The Madison Board of Education is faced with several great challenges over the next few months. One of the biggest is the announcement that Superintendent Art Rainwater will retire at the end of the June 2008. The board will be working with a consultant to assist in hiring the next superintendent. Another board challenge is the budget shortfall of $10.5 million dollars. Lack of state and federal funding, unfunded and under funded mandates, revenue limits and the qualified economic offer, all contribute to the annual budget woes. While addressing these issues the Board continues its discussion and analysis on positive student behavior in our schools. These changes will lead from a punitive approach to a preventive and restorative justice methodology. This model will increase school safety and lead to changes in the student Code of Conduct and Board policy that can be applied fairly to all students.
Our board committees continue to meet on a regular basis and are working hard to analyze complex issues to be voted on by the entire board. Finance and Operations (Lawrie Kobza, Chair) has received feedback on the People’s Budget. This will be a document that is easier to read and understand. Long Range Planning (Carol Carstensen, Chair) has held public forums to gather public input regarding overcrowding at Chavez and Lakeview. Joint meetings between the two committees have been held to discuss elementary class size throughout the district. Human Resources (Ruth Robarts, Chair) are discussing the use of a consultant to compare administrative salaries. Communications (Arlene Silveira, Chair) held a meeting featuring several state legislators regarding many issues of the board including school finance and clarification of state statues. Community Partnerships (Lucy Mathiak, Chair) discussed programs receiving community services funding and will have the programs report to the committee soon. Performance and Achievement (Shwaw Vang, Chair) received a presentation of the math masters grant program. Also, a fine arts task force is being developed to study issues and data regarding the percentages of low-income and racial and ethnic student involvement in fine arts programming and make recommendations to increase diverse student participation.
Upcoming meetings in February include: Performance and Achievement will receive a summer school report and budget and a report from Nuestro Mundo on 2/12. The full board will make a decision on The Studio School, charter school proposal and Finance and Operations will receive a report on athletics and extra-curricular activities on 2/19. Please check the board calendar at mmsd.org for updates.
The MMSD is seeking suggestions for the name of the new school in the Linden Park area. Anyone can submit a name for consideration by completing a form available on the district’s website and submitting by February 23rd. The school is scheduled to open in September 2008…The Elvehjem Playground Improvement Committee was recently named as a finalist in the Playskool “Win A Boundless Playground” Contest. Over 900 entries were received for this competition… Congratulations to LaFollette High School Junior, Denise Jackson for advancing to Hollywood to compete on the hit television show, American Idol. Please follow Denise’s journey and watch American Idol on Fox 47… Over 100 students throughout our district were recognized in the Annual Urban League Youth Recognition Breakfast and Youth Service Day. Former East High School principal, Milt McPike and Tosha Songolo, a senior at Memorial were presented with the City of Madison MLK Humanitarian award. Congratulations to all of the award winners, participants, organizations, students and our community for keeping Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream alive.
Thank you for your interest and support of the MMSD.
Johnny Winston, Jr., President, Madison Board of Education
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