Madison Metropolitan School District
Madison, Wisconsin

Art Rainwater, Superintendent
Minutes for Communications
September 10, 2007
Doyle Administration Building
545 West Dayton Street, Auditorium
Madison, Wisconsin

Communications Committee meeting was called to order by Chair Beth Moss at 5 p.m.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Board Members: Beth Moss, Carol Carstensen, Lawrie Kobza

Citizen Members: Deb Anken-Dyer (arrived 5:04 p.m.), Deb Gurke, Dale Holmen and Wayne Strong




STAFF PRESENT: Sue Abplanalp, Steve Hartley, Pam Nash, Joe Quick, Art Rainwater, Marcia Standiford, Ann Wilson-Recording Secretary

1. Approval of Minutes

It was moved by Lawrie Kobza and seconded by Carol Carstensen to approve the minutes of the Communications Committee meeting dated July 23, 2007 as distributed. Motion unanimously carried by those present.

2. Public Appearances

There were no public appearances.

3. Announcements

There were no announcements.

4. Introduction of New Citizen Committee Members

New citizen committee members Deb Anken-Dyer and Dale Holmen were introduced and each provided information about the reasons for their interest in serving on this committee.

5. Wisconsin Way Initiative

(Written materials provided at the meeting: The Wisconsin Way brochure and flyer announcing a public conversation about lowering property taxes and ensuring excellence in education and public service on December 6, 2007 - attached to the original of these minutes.)

Jim Wood of Wood Communications provided information about the Wisconsin Way Initiative. Wood Communications is one of the members of the coalition of Wisconsin organizations and individuals that support and fund the Initiative. The plan is to organize and facilitate a series of public gatherings around the state to gather input about what might be done to make Wisconsin taxes fairer and reduce the burden without sacrificing quality. They hope to have an agenda for change ready by May 2008.


Hard for public to understand; delivery mechanisms are complicated. Need to get together, talk, work on problems, find middle ground. Solution is down the road; school districts need money now. Don't have the sense that we have reached the problem-solving stage. Current tax structure can't provide enough money. The public understands outcome, not process, but conversation continues to be about process. One question is how we pay for schools but another is where the money comes from. Have to look in broad terms. Need jobs; don't want to be counter to economic development issues.

Debate about reducing districts ends in the solution that it can be someone else's that goes. To be valuable, need to define the cost, and identify the inefficiency.

Will it be just a matter of "changing pockets"? Will there be higher income taxes? How does that fit with what the business community thinks?

Look at ways to encourage educated students to work in Wisconsin. Need to invest in the education infrastructure at a time when we are not able to do so. Process takes long, but long-term product is good. Programs started to keep students in Wisconsin (Covenant).

Current conversation/tools are not getting the job done. Need to start a different conversation. Requires serious political change. Need to put the votes back in the middle, build consensus around the "common way"; is a national issue.

Will be difficult to structure an agenda; Wisconsin has diverse population/needs.

Believe measurement of awareness of the severity of the problem has increased. Need to come to agreement on what the problems are.

The Wisconsin Way public gathering for Madison is scheduled on Thursday, December 6, from 7-9 p.m.

7. Other Business

There was no other business.

8. Adjournment

It was moved by Lawrie Kobza and seconded by Wayne Strong to adjourn the meeting at 6 p.m. Motion unanimously carried.