to know whether the program received any funding at all in the budget!

At least no one has answered me when I’ve asked by e-mail and at various committee meetings of the board.
The failure of anyone to know highlights one of the weaknesses of the budget process, that is, no one (board and administration alike) has much control over academic achievement when no one knows whether a promising program did or did not get funding.
The MMSD needs a budget process that tells the board and administration, as well as the public, three things about spending on important programs and budget areas. In fact, we all need to know:
1) How much was budgeted last year.
2) How much was spent last year.
3) How much is budgeted for this year.
Until the budget includes these pieces of information, no one knows how taxpayer money is being spent.

2 thoughts on “Board & Admin Don’t Know Whether Read 180 Received Funding”

  1. Ideally, ongoing (monthly?) district budget information should be available on their website. This information would include year to year comparisons. This is the kind of transparency that I believe is vital for continued taxpayer support of Madison’s far above average K-12 spending.

  2. Regarding Read 180 specifically, I can somewhat understand why no one seems to know if it’s funded or not. My limited understanding is that it’s a computer-based reading program that is purchased for a school and then implemented by that particular school’s reading teachers. There is at least a one-time investment in the software and hardware. Sherman has had it a couple of years and Black Hawk started it last year….a few others schools have it as well. I remember hearing that grant money was involved in getting it funded initially. The district may not have actually allocated any general budget money specifically to “Read 180” since the teacher costs to run the program seem to come out of the regular school allocations. From everything I’ve heard, it is a really good program.

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