Madison Schools’ Proposed Balanced Budget for 2006/2007

The Madison Metropolitan School District Administration published it’s proposed $332.9M+ balanced budget for 2006/2007 in 3 parts:

  • Executive Summary [pdf]
  • Financial Summaries [pdf]
  • Department and Division Reports [pdf]

“Total spending under the proposed budget is $332,947,870, which is an increase of $11,012,181 or 3.42% over 2005-06. The increase of 2.6% under the revenue limit plus other fund increases or expenditures makes up the whole proposed budget. The property tax levy would increase $11,626,677 or 5.8% to $211,989,932.”
“The property tax levy has to increase more than spending because state and federal aids and grants are decreasing. The district is being conservative in its early estimates of these aids and grants in order to avoid overspending.”

4/5 strings is once again on the chopping block. Page 6 of the executive summary. The document refers to the “current strings program”.
Links & Notes:

7 thoughts on “Madison Schools’ Proposed Balanced Budget for 2006/2007”

  1. Some quick comments based on a skim of the Executive summary.
    I hope the printed versions don’t have color graphics. This is a time when austerity is in order and that is a luxury.
    Page 5: The 3.8 raise in salaries and benefits is termed a “practical starting point or a minimum in negotiations.” This is only true if you begin by assuming that the cuts elsewhere are preferable to going to arbitration. At very least this question should be addressed by the Board.
    Pages 6 and 7: Repeated references to reductions in school improvement support. I think overall MMSD does a very good job, but school improvement planning is the key to keeping this true and making things better.
    Page 6: Atheletics maintained. Would someone eplain to me how this is related to the goals and priorities on page 4? I grant you it helps with “Home and Community partnerships.” If the Board and the administration are honest about the material on page 4, then atheletics would be cut.
    Page 7: Reductions in library support. Easy to cut, hard to measure the impact. Libraries and librarians can fill so many gaps for students throughout the spectrum, but it is almost impossible to show how that happens via test scores or graduation rates. You have to step outside statistics and use common sense. I hate to see library services cut.
    Page 7. Community Service cuts. Guess it is a good thing that we are keeping atheletics, because other forms of community involvement are on the block. Also the cuts in transportation and the increases in fees will not fall equitably on all portions of the student body. Some people have two cars and disposable income. Some ride the bus and count their pennies.
    Page 7: reduce professional development. Same as the improvement funds, only even more important.
    Thats it for now.

  2. If I understand the WSJ summary of the budget correctly, Lincoln Elementary is singled out to have class sizes in grades 4 & 5 increased from 20 to 25. Midvale-Lincoln is consistently the highest-poverty elementary school in the city. There is every reason to keep class sizes there smaller than in other schools. To balance this budget by taking something from the most disadvantaged students in Madison is unconscionable. I hope the Board rethinks this feature of the budget.

  3. Kay, I wonder if the 8 other schools with low income over 60% besides Lincoln have the smaller classroom size. I assume Midvale does with SAGE being it is a K-2. According to the district numbers, Lindbergh, Mendota and Glendale all have higher percentages of low income. But I also question the data info on this because they also state Allied Drive LC is an elementary school and only has 2% low income. I haven’t heard of this elementary school (actually it is Pre-K), and I am surpised by the low percentage even though they are stating it has 120 kids.

  4. If this the data on the website is accurate, it states only one child out of 94 at Nuestro Mundo is ELL. This seems like not a “charter school” which is interesting those who I had thought it was suppose to be geared for.
    Maybe the board should be looking at this.

  5. My understanding is that Lincoln is the only school in the district that currently has a 20-1 student/teacher ratio for 4/5. The other schools that have higher poverty than Lincoln all have the standard 25-1 ratio, but would obviously love a similar arrangement. I actually talked to Sue Alplanalp earlier this year about it because the PTO at Mendota wanted to lobby the Board to also get 20-1 in 4/5. She told me that Lincoln would be losing it for next year, so it would be unlikely that it would be approved for any other school. I got the impression that the Lincoln 20-1 arrangement is a relic from the inception of the Midvale/Lincoln pairing and, since several other schools in the district now have higher poverty rates, was deemed inequitable to continue.

  6. The MMSD 2006-2007 budget is already being implented – allocations were sent out to school principals and surplus notices have been given to teachers. Staffing accounts for 85% of the District’s budget.
    However, rather than simply focus on 2% in cuts as the School Board has done in previous years, I hope the School Board looks at and discusses the entire proposed budget for next year. How is the Superintendent proposing to spend the budget – for example:
    Which school has the lowest overhead per student – high school, middle school, elementary school? What options for savings are here?
    How much is being spent on various curriculum – what results are we seeing with different curriculum and what are the various costs/results?
    How much is being spent per child (and total) on extracurricular activities – sports and non-sports?
    Does the proposed budget include the $350,000 annual debt dervice for the Leopold addition? What changes in the budget were made to accomodate this additional cost?
    What administrators are on grants? What are the grant funds used for? How many administrators are on one grant?
    How much money is spent on administrators who are coordinators and/or do coordination work? What other options exist to do the work of coordinators?
    These are a few questions that come to mind. I’d be interested in reading what other SIS readers would like to see the School Board answer/discuss during the upcoming budget discussion? I guess I want to know where the money will be spent, what priorities/goals will be met with the proposed allocation of resources in the next year – specific, measurable objectives leading toward larger district goals, and why this one proposal is the only budget proposal?

  7. Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to this. I’m not interested in pitting one high-poverty school against another in a fight for scarce resources. I know there are other schools with similar poverty levels to Lincoln. (It is also true that Lincoln has some other challenges, like high numbers of ELL students, which is less true at some of the other high-poverty schools. I’d also say that the health of the Midvale-Lincoln pair is not a trivial matter. So there can be justification for treating Lincoln as a special case, but that’s not my point.)
    In creating the budget it should be a priority not to add to the inequity in distribution of economic resources in our schools. So I think it’s wrong to increase class sizes at Lincoln, which is among the schools with the neediest kids in the district. I also think similar class size accommodations should be put in place at comparable schools, and class sizes should be increased at less-needy schools to make that possible.
    If we are not going to try to make school demographics more equitable in spite of the housing patterns that concentrate poor kids at certain schools, then justice and pragmatics demand that we put the resources where the needy kids are. Sure, there are poor kids at Chavez or Muir, but there are a lot more at Lincoln or Mendota, and percentages make a difference. A teacher in a class where 2/3 of the kids get free lunch has greater challenges than a teacher where 1/3 qualifies. I don’t see any will in Madison to adjust boundaries in a way that will reduce concentrations of poverty in our schools, so we could at the very least not take away from the resources high-poverty schools have. And to do it in the name of “equity” is offensive.
    I was pleased to see that Lawrie Kobza has proposed maintaining the smaller class sizes at Lincoln and putting them in place at other high-poverty schools, with compensatory increases in class size at lower-poverty schools. I hope her proposal will be adopted by the Board. I hope we’ll look at other equitable allocations of resources along these lines.
    Kay Cahill

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