Weekly Email From Board President Carol Carstensen

Parent Group Presidents:
The Qualified Economic Offer (Q.E.O.) law provides that a district which offers its teachers a combined salary and benefit package of at least 3.8% can avoid going to binding arbitration. The practical impact is that a district must offer at least 3.8%. Over the 12 years of revenue caps, the Madison district has settled at about 4.2% with MTI that means the total increase of salary and benefits (including health insurance) has been about 4.2%. This year the settlement was 3.98%.

December 5th meetings:
Legislative Committee (Ruth Robarts, chair) the committee discussed a bill introduced in the state senate which requires the legislature to pass a health reform bill by January 1, 2008 providing coverage for 98% of state residents. The second bill discussed was one which would allow the UW System to create and run a charter school (independent of any school district). The discussion focused on whether there was any interest by people or departments within the University in this bill. It was also noted that the Board has historically opposed creating charters that are not run by school districts.
Special Board Meeting: Wright Middle School one of the district’s charter schools came to the Board because it’s charter was up for renewal. The Board heard a presentation from Wright’s principal, Nancy Evans and comments from parents and staff. The new charter streamlines the governing board a bit; the school focus was enlarged from art and technology to include service learning. The Board was unanimous in its support for the charter. Board members specifically noted:

    the academic progress students have made at the school;
    the fact that there have been almost no students recommended for expulsion from Wright; and

  • the fact that Wright was created as the result of more than a decade of advocacy by a number of organizations and community members who felt the south side needed a middle school.

Regular Board Meeting: The Board gave final approval to the goals for the Superintendent for the 2005-06 school year. The goals are:

  1. Develop targets and measures for each of the areas of the Strategic Plan (student achievement, challenging curriculum, student support, staff effectiveness, home and community partnerships and fiscal responsibility).
  2. Develop a detailed plan to improve student’s performance in math.
  3. Provide information to the Board twice a year on the district’s collaborations and partnerships.
  4. Develop and provide a means to implement a plan to “grow our own administrators”.

    Week of Dec. 12th NO MEETINGS (Board members will try to catch up on their reading, responding to emails, shoveling sidewalks, and perhaps even preparing for the winter break.)
    Dec. 19th Meetings televised from McDaniels Auditorium:

    • 5 p.m. Partnerships Committee (Lawrie Kobza, chair) first consideration and discussion of a policy governing outside funding for school district programs and activities.
    • 6 p.m. Performance and Achievement Committee (Shwaw Vang, chair) report from the Middle Grades Design Team
    • 6:45 p.m. Long Range Planning Committee (Bill Keys, chair) preliminary recommendations from both the East Area and Memorial/West Areas Task Forces. (N.B. These are only preliminary recommendations final ones will be made at the end of January. The Board will likely hold forums to get further feedback from the public once the final recommendations are made.)