WIBA’s Vicki McKenna interviewed Madison School’s Board of Education member Lawrie Kobza today. MP3 Audio (17.4MB) – about 40 minutes into the segment.
VOTE TUESDAY, APRIL 5 I support offering students the opportunity to take strings in 4th and 5th grade, and oppose the administration’s proposed cuts to the program. Fourth and fifth grade strings is a well-established, much-loved, and much-supported program. There is also significant research demonstrating a high correlation between playing an instrument and achievement. Given … Continue reading School Board Candidate Lawrie Kobza Says Don’t Cut Elementary Strings – Offers Suggestions
Good for Lawrie! She’s leading the School Board and showing Bill Clingan how a board member needs to lead. At the Northside Planning Council candidates’ forum, Lawrie Kobza emphasized that she would have public discussions to set annual measurable goals and objectives for the Superintendent. The last time his goals were set with the School … Continue reading Lawrie Kobza Leads the School Board – Superintendent Art Rainwater’s goals
The Madison School District (3MB PDF): Five Priority Areas (just like the “Big 10”) but who is counting! – page 6: – Common Core – Behavior Education Plan – Recruitment and hiring – New educator induction – Educator Effectiveness – Student, parent and staff surveys – Technology plan 2014-2015 “budget package” 3MB PDF features some … Continue reading Madison Schools’ 2014-2015 $402,464,374 Budget Document (April, 2014 version)
The Madison School Board discussed the renewal of Administrator contracts (500K PDF) during their June 10, 2013 meeting (video, about 50 minutes into the meeting). Listen via this 5mb mp3 audio.
The timing and length of administrator contracts along with substantive reviews is not a new subject:
February, 2006: Are Administrators Golden?
Lawrie Kobza pointed out last night that 2-year rolling administrative contracts may be important for some groups of administrators and that the School Board should consider that issue. Otherwise, if the annual pattern continues, extensions will occur in February before the School Board looks at the budget and makes their decisions about staffing. Even though the Superintendent has indicated what positions he proposes to eliminate for next year, when the School Board has additional information later in the budget year, they may want to make different decisions based upon various tradeoffs they believe are important for the entire district.
What might the School Board consider doing? Develop criteria to use to identify/rank your most “valuable” administrative positions (perhaps this already exists) and those positions where the district might be losing its competitive edge. Identify what the “at risk” issues are – wages, financial, gender/racial mix, location, student population mix. Or, start with prioritizing rolling two-year contracts for one of the more “important,” basic administrative groups – principals. Provide the School Board with options re administrative contracts. School board members please ask for options for this group of contracts.
Ms. Kobza commented that making an extension of contracts in February for this group of staff could make these positions appear to be golden, untouchable. Leaving as is might not be well received in Madison by a large number of people, including the thousands of MMSD staff who are not administrators on rolling two-year contracts nor a Superintendent with a rolling contract (without a horizon, I think). The board might be told MMSD won’t be able to attract talented administrators. I feel the School Board needs to publicly discuss the issues and risks to its entire talent pool.
Mr. Nadler reported that MMSD might be losing its edge in the area of administration. He gave one example where there more than a few applicants for an elementary school position (20 applicants); however, other districts, such as Sun Prairie, are attracting more applicants (more than 100). The communities surrounding Madison are becoming more attractive over time as places to live and to do business. If we don’t recognize and try to understand the issues, beyond simply wages and benefits, the situation will continue to worsen. I feel the process in place needs to change in order to be a) more responseive to the issues, b) more flexible for the School Board in their decisionmaking processes, especially around budget time.
Questions that are not clear to me include: a) is a two-year rolling contract required for all administrators, b) what is the difference between non-renewal and extension of a contract – is the end of January date really an extension?, c)is there a Board policy – if not, does one need to be developed, d) are there options open to the School Board to hold on one-year contract extensions due to upcoming cuts to the budget, e) how can changes be made by moving/retraining staff if needed, and f) can grant money being used to pay for administrators be used in other ways (not including grant oversight/accounting? We’re in the same spot as the past two years – not talking about administrator contracts until one week or so before a deadline.
I feel this information needs to be clear and to be transparent to all employees, the board and the community. I believe a multi-year staffing strategy as part of a multi-year strategic plan is important to have, especially given the critical nature of the district’s resources. This idea is not proposed as a solution to the public school’s financial situation – not at all, that’s not the point.
Retired Ripon Superintendent Richard Zimman on the “adult employment focus”.
Additional administrator contract links, here.
It is ironic, in my view, that there has not been much change in the District’s administration from the Rainwater era….
Kaleem Caire, via a kind email:
Dear Friends & Colleagues.
With one of the most competitive and expensive school board races in the history of the Madison Metropolitan School District now behind us, it is time for us to get to work on strengthening public education in our capital city and ensuring that every single one of our children have the schools and tools they need to succeed in education and in life.
We congratulate Mary Burke and Arlene Silveira for their success in securing three-year terms on the Madison Board of Education. They will bring significant experience and business acumen to the School Board. We also give great respect to their challengers, Nichelle Nichols and Michael Flores, for stepping up, taking a stand for children and ensuring that the voices of parents and children of color were front and center during the campaign. They ensured that the discussion remained focused on the alarming racial achievement gap that exists in our schools, and we deeply appreciate them for it.
As the Board of Education moves forward, we expect they will remain focused on our community’s five greatest priorities: (1) eliminating the racial achievement gap; (2) establishing world class schools that attract enrollment and prepare all children to thrive and succeed in college and work after high school; (3) empowering parents and engaging them in their children’s education; (4) developing a highly talented and skilled workforce that is more reflective of the students our school district now educates; and (5) aligning the District’s employee handbook to the priorities, needs and goals of students, staff and schools.
The Board of Education can start by focusing their efforts on hiring an outstanding new Superintendent who possesses significant leadership skill/experience and business acumen, a proven track-record of successfully leading urban schools with significantly diverse student populations; and a strong, clear and compelling vision and plan for public education and our children’s future.
Rather than deciding too quickly on approving an achievement gap plan that was rushed in its development, we hope the Board of Education will avoid getting too far ahead of the next Superintendent in implementing plans, and instead focus their attention on existing efforts where the District can make a difference in the next six months, such as:
- Implementing the Common Core Standards and related common curriculum in literacy, English/language arts and mathematics in all elementary schools in grades K-5 (to start), with additional learning support for students who are significantly behind or ahead academically;
- Re-establishing and aligning the District’s Professional Development Program for all educators and support staff to the curriculum, standards and needs/interests of students;
- Implementing Wisconsin’s new Educator Effectiveness evaluation and assessment program;
- Providing a full-time principal and adequate staffing for Badger Rock and Wright Middle Schools;
- Requiring greater collaboration and alignment between the District’s safety-net, student-support programs such as Schools of Hope, AVID/TOPS, Juventud/ASPIRA, PEOPLE/ITA Program and ACT Prep Academies to ensure more effective and seamless identification, support and progress monitoring of students who need or are enrolled in these programs;
- Partnering with local businesses, educational institutions and community organizations to recruit, hire, acclimate and retain a diverse workforce, and appropriately assign all staff to schools according to their skills and interests and the needs of students;
- Engaging parents more effectively in the education of their children through community partnerships; and
- Partnering with the United Way, Urban League, Boys & Girls Club, Centro Hispano, Hmong Education Council and other agencies to effectively build awareness and educate the community about local and national best practices for eliminating the achievement gap and preparing all youth for college and work.
We look forward to working with YOU, the Board of Education, our community partners and the leadership of our public schools to implement immediate opportunities and solutions that will benefit our children TODAY.
President & CEO
Urban League of Greater Madison
- Achievement gap dominated school board races that netted wins for Silveira, Burke by Judith Davidoff @ Isthmus
- Silveira, Burke victories suggest voters chose experience by local newspaper writer Jack Craver
- Silveira, Burke win in Madison School Board races by local newspaper writer Matthew DeFour
- Silveria, Burke Win Madison School Board Seats by channel3000.com
An expected outcome.
Thanks to the four citizens who ran.
The Silveira/Nichols race was interesting in that it was the first competitive school board election involving an incumbent in some time. Lawrie Kobza and Lucy Mathiak defeated incumbent candidates during the mid-2000’s. Perhaps the “success recipe” requires that the insurgent candidate have a strong local network, substantive issues and the ability to get the word out, effectively.
Arlene is a different incumbent than those defeated by Kobza & Mathiak.
That said, she has been on the board for six years, a time during which little, if any progress was made on the MMSD’s core mission: reading, writing, math and science, while spending more per student than most Districts. Perhaps the Superintendent’s looming departure offers an opportunity to address the core curricular issues.
I wish the new board well and congratulate Mary and Arlene on their victories.
Paraphrasing a friend, it is never too early to run for the School Board. Three seats are up in 2013, those currently occupied by Maya Cole, James Howard and Beth Moss.
A reader emailed a link to this M.P. King photo:
The Madison School District shared their data with the group and they decided when their next two meetings would be. Compton made some interesting/borderline comments and they have an interesting discussion about race and how housing patterns affect the schools. There was a powerpoint presentation with lots of information, without a handout, so I tried to capture it the best I could.
The meeting was moved from the Mayor’s office to Room 260 across the street. The meeting started 5 minutes late with Brian Munson, Marj Passman, Mark Clear, Judy Compton, Dave Porterfield, Brian Solomon and Marsha Rummel were the quorum. Judy Olson absent, but joined them later. City staff of Bill Clingan, Mark Olinger, Ray Harmon and Helen Dietzler. Kurt Keifer from the School District was here to present. (Bill Clingan is a former Madison School Board member. He was defeated a few years ago by Lawrie Kobza.
A few interesting notes:
Clear asks if this reflects white flight, or if this just reflects the communities changing demographics. He wants to know how much is in and out migration. Kiefer says they look more at private and parochial school attendance as portion of Dane County and MMSD. Our enrollment hasn’t changed as a percentage. There has been an increased activity in open enrollment – and those numbers have gone up from 200 to 400 kids in the last 8 – 10 years. He says the bigger factor is that they manage their enrollment to their capacities in the private and parochial schools. Even with virtual schools, not much changes. The bigger factor is the housing transition in Metropolitan area. Prime development is happening in other districts
Kiefer says smaller learning communities is what they are striving for in high schools. Kiefer says the smaller learning initiative – there is a correlation in decrease in drop out rate with the program. Compton asks about minority and Caucasian level in free lunch. She would like to see that.
Kiefer says that Midvale population is not going up despite the fact that they have the highest proportion of single detached units in Midvale – they are small houses and affordable, but also highest proportion of kids going to private and parochial schools. He says it was because of access because to parochial schools are located there. Kiefer says they think the area is changing, that the Hilldale area has been an attractor for families as well as Sequoya Commons. Family and school friendly areas and he tells the city to “Keep doing that”. He is hopeful that Hill Farms changes will be good as well.
Lucy Mathiak’s recent comments regarding the lack of substantive local media education coverage inspired a Mitch Henck discussion (actually rant) [15MB mp3 audio file]. Henck notes that the fault lies with us, the (mostly non) voting public. Apathy certainly reigns. A useful example is Monday’s School Board’s 56 minute $367,806,712 2008/2009 budget discussion. The brief chat included these topics:
- Retiring Superintendent Art Rainwater’s view on the District’s structural deficit and the decline in it’s equity (Assets – Liabilities = Equity; Britannica on the The Balance Sheet) from $48,000,000 in the year 2000 to $24,000,000 in 2006 (it is now about 8% of the budget or $20M). (See Lawrie Kobza’s discussion of this issue in November, 2006. Lawrie spent a great deal of time digging into and disclosing the structural deficits.) Art also mentioned the resulting downgrade in the District’s bond rating (results in somewhat higher interest rates).
- Marj asked an interesting question about the K-1 combination and staff scheduling vis a vis the present Teacher Union Contract.
- Lucy asked about specials scheduling (about 17 minutes).
- Maya asked about the combined K-1 Art classes (“Class and a half” art and music) and whether we are losing instructional minutes. She advocated for being “open and honest with the public” about this change. Art responded (23 minutes) vociferously about the reduction in services, the necessity for the community to vote yes on operating referendums, ACT scores and National Merit Scholars.
- Beth mentioned (about 30 minutes) that “the district has done amazing things with less resources”. She also discussed teacher tools, curriculum and information sharing.
- Ed Hughes (about 37 minutes) asked about the Madison Family Literacy initiative at Leopold and Northport. Lucy inquired about Fund 80 support for this project.
- Maya later inquired (45 minutes) about a possible increase in Wisconsin DPI’s common school fund for libraries and left over Title 1 funds supporting future staff costs rather than professional development.
- Beth (about 48 minutes) advocated accelerated computer deployments to the schools. Lucy followed up and asked about the District’s installation schedule. Johnny followed up on this matter with a question regarding the most recent maintenance referendum which included $500,000 annually for technology.
- Lucy discussed (52 minutes) contingency funds for energy costs as well as providing some discretion for incoming superintendent Dan Nerad.
But the marketplace will ultimately expose any gaps between assessment and true market value. And that could force local governments to choose between reducing spending (not likely) and hiking the mill rate (more likely) to make up for the decreasing value of real estate.
Pity the poor homeowners who see the value of their home fall 10%, 20% or even 30% with no corresponding savings in their property tax bill, or, worse yet, their tax bill goes up! Therein lie the seeds of a genuine taxpayer revolt. Brace yourselves. It’s gonna be a rough ride.
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue noted recently that Wisconsin state tax collections are up 2.3% year to date [136K PDF]. Redistributed state tax dollars represented 17.2% of the District’s revenues in 2005 (via the Citizen’s Budget).
Daniel de Vise dives into Montgomery County, Maryland’s school budget:
The budget for Montgomery County’s public schools has doubled in 10 years, a massive investment in smaller classes, better-paid teachers and specialized programs to serve growing ranks of low-income and immigrant children.
That era might be coming to an end. The County Council will adopt an education budget this month that provides the smallest year-to-year increase in a decade for public schools. County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) has recommended trimming $51 million from the $2.11 billion spending plan submitted by the Board of Education.
County leaders say the budget can no longer keep up with the spending pace of Superintendent Jerry D. Weast, who has overseen a billion-dollar expansion since his arrival in 1999. Weast has reduced elementary class sizes, expanded preschool and kindergarten programs and invested heavily in the high-poverty area of the county known around his office as the Red Zone.
“Laudable goals, objectives, nobody’s going to argue with that,” Leggett said in a recent interview at his Rockville office. “But is it affordable?”
It’s a question being asked of every department in a county whose overall budget has swelled from $2.1 billion in fiscal 1998 to $4.3 billion this year, a growth rate Leggett terms “unacceptable.”
Montgomery County enrolls 137,745 students and spent $2,100,000,000 this year ($15,245/student). Madison’s spending has grown about 50% from 1998 ($245,131,022) to 2008 ($367,806,712) while enrollment has declined slightly from 25,132 to 24,268 ($13,997/student).
I’ve not seen any local media coverage of the District’s budget this week.
Thanks to a reader for sending this in.
Marj Passman is so excited she ‘s having trouble sleeping.
Ed Hughes is sleeping just fine — so far, he adds with a chuckle.
Monday evening, Passman and Hughes will be sworn in as members of the Madison School Board. It will mark the first time either has held public office.
Their path to the board was easier than expected — both ran unopposed — and their arrival comes at an unusually quiet moment in Madison ‘s public school system. Thanks to a one-time windfall from special city of Madison taxing districts, the schools are averting budget cuts for the first time in 14 years.
But Passman, 66, a retired teacher, and Hughes, 55, a lawyer, know that by summer ‘s end the board will be deep into discussions about asking voters to approve millions of dollars in extra taxes to avoid budget cuts for coming years.
They ‘ve been doing their homework to join the board — an act that will become official with a ceremony at the board ‘s 5 p.m. meeting at the district ‘s headquarters, 545 W. Dayton St.
Passman and Hughes fill the seats held by retiring board members Carol Carstensen, the board ‘s senior member who gained detailed knowledge of issues while serving since 1990, and Lawrie Kobza, who developed a reputation for carefully scrutinizing the district ‘s operations during her single three-year term.
Related Wisconsin State Journal Editorial:
Few jobs are as difficult and thankless as serving on a local school board.
Just ask Lawrie Kobza and Carol Carstensen.
The two Madison School Board members chose not to seek re-election this spring after years of honorable and energetic service.
Their replacements — Ed Hughes and Marj Passman — were sworn in Monday evening.
The fact that no one in Madison, a city steeped in political activism, chose to challenge Hughes or Passman for the two open board seats suggests increasing wariness toward the rigors of the task.
The job comes with token pay, a slew of long meetings, frequent controversy and angry calls at home. On top of that, the state has put public schools into a vise of mandates and caps that virtually require unpopular board decisions.
A lawyer and former teacher will replace a lawyer and former teacher in the uncontested Madison school board elections on April 1. The result will be the most inexperienced board in years at a particularly important time for the city’s public schools.
The school board is perhaps the hardest-working body of local elected officials and, judging by the throngs that flock to public meetings on issues big and small, also the most democratic. While the board’s past effectiveness has been marred by infighting and grandstanding, the last two years have been much more congenial, under the presidencies of Johnny Winston Jr. and Arlene Silveira.
After the elections, the seven-member board will lose the inquisitive eye of Lawrie Kobza and the institutional memory of Carol Carstensen. Replacing them are Ed Hughes, a reserved but intriguing lawyer, and Marj Passman, a provocative and passionate retired teacher.
They will join rookies Beth Moss and Maya Cole, who are still struggling to master the issues. Silveira is likely to remain president, and Winston will be the most senior member. Rounding out the board is Lucy Mathiak, whose temper, colleagues say, has muted her effectiveness.
Ed Hughes, a Madison attorney, and Marj Passman, a retired local teacher, will fill two Madison School Board seats in the spring election on April 1. They are running unopposed for seats now held by Lawrie Kobza, a single-term board member, and Carol Carstensen, who has served since 1990 and is by far the most senior member of the board.
In fact, when Hughes and Passman join the board, only Johnny Winston Jr. will have served more than one three-year term.
James Ely, an East High School custodian who had filed papers Dec. 27 with the City Clerk’s Office to register as a candidate for Carstensen’s Seat 7, decided to withdraw from the race because he was unable to complete the necessary filing information to change his candidacy to a run for Kobza’s Seat 6.
Hughes is running for Seat 7, and Passman is the candidate for Seat 6. Neither Hughes nor Passman has previously served on the board, although Passman lost a race last year against Maya Cole.
I hope your school year is going well. Below is the October BOE update. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact myself at firstname.lastname@example.org or the entire board at email@example.com Arlene Silveira Superintendent Search: Our consultants presented a summary of the community input sessions on the desired characteristics for a new … Continue reading Board of Education Progress Report — October, 2007
Mary Yeater Rathbun: Bill Clingan will become part of a bridge between the mayor’s office and the Madison School District if the City Council confirms Clingan’s appointment as the director of its new Economic and Community Development Department. As Mayor Dave Cieslewicz told the Capital Times editorial Board this week, the city has no real … Continue reading Madison Mayor’s Perspective on the Schools
Susan Troller The Capital Times September 25, 2007 Football coach Barry Switzer’s famous quote, “Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple,” could easily apply to schools and school districts that take credit for students who enter school with every advantage and continue as high achievers all … Continue reading Board Talks Will Focus on a New Blueprint
Madison United for Academic Excellence has a meeting this evening: Out of Level Testing Opens Doors of Opportunity, Midwest Academic Talent Search—MATS),” 7:00 p.m. McDaniels Auditorium, Doyle Administration Building, 545 W. Dayton Street. [Map] This chart presents a useful opportunity to review spending via the handy $339M+ MMSD Citizen’s Budget for 2007-2008 (The citizen’s budget … Continue reading Madison School District Talented & Gifted Spending vs. Total Budget
A Capital Times Editorial: The decision of Madison School Board member Lawrie Kobza not to seek a second term, while anticipated, is both significant and troubling. Along with veteran Carol Carstensen, who will also step down after next April’s election, Kobza is a School Board member who has seriously embraced the difficult work of budgeting. … Continue reading Kobza’s exit is a serious matter
Andy Hall: Madison School Board Vice President Lawrie Kobza announced Monday that she won’t seek re-election, and retired teacher Marj Passman immediately jumped into the race to succeed her. Kobza’s move guarantees that the board will gain two new members in the April 1 election. “I’ve very much appreciated the opportunity to serve on the … Continue reading Kobza decides to not run for school board next year
Indianapolis Star-Tribune Editorial: At the beginning of the 2005-06 school year, there were 969 seniors left in Indianapolis Public Schools’ graduating class. By the end of the school year, nearly 1,300 seniors collected diplomas from the district. Yes, you read that correctly. IPS had 33 percent more graduates than seniors who began the year, the … Continue reading Let’s get real about Indiana school data
Video / 20MB Mp3 Audio Superintendent Art Rainwater gave a presentation on “Value Added Assessment” to the Madison School Board’s Performance & Achievement committee Monday evening. Art described VAA “as a method to track student growth longitudinally over time and to utilize that data to look at how successful we are at all levels of … Continue reading “Value Added Assessment” Madison School Board’s Performance & Achievement Committee Looks at “A Model to Measure Student Performance”
A few weeks ago, the Madison BOE received a summary of what the board and its committees had done in its meetings during the past year. I am posting the entire document as an extended entry as community information. It provides a lot more detail, a good overview, and a glimpse at the pieces that … Continue reading Board of Education Activity in 2006-07
John Matthews: The union is obligated to represent its members interests. The union surveyed its members prior to entering bargaining and the members spoke loudly and clearly: Retain our health insurance options. MTI members value Wisconsin Physicians Service because it enables freedom of choice in medical providers. And MTI members value the services of Group … Continue reading Insurance coverage teachers’ top priority
Wisconsin State Journal Editorial: The district proposed to add two more HMO options for teachers. If a teacher chose any of the three HMO options, the district would pay the full premium. But if a teacher chose the high-cost WPS option, the district would pay only up to the cost of the highest-priced HMO plan. … Continue reading Cut Costs for Teacher Health Insurance (Or Not)
The Madison School Board voted 4-3 (for: Carstensen, Moss, Silveira and Winston; no: Cole, Kobza and Mathiak) Monday evening to approve the proposed MMSD / MTI 2007 – 2009 agreement. The new arrangement, which does not include substantial health care changes, was set in motion by the “Voluntary Impasse Resolution Document” – also approved by … Continue reading Audio / Video: Madison School Board Vote on the MTI 2007 – 2009 Agreement
Assignments to Standing Committees for 2007-08: Communications Beth Moss, ChairCarol Carstensen, MemberLawrie Kobza, Member Community Partnerships Maya Cole, ChairLucy Mathiak, MemberJohnny Winston, Jr., Member Finance & Operations Lucy Mathiak, ChairCarol Carstensen, MemberMaya Cole, Member Human Resources Johnny Winston, Jr. ChairLawrie Kobza, MemberBeth Moss, Member Long Range Planning Carol Carstensen, ChairLucy Mathiak, MemberBeth Moss, Member Performance … Continue reading 2007 – 2008 Madison Board of Education Committee Assignments
Susan Lampert Smith: So kids, what did we learn from the Madison School Board’s decision Monday to reverse itself and not consolidate the half-empty Marquette and Lapham elementary schools? We learned that no doesn’t really mean no. We learned that, oops, maybe there is money after all. And most importantly, we learned that whoever yells … Continue reading Madison School Board “Kowtows to Complainers”
Susan Troller: When newly elected Madison School Board members Maya Cole and Beth Moss went into Monday night’s crucial budget meeting, both intended to vote against closing schools, consistent with their campaign promises. But by the time the seven-member board patched together the various cuts, additions and compromises necessary to restore some programs and services … Continue reading Board members explain votes to close schools
Susan Troller: Board members tussled over dozens of suggestions to try to find money to return various programs and services to the district that had been cut by the administration in an effort to balance the $339.6 million budget. The administration had originally proposed about $8 million in cuts, including $2 million from special education … Continue reading 2007 / 2008 Budget Approved: School Board keeps Lindbergh open
Susan Troller: The district and Madison Teachers Inc. exchanged initial proposals Wednesday to begin negotiations on a new two-year contract that will run through June 30, 2009. The current one expires June 30. “Frankly, I was shocked and appalled by the school district’s initial proposal because it was replete with take-backs in teachers’ rights as … Continue reading MMSD / MTI Contract Negotiations Begin: Health Care Changes Proposed
Fund Balance as Percent of General Fund Expenditures FY 2000 Thru FY 2006Source: Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance FY 00 FY 01 FY 02 FY 03* FY 04 FY 05 FY 06* K-8 AVERAGE 22.4% 15.7% 20.3% 18.0% 20.2% 20.0% 18.6% UHS AVERAGE 24.1% 22.3% 23.6% 21.2% 25.8% 25.4% 22.6% K-12 AVERAGE 15.2% 23.9% 15.1% 13.8% 14.5% … Continue reading Deficit Spending: Declining Madison School District Equity Fund Balance
Madison School Board member Lucy Mathiak’s proposed 2007 / 2008 MMSD budget amendments. The 07/08 budget will grow from $333M+ on 06/07 to $339M+. Much more on the budget, here. 2006 / 2007 MMSD citizen’s budget [2007 / 2008 35K PDF – thanks to Chan S. for sending this link in] Lucy mentioned that she … Continue reading Lucy Mathiak’s Proposed 2007 – 2008 MMSD Budget Amendments
The new Madison School Board heard a brief strings performance from some students this evening at a Memorial High School budget hearing.Left to right: Jacinth Sohi, Beth Moss, Carol Carstensen, Maya Cole, Johnny Winston, Jr., Lawrie Kobza, Arlene Silveira and Lucy Mathiak.
The month of April brings showers; however, for the Madison BOE it brings new beginnings, budget challenges and community dialogue. First, regarding new beginnings, let me congratulate Beth Moss and Maya Cole on their election onto the Madison School Board. They will be replacing the retiring Shwaw Vang and Ruth Robarts. Our community should be … Continue reading April Board of Education Progress Report – Johnny Winston, Jr.
The month of April brings showers, however, for the Madison BOE it brings new beginnings, budget challenges and community dialogue.
The Isthmus article Blame for the media illustrates a long-obvious truth: John Matthews is Madison’s Mayor Daley, a ward boss of our very own, and he gets very angry when his political control slips. Matthews wanted to control the selection of Board members for three seats in 2007. Odd-year elections are especially important to Madison … Continue reading Madison BOE elections 2007: Voters 2, MTI 1
Tuesday, April 3rd Madison votes returned Johnny Winston, Jr., to the School Board and elected two new board members – Maya Cole and Beth Moss. Election of Cole, Moss may ease thoughts of school closings As candidates, both Cole and Moss have said they would look for other places to make cuts rather than disrupt … Continue reading Cole, Moss and Winston – Newly Elected and Re-Elected to the MMSD School Board
Ruth Robarts’ roller coaster DOUG ERICKSON 608-252-6149 firstname.lastname@example.org Ruth Robarts steps down April 23 after 10 years on the Madison School Board, and, no, she’s not expecting a cake from her colleagues. Although Robarts first ran as a facilitator – “That didn’t work out so well,” she says now with a guffaw – she became … Continue reading Ruth Robarts Deserves a Medal
Jason Shephard: As a teacher-centered lesson ended the other morning at Midvale Elementary School, about 15 first-graders jumped up from their places on the carpeted rug and dashed to their personal bins of books. Most students quickly settled into two assigned groups. One read a story about a fox in a henhouse with the classroom … Continue reading How can we help poor students achieve more?
East Side school plan opposed DEBORAH ZIFF 608-252-6120 March 19, 2007 Waving bright signs and chanting, dozens of parents, kids, and teachers converged at a School Board meeting Monday night to protest proposed budget cuts that could consolidate elementary and middle schools on the East Side. Earlier this month, Madison school officials proposed addressing a … Continue reading East Side school plan opposed
Doug Erickson on the 2007/2008 $345M budget (up from $333M in 2006/2007) for 24,342 students): As feared by some parents, the recommendations also included a plan to consolidate schools on the city’s East Side. Marquette Elementary students would move to Lapham Elementary and Sherman Middle School students would be split between O’Keeffe and Black Hawk … Continue reading “Bitter Medicine for Madison Schools”:
07/08 budget grows 3.6% from 333M (06/07) to $345M with Reductions in the Increase
I’ve received some emails on this story. It seems there are two approaches to “fixing” the Madison School District’s $333M+ budget for our 24,342 students. Blame the state/federal government, or work locally to build support for our public schools in terms of volunteer hours, partnerships and money. I believe that latter approach is far more … Continue reading Governor Doyle’s Proposed Budget Does Not Save the Madison School District:
Proposed Budget provides 65% of public school costs via redistributed sales, income, corporate taxes and fees, rather than 67%.
March Madness is approaching! On the board level, madness can be characterized by the large assortments of topics and decisions that have been or will need to be made such as the superintendent search, budget, and other serious issues that require time, analysis and public discussion. I would like to give you a brief report … Continue reading March Madison BOE Progress Report
The Madison School Board voted down the proposed Studio Charter School Monday night in a 4-2 vote (Against: Carstensen, Kobza, Silveira and Winston; For Mathiak and Robarts with Vang away). Sparks flew when Lucy Mathiak asked Nancy Donahue about their interaction with the attempts to talk with principals and teachers about the proposed charter school … Continue reading Sparks Fly as the Madison Studio Charter School is Voted Down
It will be interesting to see how voters on February 20 and April 3 view this decision by a majority of the Madison School Board: Should the Board and Administration continue to give away their ability to negotiate health care benefits ($43.5M of the 2006/2007 budge) before MTI union bargaining begins? Read the 2005 MMSD/MTI … Continue reading Concessions Made in Advance of MTI Negotiations by a Majority of the Madison School Board
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 … Continue reading Late January School Board Progress Report
The Madison School Board’s 2006/2007 Goals for Superintendent Art Rainwater included the “Initiatiation and completion of a comprehensive, independent and neutral review and assessment of the District’s K-12 math curriculum”. Watch the discussion [Video] and read a memo [240K PDF] from the Superintendent regarding his plans for this goal. Much more here and here. Barbara … Continue reading Madison School Board Discusses an Independent Math Curriculum Review
A few weeks ago when the Madison School Board was finalizing the budget for the current academic year, Vice-President Lawrie Kobza pointed out two very serious problems. First, the district has been overstating expected revenues in recent years during the months when the board was reviewing and approving the budgets. Second, the district has been … Continue reading Structural budget deficit will increase MMSD revenue shortfall for 2007-08
Susan Troller’s piece today on the larger than usual reduction in “revenue cap limited” increases (say that quickly) in the Madison School District’s $332M+ 2007/2008 budget is interesting, from my perspective, due to what is left unsaid: The District has been running a “structural deficit for years, revealed only recently after school board Vice President … Continue reading 2007/2008 Madison School District Budget Outlook: Half Empty or Half Full?
Happy Holidays to everyone! Despite the cold weather, the Madison Board of Education continues its work.
If Jason Shepard is correct, West will stay as is during the review process, heterogeneous classes is the goal and the study committee will not include parents or teachers.
If the BOE doesn’t step in right now, it’s all over. I hadn’t quite understood what Ed Blume has been writing about here structurally as much as I do at this moment. This process will be driven to Rainwater’s foregone conclusions. The BOE must frame the questions and decide who is on this committee. And if it’s truly a tabula rasa, let’s put West on the same footing as East, that is, undo the changes the Rainwater administration shoved through.
Wikipedia | US Census Bureau A quick note to thank the Madison School Board (Johnny Winston, Jr., President; Lawrie Kobza, Vice President; Carol Carstensen, Treasurer; Shwaw Vang, Clerk; Lucy Mathiak, Ruth Robarts and Arlene Silveira) for publicly discussing and addressing a number of issues this year: The Superintendent’s Review (something that was not done for … Continue reading Thanksgiving
The Madison Board of Education has completed the evaluation of Superintendent Art Rainwater for the 2005-06 school year. The Board met several times since September in executive session to complete the Superintendent Appraisal Report and discuss goals for this year. We also discussed the goals from last year in open session, which the Superintendent has … Continue reading BOE has completed the evaluation of the Superintendent
A week ago, I said people who want change in the MMSD are a bunch of damn fools. We keep raising issues and making suggestions, but nothing changes. The champions of management without input must laugh themselves to sleep every night, I thought. However, the forces of board and citizen control may have gained an … Continue reading Did the tide turn last week?
video here There’s been a fascinating school board discussion over the past few weeks as the 2006/2007 $332M+ Madison schools budget is finalized. (about 41 minutes into this 61 minute video clip) Lawrie Kobza: “Why did our equity go down this past year since we, the board, passed a balanced budget in 2005/2006? Why did … Continue reading A bit of Sunshine on the Madison School District’s Budget Process: 2006/2007 Madison School District Budget & $6M “Structural Deficit” Discussions
I would like to thank our community for their passage of the referendum on November 7th. This referendum will build a new school in Linden Park, finance the cafeteria and remodeling of Leopold Elementary and refinance existing debt…
On September 25, the Human Resources Committee of the Madison School Board heard a presentation from Robert Butler, a negotiations consultant from the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, about the ever-increasing costs for employee health insurance for school districts. Mr. Butler also recommended steps for the district to take in the future. The committee meets … Continue reading 9/25/2006 Health Insurance Presentation
I’ve updated the election page with information and links regarding the November 7, 2006 selection. Links include the Madison School District’s information page, boundary changes and the open government complaint documents (and District Attorney Brian Blanchard’s recent response) related to the School Board’s closed meetings over the Linden Park land purchase. A motion to make … Continue reading November 7, 2006 Referendum & Election Page Update
Via a Johnny Winston, Jr. email: Welcome back to school! I hope you had a wonderful summer. On August 28th the Madison school board approved plans Plan CP2a and Plan CP3a relative to boundary changes that will be necessary if the November 7th referendum to construct an elementary school on the Linden Park site passes … Continue reading Madison School District Progress Report
In August the Human Resources Committee of the Madison School Board—Lawrie Kobza, Shwaw Vang and I–voted unanimously to adopt committee goals for 2006-07 previously presented in this blog. Human Resources Committee of Madison Board To Set Agenda Accordingly, Bob Butler, a collective bargaining consultant from the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, will discuss why and … Continue reading First item on Human Resources Agenda for MMSD: Negotiating health care costs with employees
WKOW-TV: Regardless how people in Madison vote this November the school board will make boundary changes, forcing some students into new schools. Two options were chosen Monday night to deal with overcrowding. The first option reflects what the district would look like if the referendum passes. The second option on the table is in case … Continue reading Fall Referendum: Madison School District Boundary Changes
On Monday, August 21 the Human Resources Committee of the Madison School Board will have its first meeting at 7:00 p.m. in Room 103 of the Doyle Administration Building (545 West Dayton Street). Following a goal-setting meeting of the Board on June 19, the committee will address a number of important issues, beginning with alternative … Continue reading Human Resources Committee of Madison Board To Set Agenda
The editorial board of the Wisconsin State Journal credits the election of Lawrie Kobza, Lucy Mathiak and Arlene Silveira for helping the Madison School board to begin to move in new directions. New blood betters School Board
Some interesting changes in the Madison School Board’s Governance this week: Renewed administrator contracts for one year rather than the customary two years. Via Sandy Cullen: The administration had proposed a two year wage and benefit package for administrators, but School Board President Johnny Winston Jr. said board members did not want to be locked … Continue reading Change
Thank you to students, parents and community members who wrote to and spoke before the School Board in support of elementary strings. It may seem, at times, that your letters or statements fall on deaf ears, but that is not the case. Each and every letter and each and every statement of support is critical … Continue reading Kobza, Mathiak, Robarts and Vang Vote Yes to Support Elementary Strings: Carstensen, Silveira and Winston Vote No And Support Cutting Elementary Strings
On Wednesday, May 31st, the MMSD School Board will consider amendments to the 2006-2007 school budget proposed by the Superintedent. In his proposal, the Superintendent proposed cutting Grade 4 strings this year and Grade 5 strings the end of next year. One amendment to be discussed on Wednesday would have Grade 4 strings 1x per … Continue reading Continue Elementary Strings – 550 Low-Income Children Deserve the Opportunity to Proudly Play Their Instruments
Dear Madison Community, Children and parents are encouraged to speak in support of elementary strings and to bring their instruments to tonight’s School Board public hearing on the budget if they would like to play. My husband, Fred Schrank, who is the principal bassist with the MSO and who teaches orchestra to elementary and middle … Continue reading Speak Up for Strings Tonight: Public Appearances at Board Public Hearing On the Budget – 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 9th at Memorial High School
Via a Johnny Winston, Jr. email: Dear Members of the Madison Media: I am pleased to announce the following Madison School Board standing committee assignments: Finance and Operations: Lawrie Kobza, Chair – Carol Carstensen & Lucy Mathiak Long Range Planning: Carol Carstensen, Chair – Lawrie Kobza & Arlene Silveira Human Resources: Ruth Robarts, Chair – … Continue reading Announcement of 2006/2007 Madison School Board Committee Assignments
Channel3000: The Madison school board voted 4–3 Monday night to include additions to Leopold Elementary School in next year’s operating budget. A final vote will come at a later meeting, but this essentially means that construction can start with our without a referendum. Background on Leopold here. Johnny Winston, Jr., Juan Jose Lopez, Bill Keys … Continue reading Leopold Additions Included in 2006 MMSD Operating Budget
Sandy Cullen: A behind-the-scenes dispute over whether Madison School Board member Lawrie Kobza should be allowed to vote on the district’s next teachers contract has led to her questioning the legality of the teachers bargaining unit. That, in turn, has brought charges from Madison Teachers Inc. that Kobza is trying to break up the teachers … Continue reading Legality of teacher bargaining unit questioned
Arguably every school board election is important, but this one is critical—this is a race for control of the majority. Maya Cole and Lucy Mathiak, two admirable, excellent candidates on their own, if elected today will shift the majority, in combination with Ruth Robarts and Lawrie Kobza. The result will be a new day in … Continue reading VOTE
Dear Editor, For the past five years I’ve been a volunteer tutor at a Madison elementary school with high minority enrollment, and I’ve seen firsthand how the district has failed to respond adequately to its changing demographics. Minority students remain underserved and under-educated by a rigid, one-size- fits-all curriculum that promotes politically correct symbolism more … Continue reading CURRENT BOARD FAILS OUR MINORITY STUDENTS
This past Monday, I learned that the PAC Get Real planned to take out independent ads urging people to vote for Maya Cole and me for school board. I have spoken with Get Real members and have been clear with Get Real and its leadership from the start: I do not accept PAC money or … Continue reading Get Real PAC Money
Sandy Cullen: Who wins the two seats up for grabs on the Madison School Board could have a major impact on how the seven-member board deals with challenges ranging from budgets to curriculum. The outcome of Tuesday’s pivotal election could shift the board majority from members some perceive as being too accepting of a course … Continue reading School Board Election is Pivotal
Capital Times, March 30, 2006 By John Nichols Paul Wellstone has been dead for a long three years, and yet there is rarely a national political debate that does not cause me to think: What would Wellstone do? The late Minnesota senator was an epic political figure, who fought not just against right-wing Republicans but … Continue reading John Nichols: Maya Cole’s no closet conservative
Beth Swedeen: Silveira best pick for School Board A letter to the editor Dear Editor: Arlene Silveira is the best choice for Madison School Board. She has shown her commitment to the overall issues facing the district through activities such as the effort to support a referendum last year and tireless work on the boundary … Continue reading TODAY’S CAPITAL TIMES LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
From The Capital Times, March 29, 2006 Dear Editor: The recent years’ actions of our Madison School Board create a nice template for a new reality television series, “School Boards Behaving Badly!” The passionate, yet appropriately measured, and get-things-done approaches of Ruth Robarts and Lawrie Kobza would be complemented quite well by Maya Cole and … Continue reading Michael Maguire: No business as usual for Cole, Mathiak
Last Thursday, the Isthmus newspaper published an extensive article by Jason Shepard entitled “The Fate of the Schools.” While the article covered many areas of interest regarding the school district and the upcoming school board elections, we have significant concerns about the way in which the article was written. These concerns include: CONTEXT: • The … Continue reading REFLECTIONS ON ISTHMUS ARTICLE, “THE FATE OF THE SCHOOLS” BY 22 PARENTS AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS
A Cap Times editorial It has been a good long while since Madison Metropolitan School District voters have had an opportunity to vote for a new School Board candidate who is as prepared as Arlene Silveira is to hit the ground running and to have an immediately positive impact on the process. The parent of … Continue reading Cap Times Heartily Endorses Silveira for Seat #1
Will the Madison district sink or swim? April 4th elections could prove pivotal At the end of an especially divisive Madison school board meeting, Annette Montegomery took to the microphone and laid bare her frustrations with the seven elected citizens who govern Madison schools. “I don’t understand why it takes so long to get anything … Continue reading The fate of the schools
Madison School Board candidates Juan Jose Lopez and Lucy Mathiak look at what is happening in schools here in very different ways, but on at least one issue they are in complete agreement: Public education here and throughout the Badger State is at a critical crossroads. But the two candidates vying for School Board Seat … Continue reading Candidates agree education is at crossroads
Next year’s projected operating budget shortfall is $8 million – projected expenses will exceed revenues by that amount. For 13 years the growth in expenses have exceeded what the district received and was allowed to receive from the a) state and federal government revenues and b) allowed growth in revenues from property taxes. Further, the … Continue reading Are Administrators Golden?
Carol Carstensen: Parent Group Presidents: BUDGET FACTOID: The Community Service Fund (known for its state accounting code, Fund 80) is not under the revenue cap; these services are funded by a combination of fees and a separate portion of the tax levy. Madison School Community Recreation (MSCR) represents more than 80% of these expenditures. Some … Continue reading Carol Carstensen’s Weekly Update
Arlene Silveira and other Leopold referendum supporters addressed the MMSD Board of Education a few days after the failed referendum. I posted my reactions on June 6, 2005: Leopold school supporters packed room 103 of the Doyle Building to speak at a meeting of the Long Range Planning Committee on Monday evening, June 6. Arlene … Continue reading Arlene Silviera’s post-referendum comments
Thanks for the link to the minutes of the October 31 meeting in the other thread. I found the document fascinating, and am posting it here (with the portion of the meeting devoted to expungement deleted for length reasons) for those who are following the equity task force. The discussion leading up to the charge … Continue reading Minutes from Board Meeting to Create the Equity Task Force
Carol Carstensen: Parent Group Presidents: BUDGET FACTOID: MTI has just informed the district that it will not agree to reopen negotiations to consider changes to health insurance. If the union had agreed to reopen negotiations on this point, the agreement was that any savings that resulted from a change in health insurance options would be … Continue reading Carol Carstensen’s Weekly Message
Kobza Says Most Of Board Rejects Idea A new Madison School District report that outlines how Lapham Elementary School students could be moved to the Marquette-O’Keeffe school site has rattled parents and staff, but the School Board member who requested the analysis says she doubts it will go anywhere. As outlined in the report, the … Continue reading Lapham Student Move Called Unlikely
Madison school politics make for some strange bedfellows. Take the case of the Feb. 21 primary race for the School Board, in which three candidates are vying for the seat left open by incumbent Bill Keys’ decision not to seek re-election. The marketing manager of a Madison-based biotechnology giant has been endorsed by the powerful … Continue reading Alliances Are Unconventional In School Board Primary Race
Two interesting notes, among many, I’m sure from Monday evening’s Madison School Board meeting: Johnny Winston, Jr. introduced a motion for the Administration to look at acquiring land in Fitchburg for a new school. This motion passed 5-1, with Bill Keys voting no (and Juan Jose Lopez absent). Ruth Robarts advocated curriculum changes as a … Continue reading Notes from Monday’s Madison School Board Meeting
Kurt Gutknecht, writing in the Fitchburg Star about the recent Board and public discussion of the East / West Task Forces: There was a sense of déjà vu when the Madison Metropolitan School Board met Jan. 30 when the schism that fractured it last year – and which appeared to be a key factor in … Continue reading School board divided again over plans to reduce overcrowding
BUDGET FACTOID: Of the MTI-represented employees in the district, more than 50% take their health insurance with Group Health (the lowest cost of any of the HMO’s). February 6th MEETINGS : 5 p.m. Finance & Operations Committee (Johnny Winston Jr., chair): Report on the $100 Budget exercise in January 173 people participated in the exercise; … Continue reading Carol Carstensen’s Weekly Update
Sandy Cullen: The Madison School District should purchase land now for a future school in Fitchburg, rather than build an addition on crowded Leopold Elementary School, School Board member Lawrie Kobza said. But in the interim, that would likely mean Fitchburg students who now attend Leopold would be reassigned to Lincoln and Midvale schools, where … Continue reading Leopold: Add on or Build New School in Fitchburg?
Video | MP3 Audio Monday evening’s Board meeting presented a rather animated clash of wills between, it appears, those (A majority of the Board, based on the meeting discussions) who support Fitchburg’s Swan Creek residents and their desire to remain at a larger Leopold School vs. those who favor using existing District schools that have … Continue reading East / West Task Force Report: Board Discussion and Public Comments
By Susan Troller, The Capital Times, January 31, 2006 Madison voters may be looking at another referendum on school building this spring to address overcrowding issues, but the School Board appears split in its support of taking the issue to the voters. School Board President Carol Carstensen has recommended that the administration prepare language that … Continue reading School Board split on referendum: must vote by Feb. 17
A 2006 budget staffing discussion to come before the School Board tonight is about changes to administrative positions for next school year outlined in a memo to the School Board from the Superintendent. (Download memo on administrative changes for 2006-2007). The Superintendent is intending to save money through the elimination of several positions via resignations … Continue reading Will the MMSD School Board Majority Appear to Let Administrators Preserve Jobs – Their Own?
Jason Shepherd writing in the December 29, 2005 Isthmus: Superintendent Art Rainwater: says the “most frustrating” part of his job is knowing there are ways to boost achievement with more resources, but not being able to allocate them. Instead, the district must each year try to find ways to minimize the hurt. Board member Lawrie … Continue reading 2006-2007 MMSD Budget Comments
Sandy Cullen: Those options would move between 316 and 620 students. Some students at Leopold, Chavez, Falk, Thoreau, Stephens and Huegel would go to existing schools, while some students from Crestwood, Huegel, Stephens and Chavez would attend a new school. School Board member Lawrie Kobza questioned why an option moving fewer students, which had been … Continue reading Task Forces Present Early Options
Parent Group Presidents: BUDGET FACTOID: The Qualified Economic Offer (Q.E.O.) law provides that a district which offers its teachers a combined salary and benefit package of at least 3.8% can avoid going to binding arbitration. The practical impact is that a district must offer at least 3.8%. Over the 12 years of revenue caps, the … Continue reading Weekly Email From Board President Carol Carstensen
This week is the official start of the spring campaign season, and three local parents are launching bids for Madison’s board of education. Arlene Silveira, 47, the president of Cherokee middle school’s parent-teacher organization, and Maya Cole, 42, an active member of the parent-teacher group at Franklin-Randall, are seeking the open seat being vacated by … Continue reading They’re off and running: Three new faces seek seats on Madison’s school board
Following up on my 10/12/2005 Open Records request regarding closed discussions (particularly the terms) of the Madison School District’s purchase of land for a new elementary school on the far west side, I recently filed the following open records complaint with District Attorney Brian Blanchard: Background: Bill Lueders Lawrie Kobza Marisue Horton Ruth Robarts
In her posting, “Westside Land Purchase – was public if you were interested“, Marisue Horton suggests that I, as chair of the Madison School Board’s Legislative Committee “start making recommendations for change. Start changing the process instead of sitting around and bitching about it.” I am not suggesting that we need new processes. Like Lawrie … Continue reading Should MMSD Board Follow Open Meetings Laws or Change Them?
WKOW-TV: The board voted four to two to spend 525-thousand dollars for the land. The purchase was almost tabled by two school board members, which included Lawrie Kobza. Lawrie Kobza said, ‘I believed the negotiations were finished we should of been talking about these things in the public really for the last month in a … Continue reading Far West Land Purchase – Approved