Budget Impacts at Franklin-Randall–Don’t Get Mad, Get Active!!

(This letter is being distributed to parents of Franklin-Randall students, but should concern everyone in the MMSD and Regent Neighborhood)
Don’t get mad, get active!!
March 16, 2007
The School Board recently announced sweeping budget cuts for the coming school year that will have a severe impact on Franklin-Randall, as well as other schools in the district. Following Tuesday’s PTO meeting, parents in attendance agreed that we must act QUICKLY to address this crisis. Below, we have summarized the funding crisis, and how cuts to our and other schools will affect our children’s education and safety. Most importantly, we conclude with specific ideas that we can all implement, to positively address this crisis.
Brief overview of the FUNDING CRISIS: Wisconsin has placed an indefinite “Budget Cap” on all additional funding towards schools. Every year there are increased costs to our schools to cover teacher salaries, increased student numbers, and increased maintenance costs. Without intervention and change, Madison’s reputation for excellence in education is going to change significantly, and with that, so will the diversity, appeal, and attraction of our city.
How will current district recommendations directly affect the education and safety of your children in the Franklin-Randall community?
*As a result of the “SAGE” program being cut from our schools, Franklin-Randall class sizes will rise from 15 to 22 for Kindergarten and First grade, and from 15 to 24 for Second and Third grades this Fall.
*Franklin will lose 5.1 teacher allocations; this most likely means that 3 classroom teachers will be laid-off, and there will be reductions throughout Art, Music, PE, and Reach.
*Randall will lose 1.6 teacher allocations.
*Randall will lose the 5th grade strings program (last year 4th grade strings was cut).
How will cuts at OTHER schools affect the education and safety of your children?
All of our city’s elementary school children come together in middle and high schools; sub-standard education in any one of these schools will therefore affect all students eventually: a loss for one school will become a loss for all.
What can I do NOW?
1. Talk to people at your bus stop, in your neighborhood, and in the hallways at school when you’re there– work together to come up with at least one idea to present at the Rescue Our Schools brainstorm session. This meeting will follow the monthly PTO meeting (Tuesday, April 10th at 6:30) in the Randall Library.
2. Talk to grandparents, aunts, uncles, and neighbors who DON’T have children about how these changes to our schools will affect them. One key point to address is that our city is only as appealing as its future, and our children are the future. Everyone, with or without kids, will be affected. Wisconsin has a history of valuing education and performance; if this changes, we are giving up a source of identity and pride!
3. Attend the Information and Advocacy Session at the Doyle Administration Building, Thursday, March 29th at 6:30pm
4. Form shared child-care groups with friends and neighbors to allow for more parental presence in the schools. Make it a goal to do this in some capacity weekly. These cooperatives will allow you to watch or volunteer at more school functions, participate in school trips, or attend school board meetings. Education research definitively shows, that the more YOU are involved, the more success your child will have in school!
5. As you are able, contribute with time or money to the PTO! $100 can buy a violin that will last 10 years! Commit to a half-hour stint helping on the playground weekly — this equates to invaluable community-building, camaraderie, injury prevention, as well as much-needed breaks for our teachers.
6. Attend the MMSD School Board Meetings, held on Mondays at the Doyle Administration Bldg at 545 W. Dayton St, next door to the Kohl Center. Beginning at 7:15, any person or group can make a “Public Appearance” (up to three minutes each) to deliver opinions / make arguments about any school-related topic. To find out more, go to www.madison.k12.wi.us : under “District Information” click on “Board of Education”, then under “Meetings”, click on “Board of Education Calendar”.
7. Become active in the you school PTO!!! Sign up to be on the Franklin-Randall List-Serve — This is a fast, easy and inexpensive way for people to notify each other about F-R events and news. Simply send an email to: F-R_pto-subscribe@yahoogroups.com, with “subscribe” in the subject line. To find out about all the up-coming meetings and events, go to the F-R PTO website. Site address is www.franklinrandallpto.org
8. Don’t forget to VOTE on Tues, April 3rd, during Spring break–And if you’re not in town, vote ABSENTEE! To vote absentee, go anytime within one week before the election, to the City-County Building at 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Rm. 103. 8-4:30pm. Alternatively, by calling 266-4601, you may ask the city to mail you a ballot (English, Spanish or Hmong), or simply go online: www.cityofmadison.com/clerk/voterabsentee.cfm (also downloadable in English, Spanish or Hmong)
What can I do long-term?
Ultimately, we have to address long-term changes to school funding at the State and National level. Through grassroots organizing directed at raising awareness of the issues, we can make a change. We must reach out to like-minded groups (other PTO’s, PTA etc.), and legislators around the state. To this end, following April’s PTO meeting, we will meet to collect ideas, and organize our strategies —
*PLEASE come to the PTO Meeting, April 10th at 6:30pm (Randall Library)!! *
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and for taking action in whatever way you can!
Concerned Franklin-Randall Parents
For further information, please contact any of us:
Sari Judge 233-1754, Megan Brown 250-0552, Kate Zirbel 661-9090,
Mollie Kane 232-1809, Erika Kluetmeier, 238-6209