Madison Metropolitan School District
Madison, Wisconsin

Art Rainwater, Superintendent
Minutes for Legislative
December 16, 2003
Doyle Administration Building
545 West Dayton Street, Room 103
Madison, Wisconsin

The Legislative Committee meeting was called to order by Chair Ruth Robarts at 8:02 a.m.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Board Members Ray Allen, Carol Carstensen, Ruth Robarts; Citizen Members Erica Rosch and Tim Saterfield



STAFF PRESENT: Mary Gulbrandsen, Roger Price, Joe Quick, Art Rainwater, Ann Wilson-Recording Secretary

1. Approval of Minutes

It was moved by Ray Allen and seconded by Carol Carstensen to approve the minutes of the Legislative Committee meeting dated November 3, 2003. Motion unanimously carried.

2. Public Appearances

There were no public appearances.

3. Announcements

There were no announcements.

4. Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) Student Demographics

5. Academic Achievement of MMSD Minority Students

Art Rainwater gave a presentation (attached to the original of these minutes) about basic demographics for the school district including enrollment, test scores, Algebra/Geometry completion rates, and attendance.

It was noted that last year's third graders were the first set of children who were in reduced classes because of SAGE from grade one on. This year, those students will have been in reduced classes since kindergarten.

Comments by Legislators: Lowering class size is critical; Democrats fought very hard for this and made it a state-wide program so that it had political muscle and a mechanism to continue. Make it clear the district supports it; need to fight using this vehicle. Will be a challenge to keep funding. Important to build alliances. Your most important message.

Cost controls - Huge push by Governor. Republicans see it as a Trojan Horse to bring in more funding for schools. Republicans will try to get it down to inflation, or cut back even more. Will want to reduce QEO.

6. Governor's Educational Excellence Task Force

Joe Quick reported he attended the third meeting of the Task Force held in Milwaukee last week. As a committee of the whole, there were presentations about finance related issues. There are subcommittees for special education, teacher supply and quality, student achievement, and early childhood. The Governor has asked for recommendations in the spring.

The special education subcommittee is chaired by Mark Bugher who is knowledgeable about special education funding. He has asked that Jack Jorgensen make a presentation to the subcommittee in January. This subcommittee will be looking at public information, funding for special education, accountability, prevention (interventions for students), and qualified educators. ESL and foreign language learners were referred to the student achievement subcommittee.

The full committee will meet again in January in Hayward and in Platteville and will set a February meeting. The Special Education subcommittee meets again on January 5.

Joe Quick continues to monitor the meetings and is working with other educational groups. Working with other organizations will be important, and it should focus on the success of SAGE across the state. Other issues will be in the forefront for this budget, including economic development and the environment. The legislature will have to contend with education issues a year from now.

Comments by Legislators: As fewer students are referred and identified for special education, need to support programs. Emphasize link with lower class size and more individual attention for students. Keep statistical information.

Need to develop coalitions. Can't rely indefinitely on referendum - negatives pretty high. Need to prepare for education push by Governor in next budget session - do it then, or lose it.

Getting letters from property taxpayers - referendum will not be reliable. Republicans will propose a Constitutional amendment relative to referenda that would not allow the Governor to reduce property taxes. Need to form coalitions.

Avoid fight between local governments and schools. Problem is an unfair tax structure. Burden is on residential homeowner - a narrowing group. Those who want services have to talk about a more fair tax structure that spreads burden.

7. Other Business

There was no other business.

Ruth Robarts noted the Legislative Committee will meet again in January to discuss tax structure, the Constitutional referendum, and how negative aid has affected the district.

8. Adjournment

It was moved by Carol Carstensen and seconded by Ray Allen to adjourn the meeting at 9:08 a.m. Motion unanimously carried.