Madison Metropolitan School District
Madison, Wisconsin

Art Rainwater, Superintendent
Minutes for Communications
October 1, 2007
Doyle Administration Building
545 West Dayton Street, Auditorium
Madison, Wisconsin

Communications Committee meeting was called to order by Chair Beth Moss at 6 p.m.

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

Citizen Members Deb Anken-Dyer (arrived 6:05 p.m.), Deb Gurke, Dale Holmen, and Wayne Strong


OTHER BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Maya Cole, Lucy Mathiak, Arlene Silveira, Johnny Winston, Jr.


STAFF PRESENT: Steve Hartley, Pam Nash, Joe Quick, Art Rainwater, Marcia Standiford, Ken Syke, 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 September 10, 2007 as distributed. Motion unanimously carried by those present.

2. Public Appearances

There were no public appearances.

3. Announcements

There were no announcements.

4. Legislative Update

(Written materials provided at the meeting: Memorandum from Joe Quick dated 10/1/07 re: 2007-09 Biennial Budget K-12 Update - attached to the original of these minutes.)

Legislative Liaison Joe Quick reviewed the update he also provided in written form regarding the State 2007 09 Biennial Budget. He highlighted the items important for the school district and noted that K-12 budget items have been agreed upon, but there is not agreement upon whether to allow passage of a portion of the budget. Attached to his memorandum is a summary from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau of a proposal relating to K-12 school funding, the school levy tax credit, and shared revenue. The District will receive resources for the school year, the question is where the funding will come from.


Letters in support of passage of the budget should be addressed to Sen. Judy Robson and Speaker Michael Hibsch.

Advocacy for repeal of revenue caps is not an issue now for either Democrats or Republicans, but can be noted as a topic for the future.

Budget numbers presented are the basis for the PMA calculation of budget gap projection.

If the QEO is eliminated, the impact would be in the long- rather than short-term.

5. Presentation on Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools (WAES)

(Written materials provided in advance: Wisconsin Alliance for Effective Schools Core Principles, Solving Wisconsin's School-Funding Problem, Wisconsin Adequacy Plan Draft. Written materials provided at the meeting: Executive Summary of Moving from Good to Great in Wisconsin: Funding Schools Adequately and Doubling Student Performance. Copies are attached to the original of these minutes.)

Tom Beebe, leader of the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools, shared information about this state-wide coalition working toward comprehensive school funding reform. The Alliance began as a project for the Institute for Wisconsin's Future and has been funded by grants. Beginning January 1, it will become independent and may become a dues-paying organization. Mr. Beebe's purpose in coming before the committee is to encourage the school district to continue as a member. He noted a hearing scheduled November 15 regarding the Pope-Roberts legislation which will begin the discussion about school funding. WAES feels it is important that a plan will be considered and they hope to make the plan the best that it can be. They welcomed specific questions and feedback.


Membership just beginning (Milwaukee a member), some funding carried over from grants as seed money to begin, anticipate $200/district and .25/student.

WAES job might be performed by lobbyists in those districts that have them. (WAES different because it is state-wide.)

Only organization working to connect grassroots organizations. Special groups also joining.

Discussion of dollar amounts in the Wisconsin Adequacy Plan - fall short for Madison. Do not catch up later; still fall short. There are better supports for low-income children than lower class size after grade 3. Concern about ELL reimbursement.

6. Finalize Committee Goals for 2007-2008

(Written materials provided at the meeting: Communications Committee Goals 2007-08 - attached to the original copy of these minutes.)

Beth Moss presented proposed Communications Committee goals for 2007-08. Based on suggestions and comments made at this meeting, she will revise them and bring them back to the committee for review at the next meeting.


Request presentation by ABC Madison.

Request presentation by Ken Syke or Joe Quick about how information will be disseminated regarding the November 15 Pope-Roberts resolution kick-off.

Committee will assist in gathering public input for decisions made by the Board, creating a more open process in decision-making. Committee will hold community conversations that include citizens district-wide, including those who usually do not weigh in on school issues.


Should be the first goal and stand alone. Need to look at non-traditional ways to get people to come - specific recruiting efforts.

Several groups now doing this, time better spent encouraging citizens to attend those forums; they have resources to advertise.

Legislative: (a) Committee will serve as a source of information regarding school funding reform action. Will continue community education and call to action. Will partner with advocacy organizations to encourage attendance at forums and other gatherings promoting action to change school funding laws. (b) Committee will work with and support the citizen group, ABC Madison, which spun off from last year's communication committee. citizen groups in general.


ABC Madison showing potential as a group, put together a small presentation.

Concern about partnering with specific advocacy and citizen groups.

Perhaps resurrect school liaisons for legislative issues. (Legislative and funding issues information disseminated through "MMSD Today.")

Public Relations/Media Communication: (a) Committee will look at how the District manages crisis communications, in areas of consistency and effectiveness. (b) Committee will look at school/home communication policy.


Inconsistency among schools about the types of information parents receive and how it is disseminated. (Some district information provided uniformly through handbooks, individual schools provide information, and there is non-district information provided through backpack mail.)

7. Wisconsin Way Initiative

Beth Moss noted the Committee received a presentation at the last meeting about the Wisconsin Way Initiative and that the Initiative is seeking formal partners/sponsors. The Committee will encourage participation at their Forum on December 6. Beth Moss and Carol Carstensen will attend their initial training session.


Encourage participation in forum but hesitant to become formal sponsor of any institution. Not ready to formally sponsor any group at this point.

Important for organizations to have "muscle"; can withdraw support at any time.

Not sure there would be sufficient "return"; would be critical to have a "seat at the table."

Asking for help to train community leaders and encourage participation at local forum.

Premature to support a plan now. Critical to get attention for the issue, not which group. When proposals are specific, support the right one.

Need discussions to get to the point of a plan. Need to take some action based on faith.

Beth Moss noted there did not seem to be consensus about becoming a sponsor/partner at this point.

8. Other Business

There was no other business.

9. Adjournment

It was moved by Wayne Strong and seconded by Deb Gurke to adjourn the meeting at 7:13 p.m. Motion unanimously carried.