Principals promote mid-sized schools

From a story by Susan Troller in The Capital Times:

Several principals spoke persuasively about the advantages of mid-size schools at Monday night’s Madison School Board meeting, but they apparently failed to sway any votes in support of school closings.
Cherokee Middle School Principal Karen Seno said she has allocated resources at her school to emphasize small class size, and the result is a school where there are generally two adults in every classroom.
Principals are weighing in on their view of possible school closings.
“Cherokee feels to me like a happy medium,” Seno said, neither too big nor too small. “It feels really intimate,” she added, which helps students connect with teachers and creates a learning environment where no one falls through the cracks. But the numbers at Cherokee — 538 students this year — also allow for a degree of program options and staffing that smaller schools don’t enjoy.
Newly elected board members Maya Cole and Beth Moss, who took their oaths of office at the meeting, said they were still inclined to vote against school consolidations. That seems to be the majority position on the board, with Carol Carstensen and Lucy Mathiak also saying they oppose consolidation plans that would affect a number of small schools on the east side.

5 thoughts on “Principals promote mid-sized schools”

  1. It was all just drivel that the Superintendent asked them to spout. Notice how there was no opportunity for anyone to rebut what they said?
    I sent individual BoE members my own rebuttal. Comparing Cherokee to Sherman, or the Hawthorne>Schenk move with the closure of Lindbergh>Gompers is complete apples and oranges. But Art never let the truth get in the way of getting his way. I say cut Business Services and administration by $1.5 million. They got us in this mess, they can bear the burden!

  2. My guess is if the school board doesn’t make a reasonable decision now to close and consolidate schools now, you’ll never see another referendum pass here.
    Some people get all emotional about buildings, and the adults in the area worry about property values, but the real issue is what are you doing to kids’ education by keeping underutilized buildings open. Keeping all that wasted space and wasted administration means some programs will be cut, and that affects all kids in every building.
    I don’t have much respect for Rainwater, but he’s right to close space/consolidate if there is underutilized space.
    Because of the way the school board is elected (at-large), it takes especially courageous school board members to make this decision, because it probably means they will write off a chunk of votes. Will the school board play it politically safe, putting themselves ahead of all the kids in the district?

  3. Donald, if I were to tell you that this current school closing plan actually leaves a lot of under-utilized space, would that change your mind? One thing that Art and his cronies (as well as some BoE members) fail to tell the taxpayers is that more than 1/2 of Black Hawk Middle School will be left VACANT…and since it’s nowhere near the isthmus, it’s pretty much useless for anything else:(
    So, we can count on some folks to never support a referendum unless they close schools, yet closing schools alientates ENTIRE communities, whom in turn won’t support referendums out of spite…seems like a wash to me.

  4. Look at the proposed closure as just the latest rounds of cuts. The 2009 and 2010 budgets are will also likely see $10M cuts. Effective allocation reform at the State level is just not in the cards to support districts the size of Madison.
    Each year, school closures will be proposed and so will referenda. I don’t see referenda passing unless the Eastsiders can convince the rest of the city its payback time for their support for the westside school.
    I’m also afraid I don’t see the current administration agreeing to look at long term budget planning now or in the future, but it is, and always has been, critical.
    We really are looking at $30M cuts (after 4.2% salary/benefit increases, and other 3% yearly increases) over this and the next 2 budget years.

  5. Karen Seno is incapable of ‘spouting drivel’. She is one of the most intelligent, witty, caring people I know. I thought it was gracious that at the end of a long day, she appeared at a BOE meeting!
    My family appreciates her and her staff with whom she quickly shares credit. I am emotional about the potential closing of neighborhood schools and the plethora of cuts, but we must not demean honorable people.

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