Commentary on the taxpayer supported Madison School District’s 2021-2022 $500m+ budget (-1000 students, still building a new school)

Elizabeth Beyer:

The district is still reeling from a significant drop in enrollment due to COVID-19 during the 2020-21 school year and, despite the passage of an operating referendum in November, operating revenue is expected to be up only 0.8%, less than the annual cost of living adjustment. Any additional funding the district may get through the state budget will be used to cover the funding gap created by the enrollment drop of roughly 1,000 students.

“Had it have not been for the passing of the operating referendum, we would have been in a negative revenue cycle, based on our estimates, but the referendum is allowing us to stay stable as a school district through the effects of COVID-19 enrollment,” Ruppel said. “It’ll take us a couple of years to build this enrollment back up.”

The district is also expecting more federal funds, including $18.9 million meant to combat COVID-19 related learning loss, which has not yet been included in its preliminary budget draft. Those funds should be included in the next budget draft, to be released in June, Ruppel said.

The district said all funds from the referendum that passed in November along with $7 million in repurposed local funding will be earmarked for “Excellence and Equity projects” in the operating budget.

These numbers do not appear to include substantial redistributed federal taxpayer (debt) funds ($70m in the latest tranche!).

Madison has long spent far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 school districts. This, despite tolerating long term, disastrous reading results.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarcerat