K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Commentary on using Madison’s facilities, or create more when space exists

Negassi Tesfamichael:

“Whatever recommendations come forward, I want them to include using underutilized space we have in the district,” said School Board member TJ Mertz, Seat 5.

Mertz said that redrawing district boundaries could also help find space without having to build an entirely new building.

“I think that if we want to be good stewards of the investments we’re entrusted with, I think some set of those options need to be on the table,” Mertz said.

Another option that seemed unpopular would be to close a currently operating school in order to make more space available.

A challenge for having just one site is finding a location that is easily accessible via public transportation for all attendance areas. The idea of building a new space when not all district properties are at full capacity also raised concerns.

“We’ve got space and we’re not growing as a district (student-wise), and we need to use our space better,” said Kate Toews, Seat 6.

But for some, having one site provides an opportunity to put the needs of students at Capital High at the forefront.

Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools, despite nearby available space.

Related: “The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results. This, despite spending far more than most, now around $20,000 per student.